The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Artistes Cash in As Companies Rush for Their Chartbusters

The growing trend among musicians today is to turn their hit songs into commercial jingles.

For some it is about the money, while for the others, it is about extending the song's shelf life.

We all remember how Tina Turner's Simply the Best garnered an even more popular run as the 'Otis song', promoting the elevator manufacturers. Ugandan musicians too are jumping onto the trend and Abu-Baker Mulumba talked to some whose songs have become jingles.

Ndagire turned her Ansisitira into a Samona jingle (Ansisitira Anyiriza nnyo Samona ng'omwana...) and to pull it off, the artiste tells us, it took a lot of creativity.

"You have to do it wisely so that the message of the jingle doesn't overshadow the message in the song," said Ndagire, who also redid her immensely popular hit, Byonna Twala, into a Highland mineral water commercial.

She said she cannot sacrifice her song for money and she usually gives the client a specific period to use the commercial.

"Just like an adaptation of a movie from a novel gives the novel more popularity, so is the case with the song and the jingle," Ndagire, who is now in talks with Vero mineral water to remodel another of her songs into a jingle, said.

"But because the song is always there to stay yet the jingle is only there for a short time, I protect the song more than the jingle."

Angela Kalule

Her Katikitiki song won the Pearl of Africa Music (PAM) awards song of the year and best live band single last year. It is believed that the song garnered the most requests on radio stations, the reason perhaps Vero mineral water used it to launch their product.

For a song with original lyrics that say, "oli mineral water mu refreshment" (you refresh like mineral water) it was perfect for commercials. Kalule undertook the venture to keep the song in her fans' ears and also for the money.

"I don't mind having my song turned into a jingle because financially I would be gaining from the royalties as well as my song getting more recognition. People turn off radios and TVs during commercial breaks and yet entrepreneurs would want them to listen to the jingles of their products or services. This has prompted the use of popular songs so that the consumer can [stay tuned in] and get the information needed," Kalule said.

Mesach Semakula

His Taliiyo has become a wedding anthem and one of his best hits ever. It is, therefore, not surprising that Ssalongo Mukasa Kasawuli chose it to advertise his Samona cosmetics at a time when Mathias Walukagga was allegedly using his songs to shoot down the products.

Now the popular Taliiyo Asinga Samona Okunyiriza jingle and video plays on almost all Luganda radio and TV stations.

"This is free advertisement of my song, something I don't regret because I would have paid a lot to promote the song. Besides, the advertiser's choice of the song means it is one of the best and the personality also matters, because I am like a Samona ambassador now," he said.

Jose Chameleone

The singer has also done jingles for Highland mineral water and Nile Special lager and for him the cash cows are Nekolera Maali and his latest, Valu Valu.

"Gaining an extra coin out of my song is a bonus and, besides, the advertiser looks for class. That means by selecting your song, it is already up there; so, I see no evil in that," said Chameleone.

OS (Omulangira Ssuuna)

OS redid his monster hit, Love Yo, into an advert for Sema Properties and the proprietor of the firm says it has worked for him well given its popularity.

"I don't regret investing in OS because the song's results are seen in our returns," said Hajj Sulait Ssemakula of Sema Properties.

The President of Uganda Performing Artists and Musicians association, Andrew Benon Kibuuka, supports the artistes' innovation.

"In such cases the artiste, if paid well is the winner, because his product would have served a double purpose. It's like baking bread and one can decide to use it for tea, another one for food and one can use it to feed pigs; the baker remains [happy]," Kibuuka, who is also a director in Bakayimbira Dramactors, said.

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