What you need to know:
CHEKECHA: Karole Kasita is a dancehall recording artiste, songwriter and performer who started out in a live band in 2015 before going solo in 2018. Ahead of her concert tonight, Isaac Ssejjombwe had a chat with her.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room. Are you dating Feffe Bussi?
No. The rumour was started by some guys at Nasser Roadwho put together voice notes that circulated on social media. The voice notes seemed to suggest that we were having a romantic conversation.
From the look of things, the two of you seemed to ride on the rumours?
I think it is because we are friends and they used that opportunity to steer things up. We are friends and nothing can stop that.
Is your baby daddy comfortable with such stories and the rest that come along the way?
He found me doing music and he would have told me to leave if he was not comfortable.
Have you ever clashed because of your music career?
He is affected sometimes, especially after seeing my performances but he adjusts the same way my fans are also adjusting to the fact that I am a different artiste now. It takes time. Even if I came on stage dressed in a gomesi and someone touches me, any man will feel jealous.
Women seem to sacrifice a lot to become a mother. Did you ever think about your career before getting pregnant?
If you are not on stage, there is no way you are going to earn in Uganda. Pregnancy is a whole new experience and the things you go through before and after could force you to give up on music. But I had it all planned out.
Was this pregnancy planned?
I did not plan for it but I knew if it came, I would embrace it.
If your man woke up one day and told you to throw away your music career, would you do it?
There is a reason I work hard every day and that is for no one to make decisions for me. Unless by the time he asks me to leave it all I also feel it is time to move on.
You are staging your first concert this evening despite being active in music for more than five years. Is this the right time?
I started doing music commercially in 2019 but the following year in 2020, we went into a lockdown and after two years, I became pregnant and from that, we have a concert. It has all played out well for me. But I had a listener’s party at Fame Lounge in 2019 which was successful.
Not many artistes have embraced UMA showgrounds the way they have done other venues such as Africana, Cricket Oval or Freedom City. Why did you choose this venue?
I wanted a concert this year. December is almost taken up by events and November was free but its challenge is that it is a rainy season, so I had to get an indoor venue yet Serena was fully booked.
How do you feel about this show?
To be real, I do not feel anything. I am past the ‘maybe or not’ stage now. Once the dates were set, our only plan was A and we did not have a plan B. We are now fully in.
How have you planned the concert?
It is going to be a nice show featuring very many artistes with Karole Kasita as the headliner. It will start as soon as the audience is there, especially the early bird ticket holders who have to be in by 6pm. I will be stepping on stage by 9pm and I will be doing three sessions. I will be supported by every artiste I have a collaboration with, including Cindy, Eddy Kenzo, Gravity, Winnie Nwagi, Vinka, Feffe Bussi, Bella and Bafana among others. It is strictly going to be a live band concert because of my background with S&S Band who will be backing me up.
We know that S&S band rebranded. Are we seeing the original members or as it is?
I am going to be supported by the current members of the band. I have been rehearsing with them for a long time, so I trust them.
We have seen concerts where supporting acts outshine the headlining acts or some events that happen at the concert making more headlines. Aren’t you a bit nervous that they might steal your shine?
I believe I have what it takes to shine. Not outshining but shining because I am not competing with them. Some are bigger than me but I also have my strengths as an artiste. For example, I am a great stage performer and not many can compete with me on that.
Why name the concert Chekecha?
I have had many hits in my career and good songs but there are things that appeal to the public and you do not have any control over them. For example, I would have called my concert Limited Edition, reflecting on my 11-track album but it did not appeal to some sections of the public. Chekecha was so big that it overtook my brand Karole Kasita and everyone can relate to the song.
How different is this concert going to be from others we have seen?
Karole Kasita is going to be the difference. People have been seeing me support other artistes at their concerts but this is the first time that other artistes will be supporting me instead.
Who has organised this show?
I have organised my own show.
Do you have the expertise to pull it off?
No one can believe in you the way you believe in yourself and that is one of the things that has failed many artistes in Uganda. I have to prove that I can do it for someone else to also believe in me next time.
Organising a concert is not a walk in the park. How have you managed to meet all the demands by yourself?
I work with a big team. What I can assure my fans is that we are ready for you and expect the best.
How many songs do you have in your catalogue?
I have about 30 songs so far.
And your best among them?
Muhammad Ali because it speaks of my journey, how humble I am, how good my fans have been supportive and how grateful I am.
How have you managed to survive all these years in the industry with all its challenges?
I learnt that music is a business and when I earn I do not forget to re-invest. When you re-invest, you can never go wrong.
You recently separated with Joram Lukisa, who has been your manager since the commercialisation of your music. What really happened?
People grow up in this world and when they do, they outgrow each other and want newer things and I think time reached when we were no longer compatible. He was perhaps looking for greater things that I might not possess.
Did you try to sort those issues out?
We have never talked because even when we had our differences, he never changed his mindset as a person and he decided to speak to the media, which I was okay with.
Were you not offended when he spoke to the media?
Even God’s name is tarnished, so who am I?
Would you work with him again if he comes back?
No we cannot, just the same way God did not give Satan a second chance.
Who is your manager at the moment?
I work with Arnold Ssempijja, known as manager Apple but I literally manage myself. He helps me here and there but I am the brains behind my music and brand. The moment I realised that music is a business, no one can best manage your business more than you.
What legacy do you want to leave on the entertainment scene?
I want to be remembered as the best stage performer Uganda has ever had and to be remembered as a hardworking woman as well.
Lastly, would you want your son to be a musician?
My son can be whatever he wants to be so long as it is a decent thing. I will not stop him from doing what he wants to be.