By Jeff Andrew Lule
A famous Ugandan artist known for his “Wipolo” hit, Pastor George Okudi, asserts he is the only musician in Uganda to win and hold a genuine African Kora Award.
“If you talking about Grammy, I am one. I hold a Grammy for the continent of Africa. In fact, when you are counting the big three in Uganda, you should add another number, and if you jump it, that means you are becoming racist. Does it mean an Itesot can’t be big in Uganda,” he noted.
In an interview with media personality Sakoz Faoruk on his YouTube channel, the “Wipolo” singer said it is very surprising that Ugandans have forgotten so quickly.
In 2003, the Ugandan flag was raised high at the prestigious Kora Awards ceremony in South Africa, Okudi won two Kora Awards for his song ‘Wipolo’ as the Best of African Male Artiste, and Best Male artiste in the East Africa categories.
“I am an artiste with the genuine “Grammy” I received on stage and all videos are on the internet when Bebe Cool is carrying me in celebration. If Eddy Kenzo won a BET Award as he claims, let him show Ugandans a video while receiving it and holding it on stage. I bet $10000, for anyone who brings out that video showing Kenzo being called on stage to receive that award at that ceremony. I was in the USA and I know what happens here,” he noted.
Okudi cautioned the new generation of artists to stop undermining legendary artists like Philly Bongole Lutaya because of awards, likes, and views on the internet.
“These things of having photos with big personalities in the US is the easiest thing and anyone can do it. Taking a photo with the former President of the US Barrack Obama or a prominent artiste like Jayz, Beyonce, and others is very easy. I can do it if I want. Here in the US, everyone is equal,” he added.
However, he stressed that the most important thing is to respect each other ‘in our own struggles’.
“My song Wipolo is still trending yet I have never invested a coin to promote it,” he said.
He noted that Kenzo can not be disputed for his hard work and hustle in the music industry, but his music is not bigger than Philly Lutaya’s songs.
“To be nominated in America, they go and look at your likes. So; can you die in Kampala when you can buy those likes? I am trying to explain to people that Kenzo, as much as we respect him for his art and his hard work. He is one of the hardest working artists that I have seen before but he should just be humble,” he added.
“He is the best hard-working, best hustler artist in Uganda, but when we say the best vocalist…haaa…that is another thing because…we have people like Jose Chameleon,” he said.
He stressed that internet likes and views are not yardsticks to determine someone’s strength in music.
“Most of the internet numbers are not “organic”. That is the reason why you find a song that has just been released in one day having over 1 million likes/views on YouTube. Those internet numbers, you can buy them. I have been approached before to sell me views at about 5000but I refused the deal because they were asking for a lot of money,” he noted.
“The numbers are no longer eligible because we don’t know how people get likes. The numbers were compromised. When YouTube had just started, the numbers were genuine but some companies compromised this and made it a business to get people likes and views, and YouTube cannot do anything to stop them,” he added.
Okudi said he was also surprised to hear people who were still listening to his hit song “Wipolo” in their homes, including the young generation in the US from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of South Sudan (RSS), Ghana and Nigeria.
“In fact when I told them I was Pr. Okudi who did it, they were all surprised. That means I became viral in my own way in our own generation and the music is still in the system. This is what they call ‘evergreen music’ not ‘bubble gum music’,” he bragged.
“Today, everything is bubble gum including comedy. Even music has been hijacked by some people. We have music mafias in Uganda,” he added.