she has a powerful stage presence
By Titus Serunjogi
and Sebidde Kiryowa
Ugandan singer Titi was named a winner at the second Channel O African Music Video Awards last week. Titit won Best Collaboration Video for Makini, her video with Tanzanian songstress, Jay Dee.
Titi was the only Ugandan artiste named in the 22 categories of the awards held at the Johannesburg Civic Theatre last week. The event was recorded â€˜liveâ€™ and broadcast on April 2 on Channel O.
Makini appears on Titiâ€™s 2004 controversial, but hit album, Nsonyiwa Faza and has received some airplay on local stations. â€œThey had invited me, but I couldnâ€™t go because we are very busy at work (Beat FM). We had just launched,â€ says Titi. Jay Dee, who received the award on behalf of the duo, also won Best African Video, East, for her song Distance. South African artiste Kebelo and Nigerian star, 2Face Idibia, were the big winners at the awards. SMS and online votes poured in from enthusiastic Channel O viewers across the continent, totaling an incredible 75,000 + votes across the 21 catergories.
Titi, in an interview recently, spoke about her new title and why her music is popular:
How do you feel about being the first local artiste to win Africaâ€™s equivalent of the MTV Awards?
Iâ€™m extremely happy, but Iâ€™m not surprised. Even during the cast, we often said our song, Makini, deserved an award.
We had chosen a theme from everyday life. The experience of a woman being neglected by the man who impregnated her is common in Africa. If it is not affecting you, then it is affecting your neighbour. It sounds real in a womanâ€™s ears as well as a manâ€™s.
Weâ€™d sung in both Swahili and Luganda so as to appeal to cultures across East Africa.
Iâ€™m dedicating this award to the late Tony Sengo. He taught me when to laugh and when to cry in a song, and how to affect the mood of the fans. I donâ€™t deserve to be the only winner. I believe that if Bobi Wine had submitted his Ladiesâ€™ Wine video, or Menton Krono his Oli Mukazi, they too would have scooped some awards.
Your music rides across many genres: Zouk, Socca, Ragga, Rumbaâ€¦Ever get scared of critics not knowing where to put it?
If I was worried about that, I wouldnâ€™t have joined KADS Band in the first place. I know most people understand what Iâ€™m saying in my music. Children simply dance to the rhythms, they do not have to grasp the underlying meaning because it may be vulgar. My aim is to be diverse; to reach out to everybody using instruments and a voice.
Speaking of diversity, a lot of people complain that your message isn't as varied as it should be. Why is there so much emphasis on love affairs and romance?
Love is varied within itself. Everybody wants to be loved. But I also let people know that love is not all a bed of roses. I think it is also important to let people know what happens behind closed doors. In Makanika Wange, a housewife pleads for more love and attention from her husband.
I wrote Nsonyiwa Faaza after I had failed to break up with my suitor. It was a tough decision, but I wrote what I felt.
I donâ€™t know about drugs and street fights. But I think that few people will ever enjoy the idea.
In Makini, you were the woman who stole anotherâ€™s man. Do you do the same in real life?
Give me a few more years and Iâ€™ll tell you.
Youâ€™re such an ardent fan of Miriam Makeba, Brenda Fassie and Yvonne Chaka Chaka. Why do you idolise them?
Iâ€™m training hard to make a hoarse voice like the late Brenda Fassieâ€™s. I adore Yvonne Chaka Chaka because she has a powerful stage presence. Miriam Makebaâ€™s voice wouldnâ€™t sell a Luganda or Swahili lyric. But if only I could make timeless songs just like she did!
Titi scoops African Music video Award