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Thursday, 25 March 2010

A Moment With Myco Chris

I first saw Myco Chris in 1999 at Kansanga Miracle Centre as he performed R. Kelly’s hit song, “I Believe I Can Fly.” I was amazed by his singing and performing acts. Over time, I have seen him metamorphose from a regular gospel singer to an established international artist.
After several failed attempts, I eventually met this singer, song writer, producer and entrepreneur at his home in New Addington, South London where he opened up to me about his music career.

[Ivan Kyeyune] Myco tell me about your early life?

[Myco Chris] I was born in Kampala, Uganda, on 12th Jan. I am now 27years old and I am the last born of 10 children. I am the only boy left right now; I lost a few of my brothers. I grew up in Mengo and went to Mengo Primary School, Namilyango College, Ndejje SS and then Old Kampala S.S.S before coming to the UK for my higher education at Croydon College (Diploma in Sound Engineering). I later went to Westminster University College for a Bachelor of Science in IT Engineering.

[IK] Who were some of your influences?

[MC]My Mother has always been my biggest Influence from the young age of seven. She never stopped me from going into music and always encouraged me. Others from the music world are Joe & Michael Jackson. I have listened to their music for a long time. From Africa it has been Philly Lutaaya & Frank Mbalire. However I didn’t fall so much in love with music from my country. I preferred to listen to Jodeci and H-Town.

[IK]When did you realise music will be your career?

[MC]I think at the age of 13 when I formed my first group. We went to different schools. I could write to my band mates and tell them how to dress.
The first time we stepped on stage we were young but we had dressed up like Boyz II Men. After getting ourselves oversized suits from Owino market, we found ourselves in the news papers the next day.
A week later when we returned to school, I was like a celebrity. Everyone was talking about me; I said to myself I am going to do this for the rest of my life.

[IK]Is the music paying off?

[MC] I have more love for music than for the money. Ivan put it this way I have been married to music for three quarters of my life. I have been feeding this music so much that it hasn’t paid back as it would but I just do it for the love. It is in me even, after going to school I just can’t escape it.

[IK]Describe your journey from obscurity to fame.

[MC] I started singing at the age of 9 in St Paul Namirembe Cathedral. I became head chorister at 11. After the leadership changed in the choir I quit church music and I started singing secular music with Shanks Vivi Dee. I then formed a group called Extra Grim with Chagga, Omwana Isaac, Rutty Martin but we disassociated in 1997 and went into our solo careers. I hit Sabrina’s pub where we did Karaoke.
I became born again in 1999 as I went to bid farewell to my friends in Kansanga Miracle Centre Choir who were coming to the UK, I was challenged by the way I was received by the Senior Pastor Kiwewesi.
Then I found myself singing in the choir before I confessed, I literally got born again on the pulpit
When I came to the UK I always had a dream of finding someone who could produce my music but no one could. I then signed a 5 year contract with EMI as a songwriter because I needed work to do and they needed people who could write world music.
The contract had a clause that stopped me from singing mainstream music. After my contract ended I bought my studio equipment and I started producing my music but because I didn’t have a proper record deal I ended up selling the songs to groups like Big Brother, Skillz, Deburg.
When I didn’t have a deal I embarked on an African project and I was going to do a song “Zino Enaku” with Nice from Nigeria which I ended up doing with Radio and Weasel after accidentally coming to my studio to do another song.

[IK]How do you describe your music to people?

[MC] My slogan is music from the soul or music from the heart. I don’t write from imagination. Anything happening in my life or people around me I put it in the song. Zino Enaku was written in 2002 after staying with my friend whose wife had given birth and they asked me to leave as they didn’t have enough room for me.
I tried a few people but I was let down and being spring I ended up sleeping in Charlton Park for 9 nights. I could stay on the Bus 53 until midnight then walk back to the park and sleep on the benches with my bed sheet.
On the 5th day I was heartbroken when I rang up my cousin who is married to a pastor and narrated to her my experience in the park. She refused to take me in despite having stayed with my family while in Uganda. So I started writing “Zino Enaku”

[IK] What’s the story behind Kabitte Wange?

[MC] “Kabitte Wange” was written for someone who is very special to me.

[IK]What are your music career goals?

[MC] Right from the age of 15 when I first watched the Grammy awards, I have dreamt of winning one. I have been nominated at Beffta (Black Entertainment, Film, Fashion, Television and Arts) awards 2009, Africa awards UK based 2009 and UK unsigned awards 2008.
I would also like to have an impact on Ugandan Music, My music is much influenced by the west, but I had to turn Western RnB into Luganda. I want to press on until i get into the Real Main stream of music.

[IK]As an already an established artist, How do you define the term success?

