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Kachumbali’s success awed me

Trending: George Kwesiga, better known as Quex, has ended 2020 on a high note after his 2019 jam “Kachumbali” became a hit a year later. Isaac Ssejjombwe caught up with him.

  1. What’s the story of your music journey?

I have always been intrigued by music. I used to write songs and invite my friends to listen to me sing in primary. I was also an active member of the church choir. In 2007 while in my P7, a friend told me about his cousin called Mimo who produced music so during holidays without telling my parents, I made a long journey from Mutungo to Entebbe to see him. I think I was 12 years old. It was my first day in studio as I got acquainted with how music is produced even though I did not record a song that day because I had no money. I believe that is the day my music journey started.

  1. After how long did you go back to the studio?

Fast forward to secondary school, I started saving part of my pocket money to meet the studio bill. When I had accumulated about 150K, I decided to hit a studio in Ntinda. There I met a Rasta who disguised himself as a producer but conned me of the money claiming that he would give me studio time for five extra projects. I later learnt that no one had ever seen him at that studio. I cried and felt betrayed. If there was a time I would have quit music, it was that day. I released my first song titled, “Batukakasa” in 2010 and I got constructive criticism from peers. I gradually bettered myself and since then I have done 35 songs, released 13 and the rest are still in studio. Most of my projects have been made by Genius Goody at City Jam Records in Makindye.

  1. Tell us the story behind your “Kachumbali” hit.

A friend kept bothering me about checking out his friend’s studio. I was feeling unwell that day, so I was being elusive but when he came home to pick me, I had no choice but to go. And on getting to the studio booth in Mutungo, I met a very talented producer Klin. He played a beat that I liked and I jumped on it. I first wrote the chorus, then the first and second verse. We were all pleased with what we had done but the sound quality was, however, lacking so I took the project to City Jam Records where it was mastered.

It was a beautiful song, but never in my wildest dreams did I ever think it would have such an impact. It was first appreciated by students of Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi and it is there that the dance shuffle originated from before it went viral.

  1. The song, you say, was done in 2019. Why do you think it took long to be appreciated?

Yes, the audio was done in February 2019 but I could not promote it well because of my studies. However, the song kept moving on its own. One day I was invited to perform at an annual event in Nkozi called Strictly Ug and I will never forget the excitement and happiness from the students. I literally just stood on stage dumbfounded. That was the first day I witnessed the “Kachumbali” fever; DJs Alza, Crim and Emmanice started playing the song in Kampala and that is when I started making plans for a video, which we released in March 2020.

  1. “Kachumbali” is not the only song you have. Why do you think it became a hit?

When Covid-19 struck, I had a lot of free time and I was in Kampala so I approached a couple of media houses with the song and some received me while others did not, but I remained positive. Eventually the song grew on them and the country started vibing to it. I had time to properly promote it. Then I also happen to know a couple of influential people in the industry and I have built my structure when it comes to music distribution but the most important fact is that the song is very Ugandan. I talked about things that we use in our daily life.

Joy. If I can change an individual’s mood, put a smile on their face, make families unite and be part of their memories, then for me that’s an achievement.

AT A GLANCE…

Challenges so far

Balancing books and music is a constant battle and financial challenges but thanks to friends, especially Raymond Hirya and Gloria Kansiime, my sister, I have been able to make ends meet.

Achievements?

My song was the first Ugandan song ever to make it to the Top 5 on the Apple music most played in Uganda. I have also made the whole country dance. It doesn’t matter young or old. If I can change an individual’s mood, put a smile on their face, make families unite and be part of their memories, then for me that’s an achievement. I am building a legacy.

Balancing music and books…

I have taken years building a distribution system that even when I’m not around, gives me time to focus on Medicine. I also love and respect my parents so when they pay school fees it’s only right that I do what is required. Those people carry our blessings.

Inspiration

My goals and what I would like to achieve. My agenda is to use my status as ‘a celebrity’ to sensitise people about health, to host charity concerts, to help those that might not be able to foot medical bills, to highlight the importance of medical personnel in this country and why they should be recognised.

Who is Quex?

My real name is George Kwesiga and Quex comes from my surname Kwesiga. Initially it was written as Kwex but it later evolved to Quex. I am currently pursuing a Bachelors in Medicine and Surgery at KIU University – western campus.

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