A call from gospel artiste Ronald Muro broke the news to me.
Normally he calls to tell me he has a new song or to invite me for a gospel music event.
This time he said: “Sam, Mac Elvis is dead.”
I was tongue-tied for a moment and then he repeated his message. I needed time to process the news; so, I promised to call him back. I thought it was a joke but who would make such a sick joke about the Church Boy as his fans and friends fondly called Mac?
I logged onto Facebook and that’s when it hit me; different musicians and social media friends had posted on their walls. Maurice Kirya had posted: “Sad news has just hit me that Ugandan gospel singer Mac Elvis has died. This is so terrible! Such a talented loving young man…”
“A man of God, a soldier and a shining light. You’ve left a great legacy behind my brother. We thank you for the amazing blessings of music you left behind. We will continue the race,” posted another. Since then we have been waiting for someone to post that this was all a joke but all we see is “R.I.P Mac Elvis”.
The 26-year-old Mac Elvis (Mark Elvis Mutalya) had travelled with Sami Kay, Ronald Muro and Robin San to Dar es salaam, Tanzania courtesy of Upper Room Ministries and they ministered in different schools and conferences.
Upon conclusion of the tour, Mac Elvis stayed behind to put his magic touch on Elandre’s album. Elandre is also a gospel musician and he is featured on Mac’s song Church Boy.
Apart from singing, the Church Boy was a gifted songwriter and producer. Security guards found his body floating in the swimming pool at the apartments he has been staying at on Saturday morning.
His parents passed away when he was a little boy and he has grown up in Watoto church and that is the family he knew. His elder brother passed away too but he had his mentor and ‘spiritual father’ Samuel Kiggundu aka Sami Kay.
Sami Kay is also prominent on the gospel music scene and he is responsible for helping a boy who wanted to be like him and making his dream come true. He even helped with the recording of his first single God So Loved at First Love studios where he worked as a producer.
Mac Elvis went on to shine in the urban gospel music circles and recorded two more albums, Yo Love in 2009 and Church Boy in 2011. He has opened for big acts including Papa San, Kirk Franklin, Cece Winans and Alvin Slaughter, among others.
By the time of his sudden demise, he was working on his third album, and the first single Topowa Game is already topping charts on Christian radio stations. His remains are expected in the country today.
Another Facebook fan posted on the Power FM wall “Thanks for accepting to be used by the Lord. You have gone young but I celebrate your legacy. You have been so down-to-earth and I’m sure [you have] set an example for any minister. Saints do not die, they sleep. Sleep in glory, Mac.” Sleep in glory, indeed.