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Emily Kikazi: Spinning western tunes

Local music: Western Uganda has brought to Kampala talents such as Latinum, Ray G and now Emily Kikazi, who is rocking airwaves in Mbarara. Lawrence Ogwal spoke to her about doing music upcountry.

Who is Emily Kikazi?

Emily Kikazi is a journalist, musician, mother and businesswoman living each day as if it is her last. I am from Ntungamo District and I am happy and love being around shrewd happy people.

When did you start singing and why did you choose music?

I have been singing all my life. I sang in school, in church choirs, in bands until May 2017 when I switched to commercial music.

Why don’t you come to Kampala where music competition is healthy?

I have been in Kampala for most of my life, but I never lost my identity. Being in Kampala did not change my roots, my language or cultural values. I only learnt how artistes in the central spin the game and I am applying the same here in western Uganda. I am a woman who loves to sell and promote my roots.

What has it been like doing music in Mbarara?

It is hard because largely, women have not been appreciated in the industry. Traditionally, in the west, women were looked at as ‘getting spoilt’ if they dared do music, which is not the case with male artistes. No wonder the women dominate Gospel music. The easy part is because western Uganda has fewer women doing quality audios and videos, so if I position myself well consistently, I might enjoy some space.

What has been your biggest achievement in music?

This year I was awarded the Best Female accolade in  the Western Music Awards. Though I boast of a couple of achievements.

Where do you draw your inspiration to do music?

Locally, I look at Mariam Ndagire. I have always told her how much she inspires me and internationally, Celine Dion has never  been replaced.

Are you under any management?

I am signed under my own label management called Super Rich Gang. I use a slogan Nitukyiteera; literally meaning we hit it! I have set up structures and each person executes their roles very well.

Do you think Ugandans have appreciated your music enough?

The western region has surely appreciated me. Uganda is steadily appreciating music from western Uganda.

What are some of the challenges you face musically?

Most people in Uganda’s entertainment industry have not fully given an ear to music from any other region or language apart from Luganda. Many media houses and DJs  ask me to sing in Luganda if I want a quick national breakthrough.

Ray G is now recognised outside western Uganda. Did you believe in his talent?

He is talented. I am spinning the game differently from what he does. For the years he has been in the industry doing commercial music, I would expect much more impact from him.

How do you rate yourself in Mbarara musically?

Someone cannot skip or ignore the name and brand Emily Kikazi when you talk about Mbarara music. Being in Kampala did not change my roots, my language or cultural values. I only learnt how artistes in the central spin the game

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