The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Kiggundu Takes Gospel to Secular Musicians

Samuel Kiggundu, aka, Sami K, is a meek and soft-spoken man.

However, with a microphone in his hand, the man of God belts out strong gospel music. Despite his humility, Kiggundu's music emboldens him to work with secular musicians as well, fine-tuning their vocals.

"I do music. I have also worked with many musicians, like The Obsessions, for many years as their vocal coach and co-producer," he says.

Kiggundu also teamed with artiste Chameleone in 2009 on Christmas in August, a project that provided the internally-displaced people in northern Uganda with basic utilities and entertainment.

"My wish is to see more and more artistes become born-again," he explains the reason behind working with secular artistes.

He also helps upcoming artistes like Robben son, Levixeon and Young Mulo with vocal training.

Jack of many trades

On his part, he has songs like Full Hundred, Show Me Love, and Conqueror, which have made it to Christian radios' playlists.

"I am a gospel musician, songwriter, producer and a performing artiste," says humble Kiggundu.

And previously, he was a youth pastor at Watoto church, Kampala. But now, he moves around schools and East Africa as a youth motivational speaker, encouraging youngsters to develop positive attitudes for a good future.

"I have talked to many youth, and from the feedback I get, I have really helped many," says Kiggundu.

Early start

Kiggundu, 35, started motivational speaking when he was a pupil at Nakasero primary school, where he used to address the school assembly, in 1991. He was also a member of the school choir, which paved way for his music career. Particularly, he picked interest in gospel music which up to now has come to be his niche.

"When it comes to urban gospel music, I have reached somewhere and I want to shape the industry to [a] high[er] level," says Kiggundu of the genre.

"I grew up in church and I will continue serving it," he adds, erasing any plans to join secular music.

Inspiration

He is inspired by Watoto church pastor, Gary Skinner.

"To be sincere, about 50 per cent of what I know in my life, I learnt from him. He is a person with a big heart."

Internationally, he looks up to Kirk Franklin and R. Kelly for their great works in the music industry.

Interest

Kiggundu loves to be in the company of his friends. "When I am not at a concert, I hang out with friends and that's all."

He also enjoys his favourite book of all time, the Bible, which he passionately reads. Kiggundu also loves working with people so that they become better at what they do.

Love

Kiggundu is a single father of two daughters, but declines to say anything about their mother.

"Their mother is a topic I wouldn't like to discuss, but I am single and will marry at some point."

Challenge

Kiggundu's work with secular artistes has brought criticism to his door from Christians.

"They sometimes tell me that there is no way I can keep associating with those glamorous girls and not sleep with them. I tell them that my dealings with them are just professional. Full stop," explains Kiggundu.

He says some people have come to conclude that because of his works, he has given up on the faith, which he denies.

Prospects

He hopes to develop his careers in music and motivational speaking. Kiggundu is thus working on an album, Words of a Minister, which calls people to work hard and have faith in God.

"I look at it as a success," he says.

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