Iryn on picking up the pieces as a divorcee and single mom
Posted Saturday, March 16 2013 at 00:00
When we all thought her life could not be any better with her on top of her game in the music industry and a seemingly happy family, it seems that our music diva was already divorced and her life was anything but rosy and admirable. What went wrong with French ex-husband, Frank Morel, and what is next for Iryn Namubiru? She lets in Brenda Banura.
Iryn Namubiru is so energetic on stage, and she seems to enjoy herself during her concerts. You cannot help enjoying yourself too. Imagine my disappointment, therefore, when I could not see that light, fun and easy going gyrating woman I see, in her videos too, at our interview.
Namubiru kept her guard up. Straight faced, she answered questions she was comfortable with and politely declined others. When she answered, it was emotionlessly. It is like she was wearing an invisible steel mask!
And you cannot blame her. From recent publications of her clash with her ex-husband to pictures of her taken at unimaginable angles in skimpy outfits, and in compromising positions with some dignitaries, Namubiru has had her share of bad press. Expressing anger over the exaggeration of her clash with her ex-husband, she remained vague about her new found love and her life in France. But in a prior interview where she seemed to open up a little more, she describes herself as “a very loving divorced mother of two. I live in Muyenga and in Dijon, France. In my free time, I love listening to music, reading, travelling spending time with my children and the love of my life as well as taking care of my foundation ‘Gather for the children’.”
Yes, we did notice that “love of my life” but all the information we could get about him was, in that prior interview still, “My most ultimate romantic fantasy right now is to go all or any places we haven’t been to whether in Uganda or elsewhere in the world with my Man, my Angel. We could camp in the middle of nowhere just the two of us and we will enjoy each other. He does so many things for me, every day comes with something different and memorable but I should say, the love and attention he gives me is the most romantic thing.” And that was it. That was all we were going to get about her current state of affairs in the love department.
She also regrets having been a poor listener, in regard to relationships, and “…probably not having enough time for them and not telling them exactly how much I loved them.” It is not clear whether this is in regard to her defunct marriage and she will not say. She also declines declaring her age and consquently putting time details in years to any event in her life. Her focus is elsewhere though, and like a powerhouse, to her role as a mother and a musician, Namubiru has added school, and a music tour around the country.
Talking about music, there is no doubt that Namubiru is an icon in this country. Remember 2006? The song was Nkuweeki?. In a beautiful, powerful voice, Namubiru, previously teamed with Juliana Kanyomozi in the duo I-Jay, sang soulfully. Her fans were brought to tears as they listened to her declaration of genuine love and not love for money. And it was with this song that she shot through to the list of Uganda’s best female artistes. And along came more hits like Nkwagala Nyo, in which she made fans tear some more, and numerous memorable collaborations with other artists.
And when she won four awards in the 2011 Pearl of Africa Music (PAM) Awards and three at the 2011 Diva Music Awards, 2011 was marked as her most successful year. This year, in her latest love ballad – Tebibabinji-like a song bird, Namubiru sweetly goes on about the little things that “do it” in a relationship for a woman. While the back-to-school mission may seem like a mission to distract herself, Namubiru, who holds a diploma in Hotel and Tourism management from Airways Tourism & Hotel Institute, says she is only being realistic about her future. “I decided to go back to school to upgrade because music cannot be for forever. It is something I have always wanted to do. Now is a good time because I have free time on me.”
Iryn the student a full plate
Now Namubiru is a year one student at Cavendish University. So what happens when you literally walk right out of people’s radios and Television sets into their lecture room? She acknowledges that the thought scared her but she got lucky as most of the time, she studies with mature students.
But as expected, not everyone at the university reacts the same way about studying at the same campus with a star. Namubiru explains that the few times she studies with the younger ones, some get star struck and do not allow her to concentrate. “Sometimes non-teaching staff like the askaris ask me to sing for them. But the mature ones have made it easy for me.”
So, she doesn’t have to disguise herself when going to school. She endeavours to attend all her classes and, like any other student, raises up her hand when she wants to answer or ask a question. When the semester is on, she studies five times a week for five hours. Though with a full plate, she promises her fans not to cut down on music. “There is enough room for everything,” she says. In fact, starting March through June, she will be on a country tour with the Fusion band, with which she performs every Saturday and Sunday, at Water Front Beach, Entebbe. Yet in a good month, sometimes she has a gig every day.
This is as she prepares for a show set for September or October. And to think she has to fly to France every four or five weeks for about the same period to be with her little ones!
Talking about France, when asked to share about life there compared to the image the ordinary Ugandan has about leaving abroad, her face gets straighter. Then she replies, “In France, I live as I do in Uganda. I am not always out of the house clubbing or something. But I might go out to a restaurant once in a while. It is modest living. It is a normal life with kids. And I like being there as much as I do here.” She will not reveal whether she is popular there too or not.
Letting her hair down
Now that she doesn’t do music while in France as well, being there is similar to being on vacation. When she goes to France, it is to look after her children aged 10 and six years and that is all she does when there.
She says she has a team that helps her with her career so it makes it easier for her to manage. But she trusts no one with her face. So she is her own makeup artist and stylist even when she has a show or is shooting a video.
To fit in her various shoes, she has to keep on reminding herself of her priority, which is family. She tries to be organised and has a timetable that she says she follows strictly to avoid getting into tricky situations. “But when it does, I usually choose the children. I wouldn’t want to postpone being with the children because they are priority,” she says. She adds that when she is in Uganda, and they are in France with her ex-husband, she is in constant communication with them.