DROPPING HITS: Emmanuel Okello is a rapper based in Nebbi. He is best known by his stage name, Astro Lifa, and the people of Nebbi have branded him the Fik Fameica of West Nile. Astro Lifa talks about doing music upcountry and what he thinks about the music industry in Uganda.
When did you start doing music?
I had the passion for music right from primary school when I was an altar boy at Nebbi Catholic Diocese. I was in the church choir and only started doing serious music when I joined Blood Gang Entertainment in 2014. I left Blood Gang and joined Team Unstoppable Music owned by Brian Bidong, where I have been signed since 2015.
What kind of music do you do?
I do hip hop, dancehall, RnB & Afro, but my biggest concentration is rap.
What is it like doing music in West Nile?
It is not all that easy because West Nile as a sub-region has different people from different tribes and I do music in Alur, which means I am restricted to a small fanbase. I do not take the small fanbase for granted because the love they show me is enough.
Do you have plans of coming to do music in Kampala?
Yes, just like international artistes have captured and won hearts in Africa with their music, I am sure with hard work, people in Kampala will soon know the name Astro Lifa. I also trust my management to push for it.
Do you consider yourself the best artiste in West Nile?
I do not consider myself the best artiste in West Nile but I think I am the best in my genre of music. I have my own style that I have not seen with any other artiste in West Nile.
How is the music industry in West Nile and what are some of the challenges?
There is no problem doing music in West Nile, the only challenge is that the fans tend to ignore the music we do in our language that they understand very well and tend to promote music from Kampala. They are forgetting that we can be better than them when we are given attention.
If you are to work with any artiste in Kampala, who would that be?
I think I would work with Daddy Andre because he is a good producer and singer. I see everyone in the country trying to work with him and he has changed the industry in a short time.
Upcountry artistes say artistes from Kampala do not want to work with you?
Artistes from Kampala underestimate us because they have all the resources to push their music. They should know that if they work on a song with us, they are not only helping us, but also trying to tap into the upcountry fanbase because we have our own fanbase and we can share them if we work on a song together. Some of them are known in Kampala and not here, so a collaboration means a lot to both parties.
What was your breakthrough in the music industry?
My breakthrough was when I released the song Avatida two years ago. It was well received among the people of West Nile. Some of my other songs include Nyok and Okurukpak, among others.
Where do you see Astro Lifa in the next few years?
I see myself exposing West Nile to the world with the good music that I have and that can only be achieved when we work together with stakeholders in the music industry.
Who is Astro Lifa?
I am 25 years old. I am a humble man from Aduku Village in Nebbi Town. I attended Nebbi Primary School, St Charles Lwanga College for O-Level and Hilton High School for A- Level before joining Makerere University for a Bachelor’s Degree in Procurement and Logistics Management.