Up close. Ann Nassanga, popularly known as, Afrie is not your ordinary artiste because her music is in high places without her being physically there. She was one of the nominees in the just concluded All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA). She describes herself as a cool, fun, short African girl as she speaks to Isaac Ssejjombwe.
Where did the name Afrie come from?
It comes from fire. I just mixed up the letters. You can pull out some letters from fire to make Afrie but my birth name is Ann Nassanga.
When did you start singing?
Once I got depressed and singing was the only way I could deal with my emotions. It made me feel better. It was therapeutic.
I settled for singing in 2018 after I graduated from university.
What challenges have you faced during this pandemic?
The fact that there are no events, then the tight curfew .
First thing you do when you wake up…?
I like to play loud music so that it sets a tone for my day.
What kind of music do you listen to?
Generally, upbeat, uplifting but the playlist keeps changing.
I am intentional on positive music, music that tells me I am amazing.
First thing you do when you get to work?
I breathe, relax and tell myself this is another fresh day.
We used to hunt for grasshoppers all day in the grasshopper season.
First best friend?
I didn’t have one but the sister of my brother’s best friend. I think I was just tagging along. We were mixing and matching so I decided to have her as my best friend. But wait. Would that make someone your best friend?
You will not believe it but I had my first kiss when I was young and it was with a total stranger. I think we were both curious and it started off after games.
We were asking ourselves how this thing we were watching on TV is done. It was quick but I don’t even remember the experience, his name even the age we did it.
The first book you read…?
I studied literature at school and I remember books such as Weep not child by Ngugi Wa Thiongo.
I loved its combination of pain and happiness.
It has quite a good cocktail of those emotions, but the bible was one of those first books I read.
I was an accountant at Aquila, a factory that recycled plastics in my Senior Six vacation.
I was earning shs300,000 a month.
What did you use the money for?
I saved that money and bought my first keyboard.
How much was the keyboard?
It was either Shs1m or Shs1.2m. Keyboards are expensive but I just got a good deal. I saved for five months.
I am a musician who is also in film school.
What do you like about your job?
With music, I just love the fact that I get to be myself. It is always amazing to do what you love and if it is making you money that is a cherry on the icing. I travel a lot and that is because of music.
With film, I love learning film and experiencing the whole idea of creating characters who reflect society or reflect the message that you want to put across. Sometimes it is for sheer entertainment .
Most memorable experience?
I have quite a number of those but I remember the time in high school when I laughed so hard that I got scared I was going to die from laughter and it was a good feeling because I was like it is okay if I die like this. I laughed and my stomach hurt .
What made you laugh like that?
I don’t remember but we were at Gayaza High school when that happened.
Biggest regret in life?
None. I live life as it comes. I love taking risks and before making decisions I tell myself this could go very well or bad and I prepare myself for such things. I like to learn from life experiences.
Best advice you have received?
With advice, it’s always the best when it helps you at the moment and the moments are different.
We go through different things in life and for every situation, whatever you hear and is a word of wisdom becomes the best advice during that moment.
Because it has come from family, friends etc, they have always told me to ‘take a moment’ to reflect, to make a decision etc and this is because my life is impulsive.
At a glance
Our neighbour. I liked this guy and because of his hair. He was Ugandan but I think his jajja was from Asia.
Worst part of your work is?
The worst is still the best part. With art, there is no formula. You can neither rush nor delay it. Sometimes success is a combination of luck, talent and connections. And, that is what makes it beautiful.
Favourite food or snack is…?
Coconut, chocolate and jackfruit.
Your hobbies include…?
Singing, writing music and film. Through these I create and tell stories.
Your education background is…?
I went to Kampala Parents School, Gayaza High School and Makerere University where I completed a course in Dental Technology in 2018.
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