NEW KID: Jonathan Ssenabulya, alias Ring Rapper Ratata, is only 12 years old but he is one of the people that can’t go unnoticed among the growing wave of budding musicians. The ‘Kalambo‘ Dance singer, who has found a place in the industry as a rapper, says he might have underestimated his potential. Gabriel Buule caught up with him on his new-found fame.
You are a Senior Three student. How are you able to balance music and school?
It is troubling to learn that when most people see a young person pursuing a talent, they begin to imagine that is the end of their education. My father once told me that talent was for those that performed poorly in class but I am trying to change the thinking.
I feel my energy is at 200 per cent, so I am able to offer a half to both. I have always been among the best in class and I have been a recipient of scholarships. At Namungoona High School where I study now, I have a bursary courtesy of both my grades and talent. However, most of the time I give education more because I can never forego a test or an exam to go perform, no matter the pay and that is the understanding with my parents and management.
We have seen musicians struggling to meet the President. Would you like to meet the President?
Ye….s! But not for a gig or money. I would love to meet President Museveni just to shake his hand and have a photo opportunity, maybe. President Museveni is the fountain of honour and meeting him is special and I would consider that making history.
What does it feel like being an artiste at your age?
Overwhelming! Sometimes at school I get troubled by the manner in which other students perceive me. My agemates think I am so special and different, which hurts. Sometime I feel as though my talent compromises my universal right to be a child; at school, at home, in class and in the market, all eyes are on me, which is not cool.
I think being talented shouldn’t affect someone’s personality, that is why I keep being me and keep away from what others think about me. Another issue is that sometimes performance are many, for example on Christmas I had eight shows in different places, which was overwhelming but I am getting used.
Are you making money from music?
Initially it felt like a hobby until my management decided that we make it a business. Today my management tells me we make upto Shs6m or more in a month. I do not handle or get involved much in the finances but my music dresses me and also caters for my personal demands.
Do you worry about your fellow young rappers giving you a run for your money?
Music is more interesting when the singers are many to create more choices but if the singer is one or two, then it is boring. Personally it also gives me a challenge to fight for my place in the industry and it fuels the quality of my work. I do not have beef with anybody and I am not scared of the numbers…that is for the fans to decide who to listen to.
Bits on Ring Rapper
Dream collabo… I long to sing with Kenzo, Beenie Gunter and Feffe Bussi and I am pushing my management to make it happen.
Dream school… I dream of studying at Lubiri Secondary School because I just love that school.
Number of songs… I have more than eight songs and more are yet to be released.
Best subjects… Mathematics and Physics.
Dream destination… There is a place I usually see in music videos and I long to visit it – Los Angeles.
I look upto…American rappers Tyga and Phyno but locally Feffe Bussi, Beanie Gunter and Eddy Kenzo.