Be original in whatever you do, and the rest will be easy-Kamanzi

The music industry being a male-dominated industry has not only hindered the growth of this business but also the success of women in the industry. However, for Kamanzi, the sky is not the limit. The professionally skilled guitarist and violinist is using her music career to inspire young girls to believe in their dreams.

Kamanzi Ruth Rwego, is a 22-year-old Ugandan creative currently studying Mass Communication at Uganda Christian University. When she is not in class, she is creating music, playing the guitar and writing lyrics to inspire and empower others.

What inspired you to do Music?

Music has been a key part of my life since I was a child, as an individual and also for the family. That’s where I draw my inspiration from, especially when it comes to writing the music. Because my parents were involved in ministering and serving in church, I grew up singing in church. I didn’t feel like I had a choice outside of that and so I just decided to have fun with it.

Apart from music, what else are you good at?

I am very keen on emerging technologies. I am good with accessories and anything to do with spreadsheets or databases. That’s a side of me that people rarely see. However, predominantly, I spend my time immersing myself into music; both listening and creating it.

How would you define your art/music?

My art is really just soaked with a lot of personal experiences and worldviews that obviously, evolve which is the beauty of it. The music I wrote when I was 16 isn’t the same music I write now because life experiences are constantly changing. In my opinion, music and any artist craft are just defined by the authenticity, manifesting and showcasing that difference, the individuality and originality.

Which artist inspired you the most?

There is a single human being that inspired me the most and it wasn’t just about music but about life in general which was a huge part of the type of music I’m doing. My mother is my best friend; she inspired me simply by living, the way she carries herself, the pride and confidence she has in what she does and everything she does turns into gold. I aspired to do the same with my music.

In the same way I was inspired by lots of artists I thought did that exact same thing; people I emulated because of their confidence like Beyonce, the Gethers and Kiara. In Uganda I am inspired by Benon Mugumbya of Swangs Avenue and Angella Okullo of Worship Harvest.

What’s something you learnt earlier that made you a better artist today?

Individuality, you just have to be who you are. Don’t try to be anybody else. There is enough space for originality. Just thrive at being who you are and the audience will love you for that.

What challenges do you face as a young woman in music/art?

The patriarchy is a problem. The most challenging part is that there is an unsaid social construct about what a woman’s role is economically, in a household, in society and for some reason passion projects should be secondary (societal speaking).

Do I agree with this? Absolutely not, because I have grown up in a home where I saw both my parents live out their abilities and they were able to strike a balance but for some reason, particularly in Uganda, a woman doing music looks like a failure.

My challenge would be able to manoeuver through those societal stereotypes and constraints and be who I am regardless of it all and knowing that at the end of the day, I have to empower other women to look at the possibility.

What has been your most memorable moment in this career?

I released a cover on my socials, for my grandfather who was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, and we all thought he was going to die. Well, he is still alive today although he can’t hear.

I wrote the song and there is this part where I said, “I know you can’t hear but I hope someday you hear this from heaven.” So, one day I met someone who shared a relatable story and he said the song spoke to him all through his grief and loss of his parents. This meant so much to me. It showed me how powerful authenticity is, that’s forever my favorite moment.

How have you benefited from music/art?

I have built my network capital and I honestly don’t take it for granted. I have met people that have groomed me and also the character nurturing. I believe who we are is as a result of the company we keep and how we were brought up.

Also, the more challenges you face, the tougher you become. Therefore, the whole transaction bit that comes with art helps you learn how to relate with others and to work hard as long as you surround yourself with the right people. It’s a brilliant experience to get knowledge without reading it from a book or movie.

Through music, I have been able to draw closer to God, and He continues to reveal himself to me through ways I never thought I would understand him.

What advice would you give young girls who are looking for music/art as a career?

I would never encourage someone to do something they are not passionate about. Personally, I believe anything can be art, even if its science as long as you can embody it and give it the originality and passion, that’s art. There is so much more once there is passion. I would encourage everyone in their field of work to commit, immerse themselves in spaces where they are groomed to be the best in their art.