[MC] I don’t think I have attained success as yet. My journey has just started and I believe am just laying the foundation.

[IK] What has the music industry taught you both personally and professionally?

[MC] I have been able to meet important people in my career. One of the most humbling moments was when I met Nelson Mandela at his Birthday Party 2009 in Hyde Park London. Although on this function I met other celebrities like Will Smith, Amy Winehouse, Chris Trucker, Leona Lewis it wasn’t as massive as meeting Mandela.
I learnt the journey of Mandela and learnt humility is the key to success. The more humble you are the more successful you can become. The problem with today’s upcoming artists is that they think they are mini-gods or gurus.
I have learnt music is just an office you step in but you must remember that you don’t live there. It should be separate from home. I have worked on separating the two and not let one get into another.

[IK]In this era of social media, as an established artist, you are perceived as a sex symbol, with hordes of young female fans. How do you deal with this pressure?

[MC] I only go out on purpose; I just don’t go out for fun. I believe fun is in me and not out of me. If I want to have fun I come home and play video games on my Play station. Secondly I don’t surround myself with anyone. Thirdly I have people I report to or account to.

[IK]Like your Parents?

[MC] Not really, but my Pastors.

[IK] With fame, comes responsibilities as a musician you are automatically termed as a role model. How are you trying to influence the coming generation?

[MC] First and foremost I don’t curse in my music, in my studio if any artists want to record music there they should not curse, no smoking no drinking and no honeys.
I have always tried to pass on information to the youngsters who come my way. In my new single “Nyikira “I encourage the young generation to work hard. No matter what status you are, you can always be what you have always dreamt to be.

[IK] Don’t you think is there a conflict between your faith and the music you sing?

[MC] I took my time to read the Bible and I didn’t come across anything that condemns singing about love. If you read the book of Songs of Solomon it has more love stories than any other book ever written. It describes love and the problem in church is that we think being a Christian musician implies singing about gospel music only. I think otherwise.

[IK] Do you have plans to ever release Christian themed music?

[MC] My next album is called Phase Two and it has so many Bible related songs and it is basically my experience with the Almighty.

[IK] What do you think of the scandals that are rocking the Ugandan music industry e.g. Bebe Cool's shooting, Weasel and Radio fighting with Chameleon Etc?

[MC] It is the motive and who you want to be. People choose who they want to be. The bible says even a fool is judged wise when they speak less. But a fool can put himself in danger when they start talking.

[IK] How have u managed to stay out of trouble?

[MC] God. I have worked on myself according to what the bible says. I believe that without obeying the word of God I would have been something else.

[IK] Which African country do you think has the most vibrant music scene and why?

[MC] Definitely Uganda and not because I come from there, I think we have tried to experiment different types of music from the World. However Nigeria can’t be missed out as well

[IK] Do you ever plan to go back to Uganda and settle there or at least have a concert?

[MC] I have sent studio equipment to Kampala and I have plans to set up a music school for people who want to produce music. Together with my friends in Europe I am sure it will be one of a kind very soon in Kampala.

[IK] Which musician would you love to do a collaboration with and why?

[MC] If I work harder it would be Stevie Wonder or Joe Thomas.

[IK]What about in Uganda?

[MC] I would prefer singing with the friends I started with when I was young.

[IK] Do you have a crush on any celebrity? If so which one?

[MC] I had a serious crush on Halle Berry way back but not anymore.

[IK] Are you dating, engaged, or married?
He is very shy while answering this and gives me no straight answer.
[MC] I am off the shelf

[IK] What is your opinion of the gay rights debate going on in Uganda?

[MC] It is hard as you know we live in the Western world, but I do believe everyone has flaws.

[IK]Give me your Christian point of view Myco.

[MC] I don’t necessary think two wrongs make a Right. Killing one because of their sexuality is a Sin as well. The Bible says “Don’t Kill”. We all have flaws the best thing is to love those people with the love of Christ because of their weakness. Jesus came for the sinners and I do believe in the eyes of God sin is sin and there is no greater sin. I don’t have issues with anyone as long as they acknowledge that there is God who will reconcile. It is only God who has the power to change lives and by killing gay people I don’t think we do ourselves or God Justice.

[IK] Finally what’s your message to your fans?

[MC] If you have a heart, love someone and if you have a heart bigger enough love everybody. Love can change this world and if we can love each other then we can create an atmosphere we desire to live in.

Interview by Ivan L Kyeyune – Photos by Alex Quest

1 comment:

  1. Dear Ivan,

    I liked what you accomplished with this article.

    I got to know more about Myco Chris from your in-depth questions to him.

    Thanks for the good work and keep it up.