By Ahmad Muto
First, the setup of the stage for the Conversession is hard to miss, choice of articles on the set – a pool table right below the wide-angle camera lens, the hand painted portraits on the wall complimented by the Tusker Malt green illuminating the stage, completing the aesthetics.
Before her performance, her Swangz Avenue bosses – Julius Kyazze and Benon Mugumbya – with their team are seen making sure the equipment are set while Nwagi sits composed with a microphone waiting to be fed with vocals.
In a rather uncharacteristic tone, she delves into some of the issues she normally would not speak about, and forcing her to would likely earn you a harsh reply like the Namuwongo-based reporter or get that smartphone smashed like that of the rabid fan who tried to steal a video of her nether regions while on stage.
She opens the set of her acoustic medley with Show me just moments after talking about her former house help who threw her onto a PR landmine. According to her, she was judged without telling her side of the story. Her vocal range and composure performing it showed the song has grown on her like it has on her fans. At this point the camera angles – wide angle and close ups – plus the movements and transitions give it the feel of a movie. And the sound quality, well, exceptional!
Then she takes a moment off the session to converse before she performs Musawo. According to her, it is the one song that unlocked her confidence. She told Kyazze she wanted to dance and sing at the same time. Well, the result was a hit. The irony is, she says it was her ‘breakthrough.’ How long have you known Nwagi? The song was released in 2016. And no, I am not implying anything. She followed it up with Matala and honestly if you watched the video, she had unlocked body positivity given the dances. She crowned her conversession with Sasi Kunyama.
Worth noting also is the band, especially the guy on the saxophone. He never lied on his CV. He delivered. And moments where it was just him with Nwagi in frame felt like Whitney Houston with her sax guy in South Africa in 1994, performing I will always love you to a sold-out Elis park. By the way, I saw a bottle of Tusker Malt Lager emptied in a glass in front of one of the band mates, and behind Nwagi. I did not know such intense moments mixed with tanking up!
I only wish the session was longer. I had just started watching when it ended. But, since this was the premier session and more is yet to come, giving artistes a platform to let fans into their musical journey, there is a lot to look forward to.