By Dennis Asiimwe
I have had an eye on Neliah’s trajectory for a while now. It’s been an intriguing one, mostly because it was surprisingly organic. Neliah Kansiime’s first foray into the music industry actually began from the stage – she was a live music performer with a gig at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel long before she became a recording artiste. While this sounds like the rational thing to do, it is actually a lot less common than you would think. After honing her craft as a vocal lead with the Saturday night band at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel, she hit the studio during the lockdown last year.
It was a good time to join the industry as a recording artiste – there was a significant shortage of new music being out, and the vacuum helped. It was also a bold move, and Neliah seized the opportunity, churning out material that, at the very least, put her on the map. By the time the first lockdown was over, we were thinking of her more as a recording artiste, someone putting out music for the airwaves and stuff. It was a great opportunity because live music is still struggling to find its feet again.
But while Neliah’s previous outings served to merely announce the fact that she was now a recording artiste, Free, where she teams up with Daddy Andre, is a statement song. Andre is prolific, a competent producer with a great ear and an ability to bring out the best within an artiste. Working with him as a producer is a significant step for Neliah, but featuring him on her latest single pushes things up a notch – that is A–list territory.
As for the song itself? Andre is one of the few Ugandan producers with a defined ‘sound’ – a lot of his music is instantly recognisable. This is an Andre song, with mellow tones and a seductive melody. He also seems to have found material that works for Neliah – she sounds amazing on Free.
This is one collaboration that worked well, and an excellent step in the trajectory of Neliah’s music career.