By Paul Waiswa
Is music God’s greatest gift to humanity? The answer may be yes, if a study of music production in Uganda is anything to go by. Most of the producers of the biggest hits in recent times have a church-y background, or are still active members of church praise and worship groups. We investigate what has kept these church boys at the helm of our secular music; the ones who have kept us up and grooving throughout the night. Just off the fingertips, we have Paddy Man, Tony Houls, Ken Lubwama, Brian Beats, Crouch, Sam Bisaso, Producer Jonah M, Kuzzeim, Josh Wonder, Jeff Kiwa, Titus, Sylver Kyagulanyi, St Peters and Micky Pro.
He is a veteran audio producer with many hit songs, both secular and gospel. He is a Born-again Christian and rarely misses a Sunday service. In addition to production, Paddy Man has dropped solo music projects, with his latest being an eight-track gospel album titled Ebirooto. He grew up in a Born-again family and has upheld his faith todate.
Tony Houls and Bobi Wine songs can best be addressed as complementary consumables. He is a senior stakeholder in the production fraternity. He is the brains behind many of Bebe Cool’s and Bobi Wine’s hit projects.
Married to gospel musician Joy Houls Bikumbi, Tony Houls came onto the main audio production stage in the early 2000s. As a senior producer at the Kamwokya-based Dream Studios, he worked on many projects, with some selling like hotcakes in clubs.
Brian Beats of Beats House
Brian Ndugga, trading in the production business as Brian Beats, is the man behind Sango, a collaboration between Kenzo and Martha Mukisa. He is the CEO of Beats House studio. Besides the newest banger Sango, Brian has made hit songs for Aziz Azion, Florence Rukundo, Serena Bata, Cindy and Pastor Wilson Bugembe, to mention but a few. He comes from a Born-Again family and grew up in church playing music instruments. He goes to Pastor Bugembe’s church.
Producer Jonah M
He is versatile, and one of the many producers who have crossed over to singing, probably for the love of the limelight. Jonah M, real name Jonah Muwanguzi, is the founder of Real Audio Studio and has worked with Aziz Azion, Mary Bata, Dr Bitone and Kazibwe Kapo, to mention but a few. Jonah is similarly doing well in his solo singing career. He has dropped songs like Toduula and Beera Muntu Mulamu.
He is referred to as David Lutalo’s producer, but he also works with other musicians. Born Yaled Kaluya, he is a staunch believer. Today he is also taking on singing and has so far released songs like Letter, Sinardo, Beautiful and collaborated with Lutalo and Chris Evans.
Kuzzeim Ting Designer
Kuzzeim cannot go unmentioned once you talk of BET award-winning star Eddy Kenzo. Kuzzeim Ting has been a Born-Again Christian since childhood and prior to production, had interest in spreading the word of God through singing gospel music with a friend called Culture. He came into the limelight after working at singer Barbie Jay’s Reverb Studio. He produced songs for musicians like Aziz Azion, Kenzo, Rema and Dr. Bitone. From Reverb, Kuzzeim joined Jahlive Audio Studio before moving to K Banq Records.
Producer Crouch has been in the industry for some time and has produced several hit songs, some secular and others gospel. He has recorded for big names, including Chameleone, Juliana Kanyomozi and Radio and Weasel. He is a staunch believer and testifies that God has guided and guarded his activities.
Producer Exo, born Exopheal Lugwana, enjoyed a lion’s share of the game when he produced Yung Mulo’s Tebakusobola club banger. He also produced most of Dax Kartel songs, including his Self Service collaboration with Sheebah.
Exo comes from a staunch Christian family and grew up in church. He later stopped producing secular songs and now focuses on gospel and inspirational songs. He also owns a church in Mukono and goes by the title of apostle.
Josh Wonder is more popular in the Luga Flow circles and is a veteran who worked with Ragga Dee. He says with God all has been possible.
What analysts say
According to Bukedde TV presenter Ticha Ticha Kawuki, in church, members are given the opportunity to create and at all levels. Those interested in singing are given time to compose hymns and those interested in playing instruments are provided with the necessities.
In furthering the same argument, Ticha Ticha says it is usually difficult to challenge one who joins the music business with roots from a church choir in terms of vocals, explaining that the church exposes them to a range of skills and gadgets.
Media personality Douglas Lwanga notes that out-competing producers with a church background is an uphill task because they are groomed from an early age. They achieve perfection because of the years of experience. Even American singer R. Kelly, now a convicted sex offender, started singing in church at the age of eight, before later going into secular music.
“Experience is the best teacher. Based on the exposure to a wide range of instruments and machinery, producers get skills and experience applied to studio,” says Bukedde TV’s DJ Shiru, adding that the church has the best sound with modern equipment.