SINCE the turn of the century, there has been a renaissance in local music. Today, our local musicians are millionaires.
But while we celebrate the music and idolise the individuals who sing it, little is known about the men who make it; the beat masters who spend sleepless nights putting rhythm to tune, giving a song shape; the ones who direct the voices and sometimes write the songs â€” the music producers. Joseph Ssemutooke brings you the men behind the hottest hits that you hear on your radio today.
HENRY KIWUUWA, GRAYCE STUDIOS
Kiva Kuki, Onzijjukiranga Mukama, Anfukula (Grace Nakimera)
Kantambule, (Diana, Juliana)
Nakutamani (Radio and Weasel)
Wampisa (Aziz Azion)
Nategedde (Eddie Kenzo)
Sivyo Ndivyo, Befuula (Chameleone)
Known as Steve Jeanâ€™s young brother, Henry Kiwuuwa has also been around for some time and continues to make hit music.
Winner of the Producer of the Year PAM Award in 2007, he has largely been behind fast-rising star Grace Nakimeraâ€™s music. His main forte is Afro-beat and R&B â€“ like the one Grace does, though, like most producers, he also works with other genres.
DR TEE (TRAVIS KAZIBWE), DIVINE LIFE STUDIOS
Kakondo (Angela Kalule)
Taaliyo (Mesach Ssemakula)
Akamasu (Sophie Nantongo)
Tulepuke (Mathias Walukagga)
Ticket (Haruna Mubiru)
Land Lord (Ronald Mayinja)
He has produced nearly every song that wordsmith and singer Silver Kyagulanyi has sung.
Though more popularly known as a singer himself, of late, Dr. Teeâ€™s forte is production. Long before he made his name on stage, he was already producing other singersâ€™ voices in Kasiwukira Studios where he started out, having attained a degree in music production from a Danish university in 1997.
He is currently one of the most sought after and respected producers in the industry, especially with Afro pop (band music) working with the entire Eagles Production Band, Sophie Nantongo, Mathias Walukagga and the like.
Last year, Dr. Tee set up his own studio called Divine Life Records. He also trains artistes on vocal performance, helping them write songs, giving back-up vocals to the recording and can play all studio instruments.
WASHINGTON, MAGIC RECORDS
Kuku, Potential, Ole, Kidula, Ngeenda Mu Maaso (Mosey Radio and Weasle)
Ayokya Yokya, One and Only Lover (Cindy)
Fire Anthem (Bebe Cool)
His real name is David Ebangit. He started out with Paddy Kayiwa and Tony Houls in the Kamwokya-based Dream Studios. Washington mastered his trade before leaving in 2007.
Today, he runs his own studio, Magic Records, located in Makindye. Previously known for making hits for Bebe Cool, he mostly works with Mozey and Radio of the Goodlyfe Crew. He is also Cindyâ€™s major producer. He is good at producing Afro Dancehall.
He takes after Steve Jean for being known outside Uganda, having worked with such regionally known artistes as Nameless, Red San and Necessary Noise.
RINEX, D RECORDS
Bogolako, Kasepiki (Bebe Cool)
Abizaayo (Sweet Kid)
Wind Up, (Henry Tigan)
Gwe Ansanira, (Iryn Namubiru, Sweet Kid)
At 21 years of age, Rinex, (Michael Unegiu), is the youngest producer in the country. He started out producing at Mesach Ssemakulaâ€™s Khan Records, from where he joined D Records owned by Sweet Kid.
Rinex has produced two of the biggest songs of the season for singer Bebe Cool, Boom Back (Bogolako) and Kasepiki. He is also Sweet Kidâ€™s new producer and one of the currently most sought after producers with soon-to-be released projects with David Lutalo of the Kapapala fame, Henry Tigan and Ceasar man among others.
PATO AND AYDEE AKA NGONI,
Sirimba (Ngoni, JayDee)
Nina Omwami (Ngoni,
Desire Luzinda )
Niongoje (Most recent)
Ye Nze, Njagala Nkutwale, Nze Wuwo (Toniks)
Omulungi Mu Bangi (Chilli Gals)
Super Star (Diamond Oscar)
Pato and Eddie came into the industry in 2003 as both singers and producers and became immediate hits.
Steve Jean was the leading R&B producer at the time, but when Ngoni established their Goodenuff Studios in Makindye in 2004, the industry got another respected R&B production house.
That current hot-iron producer Benon of Swangz Avenue also cut his teeth at Goodenuff, as did a host of many lesser producers. In 2008, Ngoni decided to go full-time into production and do less of singing. They have since worked with the likes of Toniks, Chilli Galz, Desire Luzinda and City Limit Crew.
BENON, SWANGZ AVENUE
Mr DJ, Mr Right, Ability, Nyumbani, (Mosey Radio and Weasle)
Mukyamu, Bwekiri, Silubala, Nsula Olunyiriri (Raba Daba)
Nkumila Omukwano (Aziz Azion)
Where U Are (Blu3 feat Radio and Weasle)
Abeera Wa (Sweet Kid )
Benon Mugumya is arguably the hottest producer in the land today.
Formerly one half of the singing duo â€” Benon and Vamposs, Benon is the producer behind a chunk of the hit-music Ugandans have loved in the last 18 or so months.
He is largely credited for the fresh, R&B-infused sound that has been popularised by such artistes as Mozey Radio & Weasle, GNL, Raba Daba and Aziz Azion. The sound has redefined local music and taken it even closer to younger listeners.
Swangz Avenue, which opened in 2007, got its name from Muswangali Zone along Salaama Road in Makindye, where it started. Benon has been at it for seven years now.
He was primarily taught the craft by Ngoni at Goodenuff, back in the day when he was more of a singer, and also had a short stint at Steve Jeanâ€™s Fenon Records.
Bad Man From Kamwokya (Bobi Wine)
Siyinayo Mulala (Sweet Kid, Juliana)
Kiba Kibi (Sweet Kid, Bebe Cool)
Beau (Priscilla Kalibbala)
Ngoma Nene (Rocky Giant)
Early Man (Sylvia Namugenyi)
Allan Okia was the last winner of the PAM Awards Producer of the Year accolade in 2008, before the awards went into oblivion last year.
A seasoned producer with many years in the industry and hits under his belt, he was the lead producer at â€˜Dâ€™ Records from 2003 to late 2008, where he spun hits for Sweet Kid, Bebe Cool, Navio, Rocky Giant and Priscilla Kalibbala. Allan left the country in 2008 to undertake a music production course in the US.
He returned late last year to set up his own studio in Makerere-Kavule called O&A Records. He now works with Juliana, Jamal, Rocky Giant and others
BLESS, AFANDE RECORDS
Ina De Dance (Mega Dee, Butchaman, Bobi Wine, Ceaser Man)
Akabadi, Jamaican gal, African Woman (Mega Dee)
180 (Goodlyfe and Red Banton)
Having joined the production business three years ago, he is Mega Deeâ€™s producer and has also produced for Radio and Weasel, Dr. Propa and HB Toxic, among others.
He works at Mega Deeâ€™s Makindye-based Afande Records. Blessâ€™s major fortes are dancehall, ragga and reggae.
TONY HOULS, DREAM STUDIOS
Carolina (Bobi Wine)
Yanimba (Mickie Wine).
The main producer at the Kamwokya-based Dream Studios, Houls is known for his terrific working speed.
He has been known to complete producing a hit in a single day as was the case of Bobi Wineâ€™s Sunda in 2003. As for versatility, he is the reason behind Bobi Wineâ€™s ability to score hits in Dancehall, Afrobeat, Zouk.
The minds that fan lyrics into flame