By Hussein Kiganda
We all woke up to this word, “muyayu” by socialite called Bad Black and we wondered what she really meant. None of us knew that a young innovator out there would turn it into a song and it would earn him a breakthrough.
Well, while other singers like Mun G and Crysto Panda were looking for what slogans to turn to hit songs, singer Mudra joined the bandwagon with the song, “Muyayu”
Mudra, whose real name is Alpha Ssebunya, is anything but a muyayu. He is reclusive and camera shy. This interview almost ended at inception as he was uneasy facing the lenses.
Born in 1995, Mudra comes from a large Muslim family in Kawempe. Born to Abdullah Kasule and Azzizah Kasule, he grew up under the impression that education is the key, as preached by his parents. True to their asking, he studied right up to Makerere University Business School (MUBS) in Nakawa where he pursued international business.
Unknown to his parents, Mudra was actually naughty in school. At home, he was the humble and obedient son. At school, he was belligerent, but in a ‘good way’. It never spared him the canes. To escape it all, he joined student leadership.
“As a prefect at Kawempe Muslim school, I enjoyed many privileges, including sharing food with teachers. That tamed me. What I hated in school was too much of caning and punishments for funny reasons. They would lock you in the dormitory and then send you home to bring a sack of cement and other things, “he narrates. Did it trigger the ‘rebellious streak in him? He is not certain.
Mudra started running for some side jobs when he was still in School. He was a sales executive in a company called Tian Tang where he channeled his savings into his music.
After school he left home and lived with friends and cousins. During his hustle, he used to embrace every job that came his way.
He narrates that he deeply got into the music industry when some friends asked him to write songs for different artistes like Sheebah.
“My friend called Mandela was Sheebah’s cousin so he asked me to write a song for her. It boosted my confidence. Another friend (Chatta Rama) lent me money to go and record in studio,” he recalls.
Mudra took bold and risky decisions to achieve his dream. He stood released “muyayu” without his management’s decision and sold his only car, he had hustled for, to push his music.
“After recording a number of songs, I released muyayu yet my management didn’t want me to release it. They were angry. It’s good it hit at last. I remember I also sold my only car to release one of my songs called “bar love”. The song didn’t make a hit and this was a great disappointment…,”he narrates.
Even if things fell apart, he didn’t fall back in spirit. His friends like Rayan Omi kept on pushing him. He sang one or two songs every year. He thought whatever song he sang would be a hit but it never was until he sang “muyayu” which rocked.
When he wanted to quit music
Before muyayu caught up, he had started writing songs for Karole Kasita. Because he was now a famous writer, he tried making collabos thinking that that was the only opportunity he had to move further but this didn’t work out for him.
“I decided to make some collabos with the hottest artists that time. I thought if I did collabos, it would take me far. I did “Boss” with Karole Kasita and another song with Cindy which never went as expected.
With hindsight, he thinks the songs were poorly marketed. “ I nearly quit music. My friend was reassuring. He told me to soldier on. When muyayu broke through, it was the highlight of my career,”
Mudra hails Bad Black’s publicity when she came out and told the public that he was under her management. He says he had not joined her management but rather he had gone to ask her to use her word muyayu in his song but this was perceived differently.
Mudra says that the most challenging part in music is money and promotion. He says that everything needs money starting from studio to video production. He says that during promotion, every one wants money and branding too takes it.
He sings the same song of Naira Ali that there are many people who naturally fought to bring him down but he still succeeded. He supports Naira’s statement.
“There are some people who naturally do not like you and try to bring you down. Even if Naira Ali doesn’t speak about it, it happens and it’s the order of the day here. There are even some people who tell you physically to your face that they won’t play your music, trying to downsize you…,”he confirms Naira Ali’s statements.
Mudra is happy that he has managed to achieve popularity through music and his family is okay with it. He now sees himself hitting the international radars in five years from now.
Mudra is engaged to a lady, whom he doesn’t want to expose and he is looking forward to marrying her. He says that his lover is okay with him being an artiste despite criticism that artistes don’t make successful marriages.
Mudra was also affected by the Covid19 pandemic and he thinks it limited his income although he hails it for having geared his breakthrough.
“The pandemic has given me my breakthrough. It is during this time that my song hit. It has also limited my income because I am not working…,”he says.
Mudra supports all old artistes who go to Salim Saleh to get cash because he believes they worked for it by developing the industry.
“Let them get that money because they worked hard to see that this industry stands. Only that as they solicit for theirs, they should also request that some good reforms in the industry be done, for example the copyright and deal for us how to collaborate with international artistes to compete internationally…,”
He says he doesn’t fall in any association but would join the Uganda Musicians Association (UMA) because it doesn’t discriminate between the Superstars and the fresh ones. He says he has not yet received any Covid19 relief from anyone but has always given out help to those around him.
He hopes that when the industry is open to holding shows, he will be rocking it hard and asks his fans to keep supporting him.