May 1st 2016 marked exactly one year since Solome Basuuta launched herself into the deep end. We are certain that this move, which clearly must have been engineered by God and her friends, saw Solome Basuuta rise to a highly sought-after musician. Her weapon or rather instrument of choice, her voice. Armed with that, she would conquer hearts, win a Rising Star Award, get a Hit Award nomination and make multiple appearances on both the gospel and mainstream stages. Solome Basuuta’s presence easily rubs on to her listeners while she performs or loudly belts out her ‘Walalala’ signature. Why am I doing this, why not take you to the interview that I did with her?
First hold that thought, we have made a mention of Solome Basuuta’s partner in crime, Jenniffer Ochwo. We wanted to call her Manager, PR personnel, publicist, etc but, in the interview she revealed something that many do not understand, the difference between the above terms. For all purposes and intents, we will describe her as a friend to Solome Basuuta, and partner in crime.
Please note that we held this interview awhile back. Also, we start with Solome Basuuta and then Jenniffer Ochwo. Now, without further ado, the interview.
Now, without further ado, the interview.
Q1: Solome, happy anniversary. When you look back to 2010, did you ever imagine a time when you would have grown as an artiste to this point?
Hmmmmm!!!! let’s say 2010 all that I was seeing myself being was working, leading worship, get married, have a family, take care of my husband that’s it. Truthfully I didn’t see me as an “Artiste” so reaching to this point is like I am living someone else’s life. It feels weird, however I am sooooo glad God brought me to this point. I know I am walking my destiny which is very freeing.
Q2: What has been your best moment so far, excluding the maiden concert of course?
Wow I really don’t want to choose but if I have to;
- Blankets and Wine moment was surreal. It was a completely new experience and space for me and I think it challenged me the most. However I had such a great time and I saw what God does in a new way.
- Qwela Junction- DIVAS edition: This second platform showed me what the industry is growing into, a unified industry showcasing Uganda’s enormous talent and I was humbled to be part of such awesomeness on one stage.
Q3: What lessons have you learned along the way?
- Identity- This is very key as an Artiste; Know who you are as a person, know your own personal vision, know what your purpose is in the industry, know your brand, AGAIN I SAY KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!
- Team- We are never Islands so get a team to work with, I knew that I am one of those people that needs a team and that I needed to be managed which happened in an interesting way. This team has supported me through some really tough times and they have taken a load off which I am truly grateful for.
- Think BIG- I have seen that how BIG or SMALL I dream is how far I have gone. I have learnt that it’s up to me to DREAM DREAM BIIIGGGG and God will fulfill those dreams in a very awesome way, of which he actually gives those dreams anyway. All in all DREAM.
- Collaboration- The music industry is evolving and now there is more collaboration. I have learnt we need to unite as artistes and move as one body in order to take this industry to the next level and these platforms like Qwela junction contribute to this enormously.
- Last but not least keep LEARNING and PASSING ON, we are never the best of the best of the best, as an Artiste you need to always be learning because creativity never stops and you need to keep up and continue to be relevant, so wherever you are keep learning and pass on what you have learnt to those around you.
Q4: Given a chance, would you do everything you did in this one year again? That is, do you think you perhaps got out of the comfort zone late or just in time?
I believe I got out at the right time. I felt like this last year was a springboard into the industry and everything happened soooooo fast I had to keep up.
So yes I would do everything again and again and maybe even more.
Q5: We must ask what you envision for the future!
- The near future which is this next year will see music off my album “The Song Love” pushed more in videos, some songs being tweaked in a NEW way and more singing appearances.
- There is also something NEW we are working on for this year but my lips are sealed till further notice.
- The further future will see some NEW music which I am excited about.
The following questions were addressed to Jenniffer Ochwo
Q6: So, as the head of Solome’s core management team, how has it been for you? Share your experience while working with Solome!
Firstly, I prefer to be called her FRIEND.
Well, this has been an exciting experience – with a very STEEP learning curve. As you know, in Uganda there are very few professional Artiste managers. Most people we call ‘manager’ are either personal assistants, promoters, agents, funders, etc. I’ve had to learn a lot on the job, do a lot of reading/research and consult with/ share experiences with a couple of fellow managers in the field who are also learning on the job.
As an artiste Solome is very gifted -which is really helpful by the way. Most people are in awe of her gift. However as a manager, I can’t allow her to settle, I’ve had to look beyond talent to identify areas of concern in every aspect of her life and develop improvement plans. I think understanding that my role is to ensure she is the best she could ever be has been a guiding principle.
All in all, it has been exciting, taxing, hard work, a lot of sacrifice, a lot of learning, mistakes, triumphs, but also very rewarding, especially when you see the growth and successes.
Q7: Hopefully your best moment is not the same as that of Solome, but we will ask what yours is?
There have been many, but I’ll mention a few.
When we were able to have an awesome performance despite the back-end challenges, that’s a great moment.
When we meet people who just like us or friends who identify with the vision and are willing to invest their funds, knowledge, prayers, talents, skills and time on us, that’s a great moment.
When we make a mistake and learn a really big lesson, that’s a really great moment.
Meeting and working with people, some whom I used to read about in newspapers, these people, now, becoming my new “work mates” have been some the best moments for me.
Q8: What are some of the challenges you have faced during this period?
Dealing with people who don’t understand the vision and either make unrealistic demands or end up dragging your progress, and also dealing with others who promise heaven but deliver air has been challenging.
The workload has really been big. When we are busy sometimes sleep is a luxury.. There are periods where we’ve worked for 2-6weeks straight!!! By the end of such projects we were literally ‘zombies’.
Q9: To someone who wishes to be like you when they grow up, what would you say? what are the sets of skills they need to start learning?
Hmmm.. Everyone is UNIQUE and can only be themselves. Also, I am still learning..
What I can say is, I am doing all this because of, through and by God. Two years ago, NO ONE could have told me I’d be involved in Uganda’s music industry..
Interestingly, the skills I use now haven’t been learned only in class but also in life. Skills like organization and strategic planning, management, document writing, research, patience, perseverance, endurance, FOCUS, forgiveness, PRAYER, giving people space to make mistakes as they learn, dealing with difficult people, telling the truth as you see it, listening and hearing people, knowing when to lead, when to support and when to follow….. I think you get the drift….
These skills can’t be learned only in class. So we should use every opportunity to learn something.
Q10: Can each of you take a few seconds to send a special message to all the people, fans and sponsors who have been there all the way!
Team walalalala!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! who are we truly that you have been with us for this whole year, thank you for the support whether it’s a shout out, whether it’s a request for a song on a radio, whether its advice, whether it’s just appreciation, THANK YOU because of you we are here and God truly bless you , love you loads and let us continue spreading WALALALA!!!! LOVE to the rest of Uganda and beyond, in short “LEZ DO DIS”.
To the sponsors THANK YOU, I can’t mention one by one lest I forget, I am truly humbled and honored that you have taken a risk to partner with me a new Artiste and been so giving, this is very encouraging and I know together we are truly going to make History in this Entertainment Industry and beyond, so WALALALA!!!!!!!!
Wow. #TeamWalalala… Thank you guys for all the support and love. It’s you guys who’ve made us, encouraged us, funded us, pushed us, advised us.. Appreciating a song; a performance; an OUTFIT, is really encouraging.. Eh! THANK YOU.. Walalalalalalaaaa… Laaaaaaaaaaaaaa
With that, we wish you a lovely day.
Picture Credit: Wabwire Wagner Photography.