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Tommy Ticher: Using music to empower marginalized

Music called: Tom Mugoya, a.k.a Tommy Ticher, is an Afro beat and dancehall artiste based in Mbale District. Although he has two diplomas and a bachelor’s degree, music is what he is passionate about. Oliver Mukaaya caught up with him.

When did you start singing?

Music has been my thing since childhood; I sang in church and school choirs but I started recording and considering commercial music in 2012.

Who inspired you to sing?

I was not inspired by an individual but by music itself. Good music always gave me that vibe and raised my passion.

Do you write your own songs?

I am a good composer and writer but I have considered using other writers in my forthcoming projects, SST (Samson Tribes) and Detergent are working on my next album.

How many songs have you written so far?

I wrote my entire 12-track album titled Mama Africa with songs ‘Mama Africa’, ‘Imbobo’, ‘Sasagula’, ‘Imbaale’, ‘Pata poteya’, ‘Tuyambagane’, ‘Deborah’, ‘Gyal wyne’, ‘Kikaye’, ‘Byansobela’ and ‘Nsubiza’.

What type of music do you sing?

I am so multipurpose and do quite a variety of styles but Afro-beat pop is where my mastery lies, and I only change basing on season, desire and demand of fans hence taking me to Zouk, Folk and traditional, Raga dancehall, among others.

Who produces your music?

My main audio producer is Dokta Pinan Dede who produced Bebe Cool’s Ki Ekiganye but I also work with Mayeku Pro of Umeme Records, Paul Shan of Sound Factory, Hyna Pro of Hybernate Records, and Emron Pro but sometimes I invite them to my Sound Stain Records, where I do most of my work)

For video production, I work with Eye Pro, Mitty Links and I am looking at working with many more.

What is your take on the music industry in Uganda?

Our music industry here is both entertaining and challenging. An artiste who is starting out has to bribe to perform at concerts yet established artistes are paid millions to perform. The music market is so wide and it is hard for upcoming musicians to break out.

A lot has changed, the music has improved and we hope the mess will be ironed out. However, the audios and videos of established artistes are on point.

What challenges have you faced in the industry since you started singing?

I have faced so many challenges. I was raised in an environment where artistes are referred to as ‘bayaye’, so it is hard to convince relatives and friends that it is the path you want to take. Also, I am located in the far eastern district with limited access to good services, so I have to travel to the central to record a good song or make a good video. The only TV station that was broadcasting in Mbale was closed. Also, good production is too costly and expensive yet all can be accessed in the central. Another challenge is piracy, where artistes keep changing other artistes’ songs or use their instrumentals, so some of us who love originality find it hard to penetrate the industry.

Any achievements?

I have been able to start personal businesses and music has funded my further studies. I recently graduated with a Bachelors degree in Human Resource Management.

What do you do apart from singing and writing music?

I am a fine artist and craftsman. I do African paintings, craft bags and shoes, graphics designing and animations, I also empower youth and women by teaching them skills in art and crafts through Saccos and individual groups in the ghettos.

Doesn’t your music affect your work in any way?

Not really, all my work rotates in the same circles and above all, I studied management. Therefore, I programme every task ahead of time.

What are your future plans?

I plan to use my music to empower the marginalised and disadvantaged to enable them realise their potential and right to live in their communities and of course I wish to have more financial capacity to cater for me and my family.

What advice do you have for your fellow upcoming artistes in the music industry?

They should research and focus on good quality music. There is no shortcut in this industry, so they should stay away from piracy, otherwise they will shine for a season and vanish after a year or even months.

Also they should work together because it is what lifts you up. They should desist from beef.

What are you working on now?

My manager and I are working on a new album titled This Life, which will be released this 2020 with songs such as Facebook Gal, Mbu, Wyne It, Podium Ye Bamasaba, Kasaale, among others and we are finalising work on the foundation.

Are you in a relationship?

Yes…but you know how things can be.

Favourite Ugandan artiste?

Bobi Wine. I have been following his music and I think am in love with the way he composes and arranges his lyrics. His composition is poetic and I love literature.


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