Unsung award winning artiste
Posted Sunday, February 2 2014 at 02:00
She rose to fame through one song and has henceforth never looked back. Stella Maris Bukirwa shares her story with EDGAR R. BATTE.
Her music carries messages of evangelism, hope, love, peace, development and unity. Stella Maris Bukirwa is a gospel artiste chasing her star. It is not yet shining as bright as she would like it to but her strength lies in hope. She can write and compose her own music.
“I have 26 songs and three albums. The first album was Jesus is coming, All things are possible and Sing Praise,” she says.
So far her biggest songs are All things are possible, Welcome 6th Commonwealth Youth Forum and Sing Praise. They have earned her airplay on Christian radio stations.
Bukirwa does more than put vocals on the records. “With All things are possible I wrote my video script and made a video out of it which won the Victoria Gospel Music Award for the year 2006/2007. I was so surprised because I could not imagine winning an Award for my first video,” she explains.
But it was Welcome 6th Commonwealth Youth Forum that stands out for her. She performed it at one of the Commonwealth functions in 2007 at Entebbe Botanical Beach Hotel.
“The delegates from the members states of the Commonwealth liked the song. They applauded me. Most of the newspapers carried my picture on the cover page, in my Uganda flag attire. I was humbled. This song opened doors for me,” she recalls.
The following year Bukirwa performed at the second Afro-Arab Youth Festival in Munyonyo, and in 2009 at the Global Smart Partnership Dialogue. In 2010, she won the Always Be Tolerant Organization’s (ABETO) Peace Award for 2010, 2012 and 2013.
“The Sing Praise song took me to the Rhythm of Gospel Music Awards which will take place in Alabama-Birmingham in July. It was nominated in three categories; ‘Alternative Christian Gospel CD’, ‘International Artist of the Year’ and ‘Holy Hip Hop/Jazz/Reggae Gospel CD of the Year’,” the female gospel artistes lists another milestone in her career.
Bukirwa’s music journey started while she was in prayer. “I was praying in 2004 when I heard a voice saying that I want you to start evangelizing through gospel music. I got the anointing there and then and started singing, composing and writing music,” she discloses.
When she set out on this journey she made sure she could do more than what the average local artiste can.
“I sing different music genres; reggae, kwaito, zuku, techno, pop, rhythm and blues and contemporary gospel. I also love creativity in order to stand out of the crowd. I love associating with people from all walks of life all over the world. I also try to learn and sing in different languages, she adds.
She records her music from AO Records and Ark Records with producers like Allan Okia, Steven Tomusange, Danta Fame and Washington.
She has collaborated with fellow gospel artistes Joan Sky, a hip hop gospel artiste who gave a rap in one of her songs titled Africa for peace. She spends Shs400,000 on recording her music and Shs800,000 on shooting the videos. “Maurine Kintu of Ozone Arts shoots my videos and I have worked with Frank from Zanzibar-Kariakoo. He shot my video called ‘Repantez Vouz’ (translated to mean repent now),” Bukirwa adds.
Her challenges include insufficient promotion and insufficient funds. But this will not stand in the way of her aspirations.
“I want to travel nations evangelizing through my music and encouraging people to worship God. Through my music, I want to promote unity, peace and development among the people of Africa. I want to be a role model for the youth of Africa,” she spells out her dreams.
“I am a gospel artiste who is open minded, loves people from all walks of life and I live a simple life. I love travelling and discovering new things,” she somewhat concludes.