I do not think hits, I think good music – Pia Pounds

Pia Pounds

What you need to know:

Since her breakthrough, Tracy Kirabo, aka Pia Pounds has expanded her craft from singing to songwriting and acting. And now with a Netflix feature song and some more hits to her name, Pia Pounds ranks herself atop Uganda’s music radar.

In 2018, pictures emerged on social media of you holding papers standing alongside Eddy Kenzo. Were you really ever signed to Big Talent?

I was signed to Big Talent Entertainment on January 11, 2018. It was a life-changing experience that opened many doors for my career but a year after that signing, I decided to exit the label on friendly terms.

But when you left, Eddy Kenzo said you were never signed to Big Talent.

Hahaha that was a big joke. That is all I can say.

How did you get to work under Big Talent in the first place?

I was a recording artiste and often frequented the label’s studio. One day Eddy Kenzo walked into one of my sessions and was impressed with my work, so he offered to help. Next thing I knew, I was one of them.

Before Big Talent, where were you?

I was at school pursuing a degree in Business Management at the International University of East Africa but I had been into music since I was 14 years old.

In 2021, you announced that you were looking for a manager. How did that go?

Successfuly. I found a promotions manager who is extremely passionate and daring about my music, countrywide performances and international visibility.

What were you looking for in a manager?

I was looking for someone with passion in our industry because skills alone are not enough.

You also graduated in 2021, right at the time when your music career was blossoming. How did you manage music and books at the same time?

It was so hard and I cannot do it over again. I mostly felt no progress with my music whatsoever and my class time was being affected by late night performances, interviews, studio time and all those other career events that needed me. Thankfully, I did it and I am happy to say it was worth it.

Some people claimed that you never attended classes and that your degree might not be genuine.

Wow this is new. However, I achieved what needed to be achieved and I will not waste my precious time proving myself to anyone.

Tell us about your music background.

I started singing in church and learnt most of my writing from there. In school, I was the one leading every song, I was in every school choir and at 13 years, I made my first appearance in a recording studio as a back-up artist. A year later in 2011, one of my singles Just The Way You Are got featured by legend Ragga Dee and the song played on radios and TVs. This got me thinking that I had made it but then life forced me back to school. My next appearance in studio was at Big Talent because at some point nothing could make me happier than music.

Who inspired you to be an artiste?

It was mostly my mother. I knew her for only three years of my life but I still hear her voice singing to me every time I am happy, alone, sad and worried. Music heals me in every way possible. Other inspirations are great musicians and artistes who left behind a big impact with their art.

Where did the Pia Pounds name come from?

Pia was a name I used since 2018, which I shortened from Piano which came as a nickname from my amateur Piano playing at my high school. The name Pounds just made sense since high school; I guess because I have a keen interest in money.

There have been concerns regarding your dresscode being too ‘revealing’. Are you comfortable with the way you dress?

I do not know what you mean when you say revealing. I intentionally dress for my body and my brand and I try to look as unique as possible in every appearance.

Over five years in the music industry, has this career started making any returns?

Of course, in this half decade of my career, I can sustain myself, I can afford to uplift others, I am a proud owner of a huge vision at African Bureau of Music, and I have awards and accolades of serious recognition, not forgetting being the first solo female artiste in Uganda to have a song feature on Netflix. I give thanks to the almighty. (Tupaate featured in Netflix’s 2020 reality TV series, Young, Rich & Famous).

How are you earning from music?

Stage performances, online sales, brand ambassadorial contracts but mostly online sales, so I encourage anyone reading this today, to stream Ugandan music online, buy it, because that is the only assured channel of earning money from our work. 

You got your first hit in Tupaate after a number of years in the industry. Tell us about that song?

Tupaate is my miracle song, which came straight from God. It was recorded at 3am during the hardest time of my life. We did it in the Covid-19 lockdown and it was produced by Kuseim at African Bureau of Music.

You said you had given up on it after failing to promote it. How then did it become a hit?

Tupaate’s fate was written in the stars because my fans pushed it so hard, including one who became part of the wave, known as Mc Africa. It is one thing to make a good song and it is another to have people madly tuned in.

How did your career change after the success of the song?

I received a lot of positivity; Love from my fans and that is more fulfilling than any other form of reward. I have loyal fans who believe in what I do and wait religiously for my work. That is a blessing.

As the song was still getting more recognition, you decided to do a remix with Eddy Kenzo and Mc Africa. Was it a good strategy?

Yes it was. Until now, it is the most viewed song in 24 hours of all time in Ugandan music, yes it was viewed by 140,000 people in the first 24 hours of its release on YouTube. That is historic.

Do you think Kenzo did justice to it as opposed to what people say?

He gave it serious magic.

Artistes usually struggle to match up to a viral song. Did you have any strategy after Tupaate’s success?

My strategy was to sing with my heart and sincerely to the world. I do not think about hits, I think about good music. Bitimba, for example.

Why Bitimba?

Bitimba is my first ballad this year, written by myself. I am so happy and privileged that people love it and relate to the words. It is currently in the top 100 iTunes at number 54.

Besides Bitimba, do you also write the rest of your songs?

Yes I do. I should be considered a song-writer as well. 

How would you rate your music career ever since you started out?

I would give it an 8/10.

If you were not an artiste, what would you be?

I would just be a living being with no purpose, I do not want to be anything but a freakin’ star.

Where would you rank yourself in Uganda’s entertainment industry?

Oh dear hahahaha, at the top, when you think of the best artistes in Uganda my name is right there.

Who is your best Ugandan artiste?

Pia Pounds!

What is your best song among those you have done and why?

I would say Bitimba because I exposed my heart on that one.

Why music of all careers?

Singing and writing are my natural talents, I chose music as a career because I love it. It does not even feel like a job.

Besides music, what else are you doing?

I am a brand ambassador, a community outreach advisor for NGOs such as Tara School Inc, I am an entrepreneur with upcoming businesses because I am very passionate about fashion, beauty and farming.


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