Michael Mugwanya, commonly known as King Michael, is a local musician. A few years ago he was a household name with his Muko Muko, but fast-forward, not many people remember him as a musician apart from his beef with Full Figure and his connections with Brian White. Quick Talk caught up with him at Calendar Prestige hotel in Makindye.
Hi, Quick Talk.
That ka-yellow shirt! Ragga Dee has like 10; how many do you have? [Michael is wearing a yellow shirt and blue distressed jeans, with his trademark dreadlocks; the shirt has the inscription ‘NRM is My Party’]
I have many. By the way, I bought them. These are not donations as you journalists may think.
I see. Now, where have you been?
I have been around. I had given music a two-year break but now I’m back and I will soon be on top of this game.
I have been compiling an album and it’s almost done. It has 17 songs from different studios; the title of the album is Wiggy Wagger. I have done two videos and still shooting some. I have songs like The Big Party and collabos with musicians like Jose Chameleone.
Good for you… Your concert last month flopped. Mbu. What went wrong?
[Laughs and more assertively:] The show was 50-50. I can say I was surprised by the turnout because I had been off the scene for two years!
My music was almost forgotten but still people came to see what I had in store… I hope next year I will have more people. It is unfortunate it coincided with the coming of an international artiste [that was the same day as the D Major concert in Lugogo.]
You invited NRM big shots but they did not turn up…
That’s true, but I’m not happy with that. Tulina okwebereramu [we should support one another]. They should have come to support me the way they do to others!
I have supported NRM for 18 years. If I organize a concert, they should be able to support me and even [sponsor adverts].
I feel you.
[Throwing hands in the air:] Right now I need some financial support. I have many debts from my last show. [Quick Talk hopes Plot 10 Kyadondo road copies…]
So, who did you invite?
[Counting off his fingers:] I talked to Mike Mukula and Ruth Nankabirwa, among others, but none turned up. I even put a yellow table for the NRM guys, but they did not turn up!
We need to help each other for the good of the party and musicians. I know the letters reached them.
Let them not wait until my feet are nailed together to rush to come and help me; the time is now. [He is referring to Hajji Abdu Kiyimba’s nephew, who was last week assaulted in Kyengera and his assailants nailed his palms together with his yellow NRM beret].
Why didn’t you use Bebe Cool’s studio? [With support from President Museveni, Bebe Cool runs a studio that any NRM-leaning musician can use to record their songs.]
I do my things my own way; so, nobody tells me where to record and how to do my music.
OK, let’s slow down; those tattoos [on the arms] where else can I find one on your body?
Only on my arms. [He shows Quick Talk one of an anchor] This one makes me strong.
What happened to you and Bryan White?
I was an endorsement at his charity group The Podium. When my two-year contract ended, we parted ways.
I now concentrate on my music. I sacrificed my music career for The Podium project. By the way, I went there to look for money, which I have got.
So, you were broke...
I had money, but it wasn’t enough and the industry needed a lot of money; so, I had to go to The Podium to get money to push me for five years.
Let’s talk family! Are you an irresponsible father? [One of his songs suggests so.]
[Laughs] That was just a song! But my family is good. My wife is called Rhona Ndagire. I have four children, but Rhona has two.
And when did you last take Rhona out?
She doesn’t like partying and going out, but Ndagire likes the salon; pedicures, manicures…things like that, and I also provide.
But you cook for her?
About six months ago, I cooked mashed potatoes. This is the easiest thing to cook.
Did I miss the wedding?
[Laughs] It is coming; but you journalists are always talking about our marriages. We don’t see your wives, but you are always on our necks; yiii, mwebereremu.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
I can’t count; I love shoes and I think I have countless pairs and I still shop.
Eh! And your wardrobe?
I have many suits [Quick Talk points out that he has never seen Michael in a suit.] They are many, but I don’t wear them often.
If you were to change one thing…
Change one thing… change one thing… I would change all the opposition to NRM.
You love your party! And if you were not doing music?
I would be a pastor telling my followers that it is right to belong to NRM. [You NRM guys…you really should have supported this man’s concert. Eh!]
If you were a president for a day…
…One day? I would chase away foreign investors and give opportunity to Ugandans. I would also give tools of trade to musicians.
You have met Museveni; why didn’t you tell him that?
He promises and his promises take long … he promised me a house and a studio but I have not received anything; probably there is someone standing in the way! I know he will fulfill.
King Michael was born in 1981 to the late Charles Katumba and Betty Kasule of Najjanankumbi, Entebbe road.