Rigga’s Talks On Being An Artist And Shares On The Kenyan Gospel Music Industry
Rigga was in Kampala, Uganda for The Lock Down concert and we couldn’t miss getting a piece of him for anything in the world. He has done music for the last 10 years, collaborated with some of the biggest names in the Kenyan music industry, engineered 5 star projects one of them being the Freedom Compilation Album which featured top Kenyan Gospel artists, his latest singles “Ring Finger” and “Sina Chorus” have made it big in the region topping charts.
Generally the multi-talented artist who has achieved so much at such a young age is someone we would love to sit down with. He’s been there, seen it all and he shares with us.
For how long have you been an artist?
Since 2005 that’s when I started recording after I finished High School, I used to write during High School. So I have been a recording artist since then till now, so its 10 years now.
How much music do you have out there?
I have two albums. The first one The Awakening December 2007, and Urban Prayers December 2012. Then am promoting that one. There are songs Ring Finger, Sina Chorus & Fruit a new reggae track.
You and Jaaz Odongo collaborated on the Freedom Album, How did you put it together?
We were working on it at the same time with my album. It was great fun working on the music, and just stretching our minds as creatives. There were other people on the project too like Astar, Bupe, Kriss Erroh, Kanji…but the main people were Bupe, Jaaz Odongo and I.
How was it working with the different artists on the album?
It was interesting how we did the freedom mixtape, we released 1 song per week, that means we created the idea, did the instrumental of the song, got the artists on board, recorded and released it in that very week we did this for 13 weeks.
These artists weren’t paid, it was all built on relationship, it was a fun thing to do and just throw some good free music out there.
It’s not easy to get to work with artists who feel like they already established especially if you want to work with them for free. How did you do that?
People are always looking out for what value is this going to add to me. It’s growing us and stretching you creatively.
I am not giving you any money you’re are not giving me any money…you have free studio time, you have an extra song to go to perform whenever, so that’s how we were able to sell the value of what we were doing, and also why you are doing what you are doing is very important. There was a lot of good will.
The Kenyan Gospel music industry has a lot of controversies…and yet it is performing better than the mainstream. Any comments?
We have the growing pains of a now grown industry, it’s not as big as it was 6 years ago, there are big shows, corporates are jumping in wanting to invest…and the true motives of people are now coming out.
There are those who at the start had good intentions but maybe are now being advised wrongly by their managers, those who didn’t have managers now have, because there is a lot of money.
Someone you consider as a brother now sees you as competition…but there is hope. A lot you see as controversies are growing pains…even with the growing pains there are artists that are in it for the right reasons doing the right thing even those who acknowledge that they had gone astray there is hope because our God is a God of forgiveness and has the capability to set them straight.
As an artist are you under some sort of accountability?
Yes I serve at my local church, am in the worship ministry, at my church, Mavuno Church. I have pastors who I am accountable to, who know where am going, what am doing…even when I face a challenge I call them up and ask them for advice.
Some artists have been taken advantage of or used by pastors…but I am one of those who can say, that hasn’t happened to me. I am very accountable, am a part of a bible study group that meets every week, not for artists, * smiles * for ordinary people, because am also an ordinary person.
Are you modeling any artists?
It’s interesting you’ve asked me this…this year God challenged me to work with people who don’t have the opportunities that I had and I wouldn’t have the opportunities now if someone had not invested in me, 10 years is a lot of time to thank god for.
I started with a group called RECAP, they are a fantastic group and they are already on their way, a hip-hop/pop group, with hearts souled out to Jesus. Other than Recap the number will grow… I am teaching them what I know, but also learning from them because new blood has a lot teach.
How do you export your music out?
I was shocked I was on a radio here in Kampala and they already had my music…the deejay here already had my music I thought I would start form zero…I always put up my music online and where it went, it went…we pray it gets were it needs to get to. Am blown away people here, are saying that they are blessed by my music and its all glory to God…I was very humbled…
Have you had any interactions with the Uganda Gospel music scene?
I have had little interaction…I have met Exodus In Nairobi and here in Kampala, an amazing talented hip-hop artist called Ruyonga, a reggae artist called Levixone these are people whose stories and experiences are amazing.
I hold them in high respect…I love what they are doing, and I pray God gives them the grace to keep doing it. I haven’t met any other but if they are a representation of the Uganda Gospel industry, Uganda has a lot to offer and I am very hopeful about the Gospel music industry in Uganda.
So are you going to do something with some artists, or you’re here to go?
Well we’ll see…Am here briefly, am here for this show actually that am doing, I can start the conversation… I have met deejays…I didn’t meet Levixone until when I came, the good thing with technology we can communicate across borders, we can hope for a KE/UG collaboration.
What is happening for Rigga this year?
Am working on 2 new songs…there is a secret song am working on hopefully it will be done in about a months’ time… And also 2 or more. Kampala is a start of something I want to go to more countries and then end of the year start working on my other album. God has told me what it’s going to be, which I can’t share with you as yet.
Top 5 sings that Rigga has done?
1. What’s my life? It’s one of my intimate most personal prayer to God.
2. Ring finger, It’s more like an anthem
3. Sina Chorus, This is also more like an anthem for me
4. Ibada Yangu from my first album, The Awakening
5. Fruit, it’s what am supposed to do in this season, there is a lyric video on YouTube, and music video is to follow soon.
6. There is an interesting song on Urban Prayers called “My Africa”
You got married last year You’re wedding trended on twitter…how has been it for you, now married, the message on Ring Finger song was deep and you got married…how has it been?
Marriage is an amazing adventure, there are ups and down, I have been married 9months. Growing in marriage is fun, exciting, and its fun when you’re married to your best friend.
God uses it to sharpen us, you learn what patience, kindness, long suffering is….God is telling you to love this person as Jesus loves the church, and you have to unconditionally love this person. I have many of my faults but she has to continue loving me and supporting me.
Define Rigga’s music style and what can we expect from him?
My style is eclectic…all over the place, my first love is hip hop, but u will hear me sing a lot more, and try different other styles. Rigga’s world view is a Christ centered world view and is reflected in his music. And that’s what ties together all the different things that am doing.
You can find me on Facebook: Rigga Twitter: @riggaman and YouTube: Rigga
3 things Uganda doesn’t know about Rigga?
You are asking me an exam question.
1. I love Pizza
2. I watch lots of movie, am a movie fan, recently I have watched Theory of Everything.
3. I have developed a love for Rolex (Chapatti rolled in Eggs) and Pork