WHEN you see Halima Namakula's perfect white smile photoshopped all over these magazines and posters and televised talk shows the easy assumption to make is that she must be a celebrated singer of some sort.
The fact that you have not heard any huge hit from her in years notwithstanding. You will conclude that she must be one of those "deep" chicks, who make that kind of music that appeals to only an elite type of listener.
Like Susan Kerunen and the likes. At the very least, say like Nandujja. You could also assume she makes music that appeals to old women like herself-not pop songs for the kids in the clubs and the kivulus this is what you would assume when you see her strutted before us shining like some sort of Aretha Franklin.
But that's not where it actually started. When Halima began all those years ago, it was the basic, simple, bubblegum pop you hear now from as any Weasel or Radio out there.
Halima was already known from brief appearances on Ebonies' TV shows when she returned from America in the late 1990s.
We in the press assumed it was just to offer support to her son, Hemdee, then a fledgling rapper. He had a song he was peddling around newsrooms that we were trying to be enthusiastic about, even though, frankly, it was wack.
You couldn't understand a word the man was saying, the accent was too garbled. So Mummy was in town with Hemdee and their friend Steve Jean, who at the time was Uganda music's kingmaker.
And she overtook the boys, releasing her own song. Ekimbeewo was as simple as a Spice Girls' song. A catchy chorus, a dance, and a lot of razzmatazz around the star of the show.
It was a huge hit. Little school kids sang it, older people, remembering the Ekimbewo games of their own youth (for the song was basically a remix of a childhood chant) also dug it. And everyone between, thanks to Steve Jean's production.
The whole thing was so spectacular, there was even a classy album launch at what, at the time, was the hottest spot in town.
The Dome Cyberspace. Incidentally, it was an internet café, but this was the late 1990s. Uganda has come a long way since then.
Her light shone for a while. She was like the Cindy Sanyu. Big, dancy club songs-even though every critic mumbled under their breath that the woman could not sing.
She was always flat. Probably tone-deaf. And there was no autotune to save her. Though a string of pop songs followed Ekimbewo, each was just a bit less popular than the last one and by the time the Chameleone's arrived, Halima the musician was done.
She only remained on the showbiz radar by virtue of her personal charisma, which she used to carve out a niche as the cool senga, even ending up with radio shows, TV shows, and all those appearances you see now. It's mostly from her real talent, a charm and with that makes people ready to pay to listen to her.
So that concert she held at Serena this month was something of a surprise. Halima still considers herself a singer?