17 January 2013

Uganda: Babe of the Week - Walden Moves On After Chozen

Ugandan music fans were shocked last year to learn that Chozen and Walden had split.

The duo was right at the peak of its career and had amassed a massive fan base in such a short time. The story had begun in 2011 when the debutant duo released the sensational Pressure Ya Love, an RnB hit.

The song's success catapulted the young artistes to stardom, landing them a nomination at that year's Pearl of Africa Music (PAM) awards.

Yet last July, at Eddy Kenzo's album launch at Hotel Equatoria, Chozen announced to stunned fans that the pair had parted ways. Before this interview, no details had emerged about the split.

"It is the biggest betrayal I have ever felt in my life. He just woke up one morning and said he was going solo minus explaining why," recalled Walden. "I felt my career was over since he was the one writing most of our music. But I knew I had to move on."

Rumour had it that the pair had split over love matters, but Walden insists Chozen is her distant cousin and not her lover. "That would be incest. I have a loving and caring boyfriend," said the 25-year-old songbird.


An adopted daughter of an American, Edward Walden, the singer (whose birth name is Farida Mbabazi) grew up in a deprived homestead after losing her father at two. Subsequently, she was taken to an orphanage school, Molly and Paul Child Care Foundation, where she attained her primary and secondary education.

In 2002, Walden Sr took her in and later her mother also died in 2005.


Stunning Walden, who traces her ancestry to Rwanda and Tooro, said Molly and Paul laid a firm foundation for her entertainment career.

"I travelled the whole world with the school drama team. I was part of nearly every school production and this helped me to craft my acting and singing skills," she said, describing the school as "my real home."

Elite entertainer

It was, however, not until 2006, shortly after she completed S.6 at Kitante Hill School, that Walden turned pro. First, she took a short course in acting and has subsequently appeared in a number of movies including Nantabulirirwa, Bintamye: The Disappointment, Maziga G'omukwano and Housegirl.

She later joined Dembe FM as a receptionist and later as a presenter. She currently co-hosts the station's flagship show, The Evening Drive. Her mellow voice has endeared her to Ddembe diehards. Walden teamed up with Chozen in 2008. After a spell of serious hustling, the duo finally struck gold with Pressure Ya Love. Walden says she played a great part in the group's development.

"I used to beg, in vain, artistes and promoters to do collabos with us. I had to inject in my money," she painfully said, "It's a shame Chozen left me when we were getting stronger. It was such a disappointment to our fans."

Solo career

"I said to myself: 'You can make it alone. You can be better than him'".

But first, she had to hone her writing skills, which she is steadily grasping. Then, she had to fund her own music, which she says is a big challenge. But her determination has paid off.

Today, Walden is one of the fast-rising artistes, radio personalities and actresses. Her latest singles include Akalulu, Sijakulinda and the popular Gukakanya.

"I sing about societal issues. But I also try as much as possible to appeal to all audiences." She also said she plans to launch her debut album this year.

The celeb

Now Walden has acquired celebrity status, with all its perks and pitfalls. For example, the soft-spoken singer, who is currently recovering from a motorcycle accident, said she has many male stalkers. Some have taken their obsession too far by establishing fake Facebook fan pages and sending her anonymous love letters.

"Some men just get angry and stop loving my music when I tell them I have a boyfriend. They always hope for a special relationship with me."

What lies ahead?

Besides aspiring to become the most successful female entertainer, Walden also hopes to build a career in photography. To that end, she is pursuing a short course at Makerere University.

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