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The church boy causing musical waves

Born Mark Elvis Mutalya on December 1, 1987, Mac Elvis has lived almost all his life around Watoto church.

No wonder the album that has made everybody in the gospel music circles stand up and recognize him is called Church Boy.

So, when I heard that he was performing at ‘Power FM presents’ – Watoto church’s version of the unplugged shows, I forgot about my sorrow of the Cranes failing to qualify for African Cup of Nations the previous day and headed to Watoto. He put on a splendid show.

Having given his life to Christ in P.6, Mac (acronym for Made Alive in Christ) grew up listening to a Ugandan musician who later became his mentor, Sami-K.

So strong is the bond between the two that on his Facebook profile Sami-K is listed as his father. Mac Elvis lost his parents at age six and was taken up by Watoto church.

This is a very emotional topic for the soft-spoken lad. He breaks down when telling the story of growing up without both parents and the untimely death of his elder brother Ivan. The challenges of life have made him the star he is today and he has no regrets.

“If I were to change anything about my life, I wouldn’t change a thing. Everything I experienced in the past has contributed to who I am today. It’s been God’s grace, love and care that have carried me through.

The love of God and life’s situations inspire me,” he told The Observer. This is reflected in his passionate lyrics about how far God has brought him.
After years of dreaming and hard work with his mentor, he was able to record and release his first album Yo Love in 2009. With the album, he embarked on a high school tour to promote it and spread the gospel to the youth.

The year 2010 saw him embark on his second album. He had attained depth in his lyrics and honed his production skills. No wonder the album has put him on a level which most artistes dream of. He is nominated twice for the Olive Gospel awards as the best new artiste and best RnB artiste.

He wrote pretty much every song on the 13-track album, although Sami-K put his touch on Not The Same while Danielle Puleng wrote Maybe. He also produced the album with the help of producers at his Bronz Wall Music studio. The album has songs like Mufiirako, First Priority, Don’t Cry plus the runaway hit Church Boy, among others.

When one listens to the album, one can’t help but wonder at the way he fuses genres. The result is a fresh sound of urban gospel music. His plan from the start was to reach the ‘unchurched’ youth and it seems like he is ready to try out every genre that they can identify with, from hip hop, RnB to reggae and dancehall.

He collaborated with Crystal Fabulous, Elandre from Tanzania, Sami-K and Danielle Puleng, a soul singer currently in Swaziland, on the album.
Mac says he is inspired by First Love, Canton Jones, Sami-K, Dietrick Haddon and Trip Lee. He has opened for big acts like Papa San, Kirk Franklin and Cece Winans during their shows in Kampala.

He spends most of his time creating beats, writing songs and working on his versatility. He hopes to join Bible College or pursue a degree in sound engineering, whichever comes first.

baranga@observer.ug

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