Ahead of Jah Jehovah Concert, it became absolutely necessary to get a hold of Holy Keane for a few minutes. Our intention was to ask him all the questions that he probably hasn’t been asked before. So, meeting at Kampala’s Watoto Church Downtown and getting to a quiet restaurant, we were ready to dive in to our questions. Read our interview here.
Why did it take you so long to do an album release?
Uhhhmm… The songs were few and they could not make an album. How could you do two songs and then you launch? That’s not good. It is not healthy for a musician. I needed to kukakasa (prove to) my people that I have quality content for them and that I am versatile. Some only knew me for Jah Jehovah
True. In fact, we have noticed something. The Holy Keane Amooti of ‘Jah Jehovah’ and ‘messiah’ is different from the Holy Keane Amooti of now. What do you say about that?
All those are ingredients in me. It is still the same Holy Keane but then I have been twisting styles and I just want people to not get tired of me. If it is Dancehall alone…… Dancehall has its own fans, ragga has its own fans, Electro Dance Music (EDM) like Love Love…. and then there is pop, Milele is Afropop, there’s reggae music like King and Queen, Lover’s Rock, Niiwe. In AM to PM, I tried to slow down so that people can understand the words so that I get a wider audience.
You have two songs with Mbote, how did you meet him?
Mbote! I have known Mbote since 2008. I used to stay in Kasese by that time. He used to come from Ishaka. He was a student at kampala International University campus in Ishaka. We met and I just liked the talent in him. He is so good at creating melodies, writing songs and he was very creative. After a while, we again met with Mbote in 2011 and we did the song Milele together.
Where did you meet again this time?
We kept in touch. He’s Kenyan but we stayed in touch through social media, mainly Facebook. We met in 2011 and did a song at Big Tunes studio with Producer Johnie. So he came over from Kenya. I had a melody which had been ringing in my head for months. By that time Messiah was out, Jah was out and I wanted something that wouldn’t look like the other two. I wanted something else. I kept listening to EDM music and pop music and integrating it. So, I got the melody. (He demonstrates by singing Milele). Later on things happened. He came up with the words. (Holy Keane sings the chorus again.)
Okay. So, your performances are very energetic. When you are performing, what goes through your head?
In my mind! I lose myself. I even don’t like watching myself. (Why?) After performing I feel like…. “Oh that was not me. I went too overboard.” When I perform, the first thing I imagine is God in the audience. I imagine myself being in heaven and God has told me to come and perform for him. So, I really give it my best. After that, I come back to my senses because during the performance, it is worship. People see me jumping and think it is just jumping. I am not just jumping. I am worshiping God because He has given me strength. He has given me the bones. Even if they break….. He is the owner of the bones. He is The Lord and Him being Lord means He is the source. All things belong to Him and I am just his tool.
When performing, how do you make sure you are in sync with the beats, the audience, the DJ and God at the same time?
The only thing you need to do is just synch with God. Once you are in sync with God, the rest will follow. I don’t worry so much about the audience. For example, if I am to shout, I don’t worry if there is a very beautiful girl watching. I open my mouth for good vocals to come out. Then after that, I am like “Eh, I over opened my mouth.”
And then, there is a teacher who taught me at Makerere University that, “if I want you to cry, I will cry first.” If I want you to jump, I will jump first. If I want you to get into what I am feeling, I first express what I am feeling, then you will feel it. So, when I get the microphone, I lose myself so that I am totally lost and I capture you….. You get into what I am feeling and then we move together.
Who are some of the Ugandan Artistes you want to collaborate with?
First of all, Kingsley and Phila. The two of them on one track and me as the third person. Those guys are good. Those guys are bad.
What about Kingsley and Phila do you like?
We almost do the same thing. If you listen to their music and their lyrical content…… man, those guys are deep….. very deep. They are good and they have good melodies, beats…. Yes..
Okay, which other artistes would you like to collaborate with?
I did a collaboration with Levixone. (Is it out?) No! Not yet. I have a collaboration with Netron. The other people I would really love to work with are Sandra Suubi. She has that stage presence. When stands and begins singing, you will keep your eyes open. Then there is Solome and Jennifer Mirembe. I like her style.
Papa San, Stitchie, Omario….. (What’s your best Papa San album?) Man, whatever that guy brings I totally like. I also like Positive. That guy is good. Then there is Jael who did a song with Papa San.
How do you write your songs?
Sometimes it is melody. I get a melody or I hear something and I add something to it. Sometimes it is a scripture or anything that influences me, like looking at something and it moves me. Or when I am alone. In most cases they are melodies. I am walking, a melody hits me and I record it on my phone then I later write something over it. Sometimes it is a sermon.
When you write a song, do you know there and then that it is going to be a big hit?
Yeah. (He smiles and continues.) I can know. From the melody, then to the lyrics, and then the simplicity, the poetry in it, giving someone what to think……. I can know that’s a hit song. I normally use repetition. I repeat my first verse as the third verse and that clearly helps separate verse one from verse two. My chorus is repetitive because I want you to get it very fast even if you listen to it only once.
What do you want to promise us for the concert?
I wouldn’t want to promise anyone anything. Just come and see what will happen. You will get surprised. I expect lots of people especially the youth. It is going to be one of a kind. People have never seen me on stage for all that long. I am believing Jesus to move. I am believing God to move. It is my first ever. All the glory will be to His name. I had never thought about a concert. I had only one song. After that one song, I thought maybe, I couldn’t do any other thing. It is like having one son and tomorrow you don’t know what will happen. After producing that, I asked myself where the others songs would come from. Actually, I am celebrating five years in ministry and five years with my fans.
Any final words?
I call upon everyone who is reading this. Come and let’s celebrate five years in ministry. Come out and let us launch my first album. Also, expect Wilson Bugembe, Jackie Senyonjo, G Way, Coopy Bly, Ruyonga, Robinsan…. eh… The list is long. I thank God who has given me favor. People have supported me.
We thanked him for sparing time from his busy schedule to meet us. That’s how it went down. We thank you for reading.