Music in diaspora. Hanson Baliruno is a Ugandan artiste living in the diaspora. He is doing both gospel and secular music. He also has a great sense of fashion. Nicolas Akasula examines his music journey.
Briefly tell us about yourself
I hail from a humble background and I lost my dad when I was very young. My mum, who is clocking 80 soon, held onto a light job, for our welfare and school fees, until the then mayor, Ssebaana Kizito (RIP), ordered vendors to vacate verandahs of city buildings. I began to wander from school to school. Throughout this difficult time, I started singing in church and at school. I am thankful that music has been a turning point in my life.
When did you start singing?
I discovered that I had a unique talent at 12. People at church and at school kept fronting me to sing. Whenever I missed church, the church members would be concerned.
When was your breakthrough?
One of my pastors then, at church, Pr Matsiko John Bosco, connected me to a school, where some whites were impressed with my talent. They offered to take me to their school until I completed college.
Why did you slip into secularism?
Judith Babirye initiated me into commercial music. I used to sing, but there was a missing link. While I was pursuing my bachelors degree in Sweden, a one Mathias often told me that despite my religious affiliation, I needed to take music as serious business. So I came back here and started recording. I would come to Uganda to record and I would go back.
What challenges do artistes face?
Music is dynamic and competitive. Within the industry, there are enemies of progress.
Are you married?
Not yet. I have been in three relationships and when things didn’t work out, I held the brakes. But I am planning to settle soon.
How is music in diaspora different?
In developed countries, they are a bit more organised. They embrace artistes according to talent. Artistes are categorised in two forms: commercial artistes and studio artistes. For example PSY of the ‘Gangnam style’ fame is a commercial artiste, positioned to make money. But Adelle or the late Whitney Houston are branded as studio artistes, positioned to churn serious music, despite the fact that they would earn from it.
What is your best moment in life?
My first flight to Frankfurt in Germany. It was on April 29, 2005. The more I travelled, the more the discovered clean roads, different weather, etcetera.
I said a small prayer, thanking God.
Your worst moment
I have been hurt countless times, because I am kindhearted.
What’s with your sharp sense of fashion?
I am a fashion enthusiast. I love to look my best.
I intend to put up a fully-fledged recording facility, with both an audio and video studio.
I am working towards becoming successful person. But my biggest dream is to transform the lives of fellow Africans.
I intend to put up a fully-fledged recording facility, with both a an audio and video studio. I yearn for knowledge, and I do research about international politics.