Last year had immense musical talent from both newcomers and some old guns such as Bebe Cool and Big Trill finding their groove at a whole new level.
Dancehall, raga, hip hop and RnB have seen new, aggressive entrants and if things continue this way, 2020 will definitely be a good year for the industry. ERNEST JJINGO & NATHAN ATILUK look at some of the artists you should keep an eye and ear on this year, after consulting with different stakeholders in the industry.
With arguably the biggest song of the year Parte After Parte, all eyes are going to be on Big Trill to see if he can top that.
The 29-year-old rapper is not new on the hip hop scene, but until Parte After Parte dropped, few cared about his music. He received applause from even international superstars including WizKid, Davido, Burna Boy, Cardi B and Offset for the hit.
But can he stay at the top?
In 2014, Eddy Kenzo exploded onto the global music scene with Sitya Loss (arguably the song of the last decade) and he has not looked back. Will Big Trill be our next big music export?
“Big Trill has always had good music but he was so underrated; but now with the success of Parte After Parte, he got everyone’s attention and the release of at least three good songs and a likely international collabo will do him good for the year ,” McKenzie, a radio presenter-turned-media consultant, told The Observer.
Luckily for Big Trill, he has been in the industry for quite some time and has a good management team (Striker Entertainment) based in Nigeria.
The Afrobeat singer stamped his foot onto the music scene last year with Nkuloga, accompanied by a number of other jams like Mpulira Bibyo, Amen and Replace Me, a collabo with John Blaq and Sheebah, which all did well.
He has been able to attract the attention of music lovers especially the youths with his smooth voice coupled with his great sense of fashion and good looks.
However, the 21-year-old’s career has already been involved in many scandals, with many portraying him as a womanizer, moreso with much older women, something he needs to avoid this year to keep a clean public image.
“Grenade is a promising guy but he needs to get his act together and concentrate more on his music rather than ‘slaying’ and wasting his energy on older women,” Dembe FM presenter and music aficionado, Isaac Katende aka Kasuku, said.
He also needs a management team after allegedly falling out with Jeff Kiwa of Team No Sleep.
When he came onto the music scene in 2018, many criticized him saying he was a copycat of Fik Fameica who had also just burst onto the scene. However, a year later, you can say that VIP Jemo, real name James Kasozi Batende, has worked hard to prove his haters wrong.
The rap/dancehall singer released songs like Nebwojooga, Sima and Bujju, which are characterized by catchy hooks that distinctly differentiated him from Fik Fameica. His songs are easily memorable and just a single listen leaves you humming the tune.
Early last year, the 22-year-old self-proclaimed ‘King of New School’ was signed by Karma Ivien, the same manager who shot Fik Fameica to stardom.
“VIP Jemo’s success is largely attributed to his good management under Karma Ivien and I think he will continue doing well,” McKenzie said.
In February last year, Joan Namugerwa alias Jowy Landa rose to fame after doing a cover of John Blaq’s Obubadi that went viral and pushed her into mainstream music. She was immediately signed to singer Pallaso’s Good Music Entertainment where she released her first single, Saba Saba.
The 19-year-old raga/dancehall singer proved her potential with Onvuga, Tewerumya Mutwe (Ft John Blaq and DJ Shiru), among others. With the right songs and producers, Jowy Landa can surely land a good year.
In October, the S.6 ‘vacist’ changed management and signed with De Texas Management under manager Francis, who brought us Fresh Kid; many believe in his capability of nurturing young talent.
The year 2019 introduced us to Vivian Tendo through her song Hajjati Wa Hajji. The song did well and even became a slogan for lovers.
The follow-ups Gwe Wange and Onyango were also well received. With the music industry being dominated by dancehall and fast-paced songs currently, Vivian Tendo still managed to get people’s attention with her soft RnB.
Many female musicians who do the same genre such as Rema, Irene Ntale, Chozen Becky and Lydia Jazmine did not do so well last year, which enabled people to notice Tendo.
The 21-year-old student of Kyambogo University is signed to Route Entertainment which is owned by respected songwriter Yesse Oman Rafiki. So, having songs to sing is definitely not among Vivian Tendo’s problems.
She had been underground for some time but finally managed to break out. Kasiita can sing, dance and put up energetic performances, if you have watched at least one of her videos, especially Binyuma.
She is among the most hardworking and aggressive female artistes and collaborated with Cindy and Daddy Andre last year. There is no doubt that she will be a force to reckon with in 2020.
If we need a viral artiste in 2020, Kapa Cat is most likely to be the real deal. Real names Catherine Tumusiime, she describes her music as spoken dancehall characterized by true-life events. She is slowly climbing the music ladders thanks to her controversial catchy lyrics in songs such as Sikyo and Nonsense, off her debut album Tukuba Party to be released this year.
The current wave in the industry is for people with unique characters and sound; Kapa Cat has exactly that.
“Kapa Cat is a new kid on the block with a lot of promise and she is itching to show her fans what she can do. Her songs are controversial but authentic, which makes her stand out,” James Propa, a music analyst with MTN Tidal Uganda, told The Observer.
The release of her 10-song album is likely to give her a good year.
He made his debut last year and his music was largely played in clubs and bars. In his own words, he is direct, quick and powerful and he showed glimpses of these attributes last year. He closed the year with Wulira Ebbaala, which is still doing quite well and, according to James Propa, the vibrant dancehall rapper has potential to fully break out this year even with just two or three nice tracks.
She was introduced onto the music scene last year by MC Kats under his Kats Music label, although they seem to have fallen out. MC Kats pushed her music and made sure she got airplay both in media and clubs.
Her biggest projects last year were a collaboration with Grenade, Ani and a single Supu. According to singer/producer Daddy Andre, Shammy K already got the reception; she only needs consistency and brand growth.
Music analysts also expect Vinka, Spice Diana and Sheebah to continue with the good form in 2020 with each fighting to be Uganda’s best female artiste, while John Blaq who dominated the scene last year is also expected to work even harder to prove that he is indeed here to stay.
Fast-rising dancehall star, Vyper Ranking is also expected to impress with McKenzie believing that with just a little push, he could be the next big dancehall star Uganda has been missing.