Muhangi on why it’s good business hiring Nigerian musicians

Comedy Store proprietor Alex Muhangi entered the discussion about the growing concern of event promoters 'sidelining' Ugandan musicians for their Nigerian counterparts.

A collage of Ugandan and Nigerian artistes

Muhangi, who has hired several local and foreign artistes to perform at his events, says a promoter serves as a conduit between a performer and revelers, so that's what guides them when planning a show.

He dismissed the idea that local promoters are deliberately favouring Nigerian artistes, which is frustrating sprouting of home-grown talent.

"Local musicians are also doing well... One thing I've learnt about the Ugandan audience is that they like good music," Muhangi, who is a comedian-cum-singer, said in an interview.

"Where there's good music, they'll go... As you've seen even Nigerian artistes who've been here but without good music have held flopped concerts, but the big ones pulled big numbers."

Nigerian singers that have performed in Uganda recently include GodsFavour Chidozie aka Fave, Tiwa Savage, Akunle Gold aka AG, Ayra Starr and Fire Boy.

Kizz Daniel is set to perform at Lugogo Cricket Oval on August 6.

According to Alex Muhangi, to attract people to your music, you have to heavily invest in production.

"So, for music, it's about production. How great your videos are and how people appreciate your talent," he said.

He also revealed that some Nigerian upcoming artistes with hit songs are more affordable compared to local artistes thus it makes business sense to bring them.

"Nigerians are very cheap. Now they've heard that Uganda is the second biggest audience that consumes their music. [We couldn’t independently verify this]. They've had issues with South Africans," he said.

"While Nigerians don't play our music, they know we enjoy their music. They are also flexible. Even if they have a few hit songs, for instance, Ruger, they will come and perform... even if they can't hold the audience for an hour and a half."

Muhangi further explained: "If you are a promoter, you're the middleman between the consumers and the musician, so you provide what they want. Secondly, you're in it for business... so if you bring a loved Nigerian artiste, you will get a good return on your investment... it's not that we underrate local artistes, we are operating businesses... Also, some local artistes are very expensive... for instance, hiring Kenzo, Rema, Bebe Cool, Jose Chameleone, Gravity, and so on... costs over Shs12 million. But it comes with the music they have... if I have Comedy Store, I want to know which artiste will be on stage for an hour and a half and people are excited all through.

"So if he or she tells you I want around Shs15 million, you will pony up. That's why you won't find household name artistes on multiple shows. So, local artistes need to invest heavily in their music production, so it attracts international attention for them to get invited."

Ugandans also love Jamaican reggae dancehall, but Muhangi said that Jamaican singers are rarely booked to perform in Kampala because it's expensive.

"Jamaicans have failed to come here because it's costly to bring them. There are no direct flights from Uganda to Jamaica, so they've to go through lengthy, strenuous processes to come,” he said.

"So, you find that bringing them is costing you about $20,000 dollars just for a ticket and that's before accounting for their payments and promoting the show."

On Tuesday Jamaican Dancehall artiste Garfield Delano Spence aka Konshens teased what many interpreted as an upcoming show in Kampala.

In the video, Koshens, who last performed in Uganda seven years ago at Lugogo Cricket Oval, shows a passport, a flying plane and highlights from his previous tours in Uganda.

The 'Do Sumn' singer has performed in Kampala thrice -- in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

In his last concert, he performed alongside Jamaican dancehall reggae artist Reanno Devon Gordon alias Busy Signal.

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