Michael Ross is more at ease than he has ever been at any time in his eight year musical career and he thinks he knows why.
He believes his career is thriving on such hits like Yooyo, Tell Me and Nze Akwagala because, “I’m over the confusion of what I should be singing about. I’m R&B all the way and that’s what I want to do. Love is my subject.”
It was not always like this. There was a time when Michael Ross Kakooza was not too sure what the fans wanted.
Right after Senorita, “I started getting confusing signals from fans and people who listen to music. Some people said that my music was too western and others said I should sing in Luganda if I wanted to get Ugandan fans.
Everyone wanted me to play what they wanted to listen to which was not the same thing. I was not sure if I sang in Luganda I would not be cheating myself.” It was a long time before Michael figured out that the best way he could serve his fans and his own floundering musical career was by following his own passions.
“I can sing a song about corruption but I don’t think you will want to listen to a Michael Ross anti corruption song like you would want to listen to a Michael Ross love song.”
Love is his thing and Michael says, “People who know me are not surprised because I’m a very loving person. That is my nature. Those who are always with me know that I’m a cheerful giver. I guess that is why singing about love suits me best.”
But it is not just finally coming to terms with his own artistic needs that has seen Michael start to prosper. There is also the little matter of gradual change in musical tastes.
Michael reasons, “Back in the day, this industry was dominated by the Chameleones, Bebe Cools and Bobi Wines. Now tastes have changed. More people are interested in different types of music from just ‘kidandali’.
The fact is that I have been doing a genre that was not so popular. People are now more open and have started listening to urban music.”
But as the success of Nze Akwagala demonstrates, Michael Ross is still coming to terms with the musical love coming his way. Nze Akwagala almost never got released though.
“I recorded that song in August 2009, I was not so sure how the crowd would react to it. Radios like fast songs and club bangers, the way I see it.
So I didn’t release it until a couple of friends listened to it and started pestering me to release it. I still think it was releasing it with a video that has helped it to become a hit.”
If as a long time Michael Ross listener you sense a change in his music, it is because, “I have grown, man.
That has to be reflected in the music too. The songs I sing nowadays are a grown man’s songs!” The musical change is also reflected in his personal sense of style which has greatly evolved.
Michael laughs: “Back in the day, I used to [treat] my hair. That was my signature to stand out but I have grown up. My sense of fashion has changed but I’m still hip hop. I’m trying to get that clean cut gentleman look and you are going to see more of that.”