Segawa entered the entertainment industry in 1978. He was part of the popular Mirembe Family Choir. Segawa has since composed songs for different schools, taught music, formed his own band, the Wrens, and in 2013, he was contracted by the United Nations to work with South Sudanese artistes on music about the youth and disarmament.
The Sunrise’s Bayan Nalubwama had a discussion with him ahead of the concert to mark 35 years of his SookaOmunoonye song. The concert will be at the National Theatre on December 4, 2018. Below are excerpts:
QnYou come from a family that loves to sing. Are your siblings still into music?
Ans: My brothers and sisters are focused on other professional jobs. Some are teachers and others are doctors, though some of them retired. But we still do music especially in church and some family gatherings. We gather and sing for fun.
QnWhat made you stand out and chose music for a career?
Ans: It is a calling. One day I was listening to sacred songs being played on radio. I picked interest and wrote to my sister who was living Nairobi and asked her to get for me the book. After I received the book, I started translating all the songs from English to Luganda. That was in 1979. By 1982, I had successfully translated one hundred and fifty songs. I had also composed my own.
Qn:Of all your songs, why celebrate Sookaomunoonye?
Ans: I celebrate SookaOmunoonye because it has been a wedding anthem for so many years but people don’t know the artiste. The song has its history. I developed the idea as I was searching for my benefactor Mr. Lugobi who had gone in a banana plantation.
I did not know that it would suit weddings until one day when we were at a certain wedding, Maria Nakyagaba a member of the Wrens brought up the idea that we sing the song as the bride stood to search for her groom and since then the rest has been history.
I wrote the song in 1982, did the first recording in 1987, the second recording was done in 1991 in London, the third recording was done in 1997 in Sweden and the latest version was done in 2007 in London.
People used to adjust their wedding dates for SookaOmunoonye and many are still booking me for the song so it deserves celebration.
Qn:Are you still with the Wren’s band?
Ans: Yes, they are still around though some are now focused on other duties. In 1994 during our performances in London four of the fourteen members decided to remain in London for greener pastures. It was a setback but Moses Matovu of the Afrigo band helped me move on. They left in 1994 and in 1996, I was performing with the new wrens.
Qn:Artistes today have very many good songs but these songs get little stay on the top chart. What do you think is the problem?
Ans: I think the problem is with the audience, the media and the artiste. The audience and the media over pester the artiste for new hits. You don’t give them time to think and create something exceptional. Creating a song is a talent that’s God given. Something God given needs time to grow but not to be pushed. If the financial muscle pushes a song, then it is not a hit. Many artistes think that public stunts will keep them in the game which is false.
I blame the artists for yielding to the demands. A gift is never pumped, it is only nourished.
Qn;what do you say of artistes who lose focus after trying out different music genres?
Ans: First of all, artistes should learn to believe in themselves. You can bench mark from an artist but don’t take it whole sale. When you copy another person’s style, you are likely to become an alternative. Focus on what God gave you and make a difference. Be yourself. I am sure there are people who will love and support your uniqueness. You can some time use a different style but don’t lose yourself in it.
And about artistse not believing in themselves, I blame it on the teachers. The teachers have not played their roles. They put on recorded music of their choice not the choice that suits the kids. Children mimic and dance to go down low. They grow up not knowing how to compose, what to sing and how to sing.
Qn: The entertainment industry today is characterized with drugs. What do you think is the problem and what can be done?
Ans: The biggest problem is that young people don’t want to be advised. They only realize things when it is too late. My say is they should listen to advice because whatever the circumstances, they are growing. If they don’t listen, then it is absurd.
They should know that drugs will never enhance music and if it does, then it is temporary. A bad character only creates news to keep you in the lime light for a short while but once media goes away and aging comes in, people will want you in a good character.
The fact is media will leave, you will have children who will not be proud of what you were so stop copying from the western world.
Qn:What is your comment on managers who split with artistes?
Ans:I think managers do not really know their right duties that is why the artistes undermine them. Some artistes think they are a class above the managers. Both parties should respect each other. Managers’ contracts should be well laid out before being signed.
For those who have split please sit and talk so that artistes don’t lose good managers and vice versa.