Meet Uganda’s Song Bird, Esther Nabatanzi

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Esther Nabatanzi

Esther Nabatanzi is a Ugandan singer, vocalist and performer. A journey that started out with her singing in the church choir, before joining Uganda’s Ejazz Band as a lead singer and then venturing into a solo music career, the former Tusker Project Fame contestant remains to be one among the very few that make something of themselves after participating in music contest shows.  An accountant by day and musician by night, Esther who is a Makerere University Graduate with a Bachelors in Business Administration is a gem to watch out for, with the perfect honey voice that would have you want to listen to her all day, every day!

I got the rare chance to interview her and this is how it all went down….

How was the transition from singing in the church choir to secular music and did you get any back lash for it?

I can’t say that it was a transition really because all I do is sing inspirational music, that may not necessarily be gospel nor evil. I  am simply an artist that wants to inspire.While judgement about what I do is inevitable, I haven’t received any backlash from the church- though I am not sure what they (the church) thinks about my music.

What influenced the decision to move from singing in a band to going solo?

I felt like venturing into a solo career would help me build a stronger brand. Also, it is a lot easier to promote an individual other than an entire band. That said though, I still am part of a band with whom I still do live performances with.

Besides building a stronger brand as a solo artist, what other notable differences are there between being a solo artist and being part of a band?

Being a solo artist means you can ably compete in the industry and can be ranked accordingly depending on your individual strengths and weaknesses, other than as a group. Also, you have no choice but to be more keen on your work, as your success or failure all depend on you as an individual rather than shared responsibilities that may sometimes contribute to one being a bit laid back.

How do you strike a balance between being an accountant and an artist without neglecting or putting too much effort on one?

It’s only weekends and evening hours after 5PM when I do music, the rest of the time, I am an accountant. I however have to work extra harder than an artist that does music full time.

You style of music is majorly RNB and mostly on love, why  so and not on any other genre or topic?

I am currently working on my first album, which has love as it’s major theme.The album however consists of other genres of music including Zouk and Reggae. Other topics shall be covered in the next album. It’s all part of a bigger strategy.

How did you choose love as a theme for your first album….why not anything else?

Love is a topic people can easily relate to. Everybody has been loved or faced challenges in love. All other values such as respect, kindness, integrity are as a result of love. Love is everything and it was a perfect way to introduce myself to the world.

You got 2 nominations at this year’s Club Music Video Awards and though you did not win, it’s a major milestone considering you only started singing professionally as a solo artist in 2016. How do you think the nomination will impact your music career or has it done that already?

It was an eye opener. I realized that people are watching me. This means a lot to any upcoming artist. I am more motivated and focused now.

Tubaale and Gwenafunye are currently doing so well. How do you ensure that you don’t get too comfortable with current success so that you are always on top of your game?

I never get too comfortable with anything because successful people keep improving themselves to become better persons. I am definitely not where I want to be so I have to keep working harder.

I listen to your music and can’t help but think of Naava while at it. You guys sound so much alike. Do you ever get that?

Oh yeah. Especially with my first single Gwenafunye. People thought it was Naava’s song. I am however OK with as for first songs people will compare you to existing artists, but this slowly fades with subsequent songs and then they start to see the distinguishing factors between you as artists.

So far, it has been all solo projects you have ventured into…any upcoming music collaborations we should look forward to?

I have some collaborations done already, just not yet released…and no, I’m not telling. It’s going to be a surprise. However, collaborations for me are more about me being able to connect with the artist I am collaborating with as opposed to looking at it as a strategy to become famous. There has to be a strong musical connection for me to be able to collaborate with an artist.

What can we expect from you in the near future?

More inspirational music and a lot of music that is straight from the heart.

Check out Esther’s Tubaale…

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Music Review; Shuga- Mimi Mars

Marianne Mdee popularly referred to as Mimi Mars is a TV presenter at  Tanzania’s TV1 and an MC. This is besides running a web- series titled A Day with Mimi, that gives exclusive access to her life, career and the person that she is. Mimi who is also Vanessa Mdee‘s younger sister is currently signed to the latter’s label, Mdee Music.

“Shuga” which is Mimi’s debut song  is a soulful RNB track produced by HighTable sounds, which is Tanzanian singer Barnaba’s . The audio that is 2 minutes and 58 seconds captures the high that is of being in love without exhausting us with unnecessary details, (considering how love as a topic in music can easily be cliche).

 The beats start of on a mellow note, but picks up as we head to the hook to a faster  danceable tempo, which basically explains how we get into love. It’s all mellow as we start out; we are still getting to know the other person and are uncertain about what to expect, only for it to pick up once we are comfortable with each other. Mimi’s vocals are soulful and richly harmonized, with a convincing tone that would have anyone that cares to listen want to experience the kind of love she is singing about. You can tell that she was aiming for a hit song, with the simple and easily memorable lyrics.

The video was shot in Dar es SalaamTanzania by Hascana who is a leading video director in Tanzania. An outdoor setting by the beach side with the right use of color which besides making the video a pleasant watch compliments the message of love. Mimi’s day make up for the video is subtle, balancing the expressive blonde bob, before transiting to the bold glittered lip with long purple hair that works well with night party life setting. Her different outfits and accessories used for the entire video are chic, expressing her dynamic style and individuality. She certainly has got that star look that would have people interested in her even when she is not releasing music, which is a winning star’s quality.

I personally like the story at the beginning of the song’s video that shows how Mimi and her love interest are concerned and take care of each other, which compliments the song’s message. I would have however preferred to have the personalized story line between her and her love interest progress through the entire video. Probably her noticing her love interest at a corner by himself after a long  day of preparing food for entire party, walking up to him and offering him a massage and food, (I am no music director though). Way better than the party set up that has all these other people unnecessarily whining. (My thoughts though and as I said, I am no music director).

However, as I watched this video,  I could not help but think of Vanessa Mdee’s Closer ( well, not the entire video but conceptually speaking, Mimi has her friends hanging out at night by the beach after which her and her love interest separate themselves for some alone time…see what I mean?).

That said, I absolutely think this is a winning song, both the audio and video. The message is  relate able especially if you are or have been in love, you understand what it’s like to care about someone and for them to reciprocate it and the happiness that comes with it all- real Shuga. Plus, it’s a great way to make a debut into the music industry and I will be expecting so much more from Mimi after this high note that she has started on.

I have to say though that the unfair truth is that people are going to be comparing Mimi to her to sister Vanessa Mdee, considering just how much the latter has done in the music industry for the short span that she has been around. Also, because Vanessa is her mentor. Though I also think that Mimi has what it takes to make a name for herself without having to hang onto her sister’s shadow.

What do you think about this particular song?

Drop me a comment below.

Also, if there is any other song you would like me to review, you have my contacts.