On the Frontline: Sam Ssemwogerere, aka ZuliTums, had his breakthrough in the music world when he produced “Amabanja” for Vampos in 2014. Since then he has added some hits to his name, his latest being Cindy’s “Boom Party”, Maro’s “Anjagala” and Recho Rey’s “Gweno Daawo”. This year, the 27-year-old picked up the microphone and now he is trending with “Tabu” and “Easy”. Deus Bugembe writes.
1.What inspired you to go all out on singing now?
I have always had the ability to sing but preferred production. I did not want to sing because I was not ready for the hustle and bustle. I needed a good team around me to help me deal with just the singing and nothing else. The opportunity came in March when I met two Nigerians who were working with another artiste under their Blacq Avay Records label. I had to produce a 13-track album for them before they heard me sing and when they did, they asked me to join them with the promise that they would manage my career.
2.What is it like creating music?
I enjoy the process as I derive my creations from anything around me. It could be a catchy word, a melody, a conversation with someone, a situation and more. You just have to look around and there is something to write or sing about. There are days you wake up with a good vibe and just hit the studio.
However, sometimes I do hide the meaning in some of my music to make it richer and keep listeners guessing. Using terms also makes the audience pay more attention. When you hide meaning, people perceive whatever you sing in different ways, which is good for music.
3.Have you had any collaborations yet? And what is it like working with other artistes?
I am yet to work with any other artistes on a song apart from Maro, but I would really love to work with Naava Grey. She is too talented and out of this world yet so underrated. I know what she can do in the studio.
However as a producer I have worked with Cindy, Pallaso, Spice Diana, Recho Rey and Bella. It took me three years trying to beg for Cindy’s attention. I sent her samples of my work in 2014, 2015 and 2016 but still got no response. In 2017, I gave it one more shot and the persistence paid off. She responded and we did our first track titled “Onina”.
4. What would you say is your favourite and worst part about this industry?
My favourite part is when I hear my work being appreciated out there. It is a good feeling that only motivates me to do even better. The highlight for me though so far, was the 2017 Nyege Nyege performance with Maro. The energy from the crowd and the entire environment was up there. People were cheering with love, which makes it special.
The worst part is being part of a divided industry. The music is good but we still have a lot of negative forces. Someone will not support you because they are afraid you might get better than them.
5.Where do you see yourself if it wasn’t for music?
To be sincere, I do not see myself anywhere else. Music gives me the chance to express myself and also freedom to do things at my own pace. I do not have to go to office from 9am-5pm. I want the freedom to work without pressure or supervision from above.
Away from music, I love brainstorming, watching cartoons such as Tom and Jerry and The Flintstones. You can say I love laughing. I also talk to a lot to different people as I pick their minds. I play a lot of football in random places, I can boast of being very good at it as a versatile midfielder who, once in a while, also leads the line.
I skipped school for the studio. In a week, I would have three days in school, three at the studio. I was lucky that my mother supported me and the studio never got me into trouble. All she wanted was to see me finish A-Level, which I did.
Singing vs production
I see myself as a music man because I do everything. I write, I produce and sing. I don’t enjoy one more than the other because they work hand in hand. The studio is like home.
In five years…
I live in the moment. Those goals are in my head. It is better to keep your stuff to yourself and just make it work. It makes no sense talking a big game and you deliver nothing at the end of the day.
I reply all my DMs. They compliment my looks and music. Most messages are positive, which is good. Positive energy is what we feed on as artistes, especially when you get genuine support.