What you need to know:
his evening, Uganda will witness the first female battle between Sheebah and Cindy at Kololo Airstrip. Efforts to have this battle earlier hit a dead end when it was revealed that Sheebah and her team at the time had asked for Shs1b to battle Cindy
FACE-OFF: Uganda has witnessed three music battles; Chameleone against Bobi Wine at Kati Kati, Bebe Cool vs Bobi Wine and Goodlyfe against Bebe Cool. However, until today, the winner has never been announced. It was left for the audience to judge who took the day. This evening, Uganda will witness the first female battle between Sheebah and Cindy at Kololo Airstrip. Efforts to have this battle earlier hit a dead end when it was revealed that Sheebah and her team at the time had asked for Shs1b to battle Cindy. At the beginning of this year, this same deal was brought back on the table, this time spearheaded by Swangz Avenue and the label engaged both parties, who all agreed to the terms and conditions of the contract which had an offer of Shs100m for each but before it could happen, Sheebah announced her Yolo Festival, followed by Cindy. Before we knew it, there was a music battle. Isaac Ssejjombwe takes a look at the history of both artistes as they warm up for the show.
Cinderella Sanyu, commonly known as Cindy, started her music career in early 2000 when she took part in the Capital Radio All Stars talent search at 16 years. In this particular competition, she came third but her talent had captured the attention of producer Steve Jean who made sure she participated in the Coca-Cola Pop Stars contest alongside Lilian Mbabazi and Jackie Chandiru. At the end of the competition, the three girls were announced as winners, which also led to the formation of Blu*3 in 2003.
This was Uganda’s first singing female trio and the three girls under Steve Jean’s mentorship took the industry by storm, especially with songs such as Hitaji, Nsanyuka Nawe, Burn and Mutima Gwange, among others.
However, Cindy left the group in 2008 for reasons that up to now are only known to her and her groupmates. Reports say she had got a deal in Spain, others say she was kicked out after she went MIA, while other reports suggest she was tired of the group. After a year, though, Cindy kicked off her solo career while the group which had switched management to Talent 256, now Talent Africa, replaced her with Mya Baganda.
Cindy’s solo career kicked off on a high, with her first album Ayokyayokya topping charts with songs such as Nawewe, You and Me with P Square, Number One with Mikie Wine and Ayokyayokya itself in 2009, among others.
She went on to release other songs such as Amateeka, One and Only, Total Satisfaction, Selekta, Ndi Mukodo, Dat Dat, Run This City, Onina, Copycat, many of them managing to get good airplay.
Cindy is also credited for writing Sheebah’s first song titled Ngenda Kunyenyeza.
Going by the Internet, Cinderella Sanyu has a total of 57 songs in her entire catalogue.
Cindy has had two concerts so far in her music career. The first happening in 2017 aptly titled A Night with Cindy at Imperial Royale Hotel and the Boom Party Concert at Lugogo Cricket Oval. Her first concert did not go as expected as a handful of people turned up but three years later, she made history as her concert at cricket oval is said to have registered the biggest turn up at the time by a local artiste, only competing with Winnie Nwagi and Chameleone then.
Cinderella Sanyu is not just a musician. She is also an actress and she made her acting debut in the film Bella, a Ugandan musical drama in which she played lead role. She later worked on another film titled November Tear that was released in 2019.
Awards and recognition
In her trophy cabinet, Cindy has a number of accolades, including Female Artiste of the Year in the DIVA Awards, 2009, Teeniez Dancehall Srtiste in the Buzz Teeniez Swards 2010, Best Female Artiste in the Buzz Teeniez Awards 2010, Afrima Best Female Artiste (East Africa) 2016, Bingwa Awards Best Artiste from Uganda 2016, Africa Movie Academy Awards for Best Young Actor, Africa Lead Role In Film (non Nigerian) at the Nigerian Entertainment Awards and Best Actress at Uganda Film Festival Awards, all in 2018. Best Artist/Group from Uganda & Best Music Video from Uganda in the 2005 Kisima Music Awards, Video of the Year (Hitaji’) in the 2005 Pearl of Africa Music Awards and Video of the Year (Burn) in the 2007 Pearl of Africa Music Awards, which she got nominated in the best East African Group in the 2005 Kora Awards, Best East African Album (Hitaji) in the 2005 Tanzania Music awards, Best East African video (Frisky’) in the 2006 Channel O Music Video awards, Best Group & Best Performer in the 2009 MTV Africa Music Awards.
