JOAN NAMUGERWA, popularly known as Jowy Landa, has emerged as a rising star on the Uganda entertainment scene, with 13 songs released just this year.
The singer, who experimented with various record labels and managers, has found a stable footing with DJ Roja’s 7 Star music label and Team No Sleep, owned by Jeff Kiwa. Currently, she is captivating audiences with her latest single, Sugar Mama. She told Quick Talk why she stopped being managed by singer Pallaso.
Jowy, you really do hop labels... won’t you soon be leaving 7 Star Management and TNS too?
No, I am not leaving 7 Star Management and TNS; they are working hand in hand to push my music. It is a partnership. DJ Roja has been my friend from day one and very supportive of my career. He believed in me and when I didn’t have a management team, he offered to give a hand.
Why would you need a second label then?
Jeff Kiwa and DJ Roja are good friends; so, they decided to partner to push my music. I thank God, I am with some of the best music managers and things are really moving fast. DJ Roja managed to change my brand, put my music on every TV and radio station, every big club... I am happy; it’s what every artiste wants.
We are releasing music every now and then – quality music – and of course I’m working with a team that knows the music game, they know what type of music to release, and they have the best promotion plans.
Do you write your music?
I do write some of my music; and for others, we get different good music writers.
Your brand is finally recognized in the music industry; does that come with additional pressure?
Yes, of course! The music industry will always have pressure whenever you’re in the limelight. You have to release more quality music; some people will always try to pull you down but you have to stay focused; so, it’s not easy whenever you’re at the top of your game.
Social media wants to spark a fight between you and Sheebah because of your recent song, Akawowo.
Did you see that coming?
Yes I saw this coming; Sheebah didn’t release the song. I don’t think that Jeff Kiwa can make any mistake to release a song that we don’t own. We rightfully own the song. [Akawowo, Jowy’s collabo with Jose Chameleone, was first done by Sheebah under Kiwa’s management, but following their parting of ways, the song was never released. Sheebaholics are not receiving Jowy’s version well.]
How do you find the music industry from the time you joined till now?
Ugandan music has grown positively. Many talented artistes have emerged and they have good music which makes the competition more vibrant. The demand for quality music by the fans, the awards that different artistes get outside Uganda, all mean that our music is recognized.
But Nigerians are performing at World Cup, African Cup and Ballon’dor... Ugandan musicians are still fighting for the local audience.
Well, before Nigerians, we had Jamaicans everywhere; Nigerians managed to know the type of music to do and how to execute it. Several Nigerian music legends have been in the international music scene for a long time; the amazing publicity has helped a lot of Nigerian artistes over the years.
If I am to give an example of Don Jazzy, he was a good artiste, but he had to give platform to other artistes like Rema, Ayra Starr and others by signing them under Mavin Records and they are now trending everywhere, just see Rema making a collaboration with Selena Gomez; Rush song by Ayra Starr was on top of charts for too long.
Our time is coming too; very soon you will see me performing on those big stages; I am sure about that.
Talking about Nigerians, which one inspires you musically?
I love Ayra Starr, whose music is a fusion of Afrobeats, R’n’B and soul, which makes her so unique in the Nigerian music industry.
What do you think Nigerians are doing differently?
First of all, Nigerians have an identity in their music which is not the case in Uganda. Nigerians have that unique beat with traditional instruments which cuts across in almost every song and listening to their music one will just know that this is a Nigerian song upon hearing the instruments. Our music in Uganda still lacks the identity yet it is key to pushing a song beyond borders.
Nigeria as a country has a copyright law that is not operational in Uganda; with copyright, comes money because a musician earns from one song for a long time even when they take a long time to release music.
Also, Nigeria has a very big population that consumes its music even before other markets do; this is a very big population that consumes music and so, when we look at music views on YouTube, you will see that Nigerian music videos have more views than Uganda [than any other African country, really.]
Which people have given you full support ever since you launched your career?
My mum has always been there for me regardless of the downs and ups; my fans have also been around, then my boss DJ Roja. There are a lot of people I won’t mention; so, I am just thankful.
Any concert dates, yet?
No, but I am sure I will announce when it’s the right time; for now, I am still focused on making quality music for my fans and everyone out there.