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Interview

Bruce Dickson: Karaoke built my music confidence

Bruce Dickson Byoona aka Bruce Dickson. PHOTO/COURTESY

  • Up close. Bruce Dickson Byoona, aka Bruce Dickson, rose to the limelight after competing in the Pearl of Africa Star search.
  • Dickson, who called himself Omuyiribi, finished in the top six and emerged as the regional winner for Western Uganda. He shares his story with Promise Twinamukye.

Describe yourself to someone who has never heard of you?
Bruce Dickson is a jolly, talkative, free spirited and lively person. I stay away from quarrels and uninformed talk. I am a humble, simple and respectful chap.

Tell us about your experience during the Pearl of Africa (POA) Star search.
It was like a platform the Lord had prepared for me to tap my potential. It all started like a joke. Jacinta, my friend from karaoke, referred me to one of the competition organisers, who later helped me enroll through a video recording. The rest is history.

I grew from 1,000 contestants to the last six in the competition. I learned a lot about tourism and Uganda’s hidden beauty, as well as music. Unlike other competitions, POA star search included music mentors, tourism quizzes, travelling to different destinations, and TV interviews. I made networks which are still helping me.

Did it shape the way you do music?
Yes, I had never thought of doing music until the POA star ccompetition.I think musically.

What kind of music do you do?
I am not limited to a particular genre. Whatever feeling I have, I put it out there. I can vibe with any beat you play.

Have your aspirations changed from when you started?
I want to leave a legacy. From when I released my first single, I have purposed to change the narrative.

Do you have any fondest childhood memory?
My mum noticed I loved singing and offered to take me for piano lessons at church after my Primary Seven. However, I loved football more than anything else. Looking back, I believe that could have changed a lot.

Your first job was..?
Teaching assistant at Kawanda Senior Secondary School. I was one of those very smart children in high school who scored 20 points at A-Level, so my former teacher recommended me to the school to help students understand, as well as inspire them.

Apart from singing, what other job do you do?
I am a product consultant at Tecno Mobile Uganda, and I also do marketing and sales consultancy services, as well as procurement. This explains why I referred to myself as  Omuyiribi during the POA Star search.

What do you like about music?
Music is healing and expressive. Different feelings can be unleashed through music; love, hate, disappointment, name it. The process of making it there is just amazing.  An amazing singer makes me tear.

What do you dislike about music?
When you decide to go commercial, it is expensive. This comes with a lot of stress when your expectations are not met. However, nobody can stop reggae.

Biggest regret is…
I guess not starting music earlier. I would be farther than where I am at the moment. But who am I to defy God’s plan?

Who is your role model…?
My big brother Captain Brian Bagonza. He is loving and selfless. He had educated my siblings and I.
Musically, A Pass; his approach and lyricism is incredible. Others include Maurice Kirya, Kenneth Mugabi, John Kay the Writer, IamArtin Pro and Nessim.

When was your first public performance…?
POA Star search. We would perform in front of the camera for millions of Ugandans in the lockdown.
But, I have been on big stages such as, Ekyooto Ha Mpango, Empango Celebrations, Afropalooza, and my own EP Listening Party.

Did you ever have stage fright?
No, because I used to sing karaoke, which enhanced my confidence. I had also performed at Open Mic and in band sessions. By the time I performed my songs, my confidence had grown.

Quick fire…
Ever felt like taking a break from social media?

No, I do not think I can.

How do you maintain a healthy mindset?
I am always singing and blocking the negative energy from outside.
If you could spend a day with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Jay-Z. I would like  to learn from him and to get connections.

What’s your favourite meal?
Posho and beans never go wrong.

What inspires your songs?
Love. Life. People.

Advice to your listeners?
Keep the love. Keep listening and sharing my music. One day tuli yambala engule.

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