Break out: Alvin Kizz is one of the artistes representing Uganda at this year’s Coke Studio. Although he was little-known, Kizz caught his big break even before his career started. He shares his story and Coke Studio experience with Isaac Ssejjombwe.
1. You have been one of Uganda’s representatives at this year’s Coke Studio. What is the experience like?
I should say 2018 was my year because I had my breakout song Nkulowozako alongside Sheebah. I do not know what criteria Coke Studio used but I know they take talented people with potential to make it on the African market and I was taken as the big break. The experience is ‘mad’ and every artiste should just be there. You learn a lot in a week, which you should have learnt in five years. They teach you how to record, when to release, why it is important to release that way, you get to meet so many people and I got a chance to meet GospelOnDeBeatz, a very big producer in Nigeria, Rayvanny with whom we might have a project together. I am also working with Winky D on a remix of a song called Don’t You Know. Coke Studio has been a big achievement for me because it got me from being a struggling artiste to a certified African artiste.
2. Do you consider yourself an upcoming artiste?
I would say I am a promising upcoming artiste because there are people in that category with no songs. I have quite a number of jams; Julia, Tobalaba, Booty featuring Roden Y and an album in conjunction with Team No Sleep (TNS), which has five songs, so these are going to be the major releases for this year. I would say I am an uprising artiste.
3. Why Team No Sleep?
If you ask any other artiste in Uganda, they will choose to work with TNS, with no pay. They are well connected, in a way that if it is hard for you to get airplay, the big man will make it possible with just a phone call. He is experienced and knows this industry after managing Goodlyfe, Sheebah, and Chameleone, so it is a privilege to work with him.
4. When did you decide that music was your thing?
In 2010. I used to walk around with Ziza Bafana, who was working with Sweet Kid then. I later worked with Bebe Cool in 2014 on his Go Mama album, and as a backup at his Best of Bebe Cool Concert at Serena hotel. After that, I worked with Nutty Neithan shortly before I started my own career, signing with Kaan Music for a year but they dropped me because of personal sentiments. I struggled for a year and from there, I joined Team No Sleep. However, I am not signed but they are just helping me out. Hanging around these artistes taught me that it is never only about talent. You ought to be patient, humble and hardworking.
5. What is the genesis of Alvin Kizz.
A friend at university gave it to me. At first it was Alvin One because I always wanted to be number one, then one of my friends started calling me Alvin Kizz. I used to do production and play the keyboard, so maybe it was because I was multi-talented. My real name is Philip Alvin Ruyonga.
About Alvin Kizz
I am an afro pop artiste, visual artiste and a journalist by profession because I studied Journalism and Mass Communication from St Lawrence University, majoring in audio and video production.
I loved music from way back when I was seven years in a church called ‘Church on the Rock’. I knew it was something I was going to do regardless of whether I went to school or not. I was brilliant in school and people expected me to do other things besides music and up to now my father is not happy about it. I am, however, working on making him see that music is a real job that can pay rent, feed your family, and even take you places. I am the second person in my family to get into the limelight after my grandfather who was the Assistant IGP in 1990.