Vision Group in association with Twaweza Initiative and Buzz Events are seeking to recognise artistes whose compositions advance society. Today, Steven Odeke brings you Ronald Magada aka Maro who got his inspiration to reach the from other stars
Ronald Magada aka Maro is an eccentric rising star in Ugandan music. Like his song Rising Star goes, the dreadlocked lad has that irresistible whirl of Afro-pop and RnB he has brought in the industry that has garnered him a youthful fanbase. Rising Star tells everyone that they can be superstars if they put their minds to it. He conceived the idea to pen this song out of a thorny experience in 2008.
He was undertaking his job as an usher at a cinema when the idea popped as a result of seeing famous local artistes stream in and out of the cinema on a daily basis reeking comfort in life. “I wanted to be like them. I wanted to be like those stars I saw everyday get in to watch movies. But I had belief I will make it.
Every time I saw artistes like Maurice Kirya, Jamal and Tonix walk past me; I knew I would be like them. Whatever they did inspired me and some of them have gone on to become my friends. So, I called myself a rising superstar. Maro, 26, says everyone can make it to be a star. “You either have to have self-belief or not, but we are all stars.
I look around life in the society today and so many youths are affected by difficulties because they don’t believe in themselves. Some of them relate to my story,” he says. Maro adds that he had a tough time convincing his father about a music career because he wanted him to finish school. “One time I abandoned my degree course at the university to pursue music. It was a bad idea and it put me in trouble with my father. But later we decided to respect each other’s decisions and I resumed school,” Maro explains.
The song Rising Star was released a few months back and is already playing to mainstream audiences. It was produced from Big Tunes records, the funk melodies on this song and the unapologetic vocals deliver the message right in your ear.
Not that Ugandans were short of uplifting songs before this release, and its lack of commercial success so far may have been due to its moments of inaccessibility, but it is a good composition. Throughout the song, you can imagine his expression, especially when he sings: “I am not a star, but a rising star.” The ferocity of his expression reminds us to listen: learn and accept reality that man is his own competitor.
There is no option to let this song wash over you. “My relationship with father when I was young meant I feared music. I used to go to concerts where big artistes performed, but I feared music because my father was not about to accept my career move without finishing education,” Maro says.
In August this year, President Yoweri Museveni acknowledged that the main problem affecting the youth in the country and the entire world was unemployment. His statements came after a report in February had indicated that 62% of Ugandan youth were jobless.
The study, which was released by Action Aid International Uganda, noted that high unemployment rate among the youth posed a serious threat to the well- being of society. Like Maro, another best solution for the youth would be to tap into their talents and pursue them for greater feats in life. Besides Rising Star, Maro has released a number of songs that add contextual colour to his small discography bravado. Songs like Why (duet with Gravity Omutujju), Musaayi, Genda Ewamwe and Omuwesi are some of the songs he has released.
His determination to get to the top give his fanbase hope and a sense that he’s determined above all else to follow his own creative instincts. “Maro is a fantastic person to work with. He has the energy got from his past experience. It is as if he wants to forget his past through scaling heights in the music industry. His song Rising Star speaks to many youth out there with dreams.
Through his story of being a rising star, many youth will relate to it,” his manager, Xavier Mayanja says. Susan Namwase, a university student says: “I don’t know much about Maro as an artiste, but I found the song, Rising Star nice, especially the video where he shows artistes he looks up to. It is until you listen to the lyrics carefully that you pick the message. It is like he was telling all youth never to give up on life.”
Who is Maro?
Maro was born in May 7, 1987 in Nsambya Barracks, Kampala. His mother passed way when he was three years old, and so Maro was raised by a single father. Maro attended Buphadhengo Primary School, Kamuli, Light College Mukono before finishing his A’Level in Buloba High School. Currently he is at Makerere University pursuing a degree in development studies.
All those who have not made in life should have faith and know they are rising stars. The sky is always the limit. The youth should know there is miracle in self-belief
INSPIRED BY MARO's SONGS
Arafat Ndugga, a music critic
I liked the creativity in the lyrics. The production was great — there was vocal balance. Maro also had a good message for young people by telling them they too can achieve big if they work hard
Jafar Ocom, a student
I liked this song the first time I listened to it for its message. I will not say I am a big fan of Maro, but I liked this particular song because it inspires us to have self belief
Lawrence Ogwal, a fashion critic
First of all, it is an inspirational song. Maro sees himself making it in the future; he does not rush to say he is a star. In the song, he wishes his late mum was still alive to see him doing great things
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org You can also nominate via SMS type MUSIC (leave space) name of artiste (space) song and send to 8338. Alternatively, write to the Features Editor, P.O. Box 9815, Kampala or drop your nominations at any of the Vision Group bureau offices countrywide. Nominations close on January 15, 2014
To qualify for nomination, the musician should meet the following requirements;
❑ Be Ugandan
❑ The composition must be original and not pirated
❑ Have innovatively used their musical composition to convey deliberate messages advocating for positive change
❑ Have used their music to mobilise the masses to demand for accountability or for a community cause.
❑ Used their music to highlight societal ills like corruption, poor governance, poor service delivery, oppression and human rights abuses