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OPINION: Why Ugandan Musicians Fade So Fast – A Manager’s View

By Paul Owor

For over 3 years I have been running a Record label/managing musicians, and in so doing I have noticed many artists have come and left and some have totally been forgotten in the shortest time, for respect I will not mention any names.

Based on that background I decided to dig down and find out why artists in Uganda are only tasting the limelight and leave as fast as they enter and this is what I have found out.

-With fame comes a big head.

My fellow managers will agree with me that there is nothing as hard as taming an artist with a hit song. Fame shuts their ears and they no longer even want to listen to the same words that made them famous! They become gods of sorts that cannot be told what to do.

-Indiscipline

Show me a disciplined artist and I show you a very tough manager. At the beginning all of them put their tails between their legs like a scared dog but as soon as they get to the top you can’t tell them anything because they don’t need you anymore. All that keeps them with you is the piece of paper they signed on.

-Greed

The money you invest in them belongs to both of you(the manager and the artist) but the money from the shows is their money. Greed makes artists feel like they are doing you a favor. You even start hearing them telling people that it’s their money that the manager survives on and the label leans on, forgetting that the label existed even before them.

-Forgetfulness

Artists easily forget their “gyenvude”. Most artists sign to labels or get managers when they are struggling so that they get a helping hand but as soon as they get a hit they forget their background and only their current status matters. They start insulting the same person or label they praised just a few months earlier.

-“I will be on top forever” Mindset

When artists are at the top, they don’t realize that fame in most cases is only short lived. They think they will be on top forever without an extra input. They only realize that they can’t last forever when they are falling apart and in most cases it’s too late to apologize!

-Disrespect of managers, media personalities and fans.

Our stars easily forget the people who made them who they are. They start exchanging with their managers rudely, insulting and ignoring media personalities and worse still ignoring their fans. I remember one time I met an OB who was by then a star and I greeted him, he looked at me with this “Do we know each other” attitude. I simply walked on and started ignoring his music. A few years down the road he restarted pleading with me to sign him.

-Impatience.

There is no patient artist in Uganda especially when it comes to waiting on the management.

Every business has its own low times, I mean a time when salaries won’t be paid in time, allowances will delay etc but no artist wants to know this even if their earnings in three months cannot make a competitive video. They only relate when you can pay their bills but as soon as there is shortage they lose their patience and want to quit immediately.

There are other reasons but I decided to tackle the most common.

My message to an artist who is just sprouting is they should stay humble just like at the beginning, respect your; management (because one who makes you can destroy you), fans( they are the customers, you can’t afford to annoy them) and media personalities(they help to push your work), know that things change; you will not be at the top all the time that’s why you need to stay humane at all times, be patient with your managers and management; they sacrifice a lot to get you where you are so in case there is shortage understand and wait.

For the love of Ugandan music

Paul Owor.

Paul Owor is a Ugandan entrepreneur, music lover and Gifted Music Group (GMG) CEO.

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