He has hit the music scene on a mountain of hype and swagger, the hideous “Mpaka Mubali” name notwithstanding. With songs like Balya Mere, Wifie, and Wooli off his Journey album, he has all the ingredients of emerging from the lockdown as a force to reckon with. Paul Waiswa spoke to him.
Q: The name “Mpaka Mubali” sounds off for a musician your age. It sounds like a band name from a Congolese orchestra. Do you hail from there?
A: No way. I am from Buganda. The name is a combination of both my surnames and family name. Our family name is Mpagi and my real name is Kajubi. I twisted them to come up with the Mpaka Mubali name.
Q: Who is Mpaka Mubali then? Apart from the few songs, what is your claim to fame?
A: Fame is a process. I am not famous yet, but I have all the potential. I am a simple man, who lives and breathes music. I am a city born who is determined to map his way to the top.
Q: Tell us your music journey?
I will not lie that I started singing in Church or the school choir. Mine was accidental. For one odd reason, it is Bobi Wine who told me I could sing. A brother of mine was shooting Bobi Wine and Kabaaya’s song, Ayagala balaasi and I tagged along. While on set, I also tried to echo the lyrics. Bobi Wine heard me and told me to give music a shot. I never looked back.
Q: Did you hit studio immediately?
Yes. I went to Henry Kiwuuwa’s Grayce Records in Kanyanya, but it never went well. He said whereas I had the vocals, I was lyrically immature. I gave up.
Q: Several years later, you are back with an album “Journey”. Tell us about it.
Journey is a simple album. I call it journey because this is my first release. My friends kept encouraging me to put the nice stuff out. It is all about my music journey.
Q: Don’t you think singing in English limits your local fan base back here in Uganda?
I blend both. . Luganda is my native language but I am comfortable with English. I know Ugandans love English songs so there is no problem. Besides, good music is good music.
Q: Getting a breakthrough song to play on the airwaves is another task. How easy or hard has it been for you?
It is quite hard if your music doesn’t speak for its self. I’ve been lucky that my music was liked, especially the song Wifey. To be honest, I feel I have arrived. It feels good to know that people out the can call requesting for your song. It is pushing me to work extra hard.
Q: Is Music your full time job? What exactly do you do?
I don’t do music full time. I haven’t gotten to that level. I have a full time job but music brings in something to my pockets.
Q: Who usually writes and produces your music?
I have a team. There is Ray Signature, Xpan, Tonny Houls , Chris Ben, Inno classic boy and many more. I also write most of my songs. For producers I work with Dan Magic, producer Kayce, Kiwuuwa, XPan, Tony Houls and many more.
Q: Today, there is too much competition in the industry; do you think there is space for you?
Space for me? I am bigger than that space. I am doing my thing. I am not about to compete with any one.
Q: Who can you attribute your music success to so far?
A: Myself, my wife my big brother Denis of Centrix films, Hillary my manager, Chris Sempala another Manager, My father and son.. the list is endless. I don’t know how I can thank these guys.
Who has been financing your music career?
I finance my career and sometimes, my managers come in to supplement.
Q: Does your music have a shelf life? How different is your music from bubble gum stuff?
It has a very long shelf life. I put a lot of thought in my music to make it different delving in real life issues.
Q: Most musicians do drugs as a way of acceptance among peers. Have you followed the bandwagon?
Man, I don’t do drugs and I have never taken any drug.
Q: What challenges do you face today in the industry?
A: Challenges are very many. Everyone is looking for money and along the way you get to meet fake people.
Q: Which female artiste would you want to do a collabo with?
A: Winnie Nwagi
Q: When you look back, don’t you think venturing into music is waste of time especially during lockdown?
Not wasting any time. Some of us have invested so much money and not got any penny back. Good music lives forever. We shall soon smile and recoup the money when the industry re opens.
How are you promoting your music while away from UG?
I have promoters down here. They are doing a good job. I have Black Magic on board and we are good.
As you grow big musically, do you have hopes of returning to settle and develop your career?
That is my dream. To be honest I am looking forward to this.
Your next plans.
Getting married, grow my music career and giving my fans more and more songs.