Cindy is currently the acting president of the Uganda Musicians’ Association (UMA), a position she has been occupying for more than three years now.
Cindy has 89.8k subscribers on YouTube, 12.745 monthly listeners on Spotify, 887k followers on Facebook, 877,000 followers on Instagram and 20.3K followers on Twitter.
Cindy’s strength lies in writing her music, performs flawlessly both on live band and on CD playback, she is both a dancer and singer, making her a stage performer and engages the crowd during her performance.
Despite having been good at the above, Cindy’s catalogue might fail her during the concert if both artistes are given a good number of hours on stage.
Sheebah Samalie Karungi joined the music industry at a tender age of 15 after dropping out of school. Her first encounter with music was after a childhood friend introduced her to a hangout joint where dancers performed regularly. She was a karaoke singer who later joined Stingers, a dance group and then Obsessions, another dance group, in 2007.
After being part of two songs in the group, she left in 2010 to pursue a solo career. Her first song was titled Kunyenyenza, a song that was written for her by Cindy and produced by Washington. She went on to release another song titled Bulikyekola, featuring vocals from KS Alpha and Prince Fahim and then Baliwa featuring Coco Finger.
It was until she released Automatic, a song written by Sizzaman in 2011, that her solo career started experiencing a turnaround.
Upon the success of Automatic, she teamed up again with Sizzaman three years later to release Ice Cream, a five-track EP which contained hit singles, including Ice Cream and Jordan.
Team No Sleep management
Later that year, Sheebah joined Team No Sleep (TNS) management to steer her music career under the stewardship of Jeff Kiwa. It was at TNS that Sheebah had her best years in the music industry, going ahead to become the top female artiste in Uganda for more than five years consecutively, thanks to songs such as Twesana, Nkwatako, Nakyuka, John Rambo, Onkutude, Mummy Yo, Sweet Sensation alongside Orezi, Enyanda, Mundongo, Go Ddown Low with Pallaso and Weekend alongside Runtown, among others.
The artiste decided to part ways with Jeff Kiwa in 2021 and went back to being a solo artiste. Sheebah, going by the Internet, has a catalogue of 127 songs.
Sheebah held her first concert titled Nkwatako n 2016, followed by Omwoyo in 2018 at Hotel Africana in Kampala. Both concerts were organised by her management, TNS and they were both successful.
It was, however, in 2022 that Sheebah made history at Kampala Serena Hotel by staging two shows; Friday and Saturday at the same venue and charging Shs150,000 per person. Serena was filled up on both occasions.
She debuted her acting career in Queen of Katwe, acting as Shakira.
Awards and recognition
Sheebah’s Ice Cream EP helped win her Best Female Artiste at the 2014 and 2015 HiPipo Music Awards. HiPipo Music Awards Best Female Artiste in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. She also won the Artiste of the Year Award twice in 2017, 2018, and 2019 at the HiPipo Music Awards. She was the female artiste of the Year in the Uganda Music Awards in 2018, Artiste of the Year, Female artist of the Year and Collaboration of the Year in the Zzina Awards 2017, Best Female and Best Artiste Zzina Awards in 2016 while she was nominated in the Abryanz Style and fFashion Awards and Nigeria Entertainment Awards in the Best African Female Artiste, among others.
Earlier this year, the Uganda National Musicians Federation (UNMF) was formed with Eddy Kenzo as the interim president and Sheebah Karungi as one of the deputies.
Sheebah has 534k subscribers on YouTube, 95,989 monthly listeners on Spotify, 2.3m followers on Facebook, 1m followers on Instagram and 885.1k followers on Twitter.
Sheebah’s greatest strength lies in her weighty catalogue that includes about 30 hit songs. She dominated the industry for more than five years and if she is to walk away victorious, this is what she is going to base on. Like her competitor, Sheebah is also a very good dancer and knows how to use the stage to her advantage.
Sheebah’s biggest weakness is in managing a live performance.