Since attaining mainstream success in 2023 with his maiden EP “Bedroom Essentials”, Ugandan music’s fashion-forward and music darling Elijah Nsubuga (alias Elijah Kitaka) has been on a journey to stardom, self-discovery, and musical experimentation. On this episode of Mugibson Meets, I had a sit down with him to discuss this, plus the megawatt success he has garnered over the past year, including signing with premium record label Swangz Avenue. Read On:

On his favorite stage to perform:

The Budo League. It’s a vibe. I have had fun with all the stages I have been performing on because I love the fact when I am on stage, I see people reacting to what exactly I am doing on stage so I wouldn’t say I have a best stage cuz every time I hit the stage, it is the best moment of my life.

On his pre-performance ritual:

I meditate a lot, before the show, I am always meditating about everything, thinking about the moment when I am on stage. Of course, I expect the best when I am on stage all the time, so I meditate on being the best when I am on stage.

On signing with Swangz Avenue and his EP “Bedroom Essentials”:

“Bedroom Essentials’ as a body of work, it is music based on love. I love writing music based on love stories and all that. So, as my first project in Swangz Avenue, I had fun on it, making it, producing it, and working with a team of people to see how it comes, I believe it was a success, and people are enjoying it around the world.

On which song was his most fun to create:

I enjoy every song I have done, every song has a different kind of touch to it, you know. I think I had fun with “NOTHING”, uhhm, “WEATHER FOR TWO”, all the songs were fun. Sometimes writing these words on those beats, you know, getting attached to it, being in the mood, I think, it’s having fun for me, you know. Also, having fans enjoy my music, it is the fun for me.

The fastest song for him to write on the EP:

KONTROL. “Kontrol” was very short. I think we did under 30 minutes in studio. I was with Steve Keys. He produced the song. I remember coming to studio to see Benon, Steve, and Julius and yeah I just started writing the song immediately when we went to studio, so, yeah it was fun, and the shortest.

On his involvement in the planning of music videos and stage performances:

The most interesting thing, the creation starts with me meditating, writing the song, producing it, after it is presenting it to the team and the team trusting it, to the videography, so, it is a process, just know I get involved everywhere. I have to be in the studio, do the song, present it, afterwards plan for it, I have to be in the music video, so having to express myself, and having to get a tick for my expression/ creation for a song to go out, I feel like the expression, has to go on till the end, from the video to fans seeing you on stage, it’s all creation.

Elijah Kitaka on his working relationship with Vinka:

When I joined Swangz Avenue, I was so okay with everyone, Vinka, Azawi, Winnie, Zafaran, you know uhmm, (putting Vinka aside), all these people are amazing people. I have a song with each one of them, they are not yet out but yeah so. “TUTU MAMA” was a song, I felt it missed the energy of having a female on it, a powerful person, and you know Vinka is so energetic, she has the dance moves, so filling the energy of TUTU MAMA as a song, I feel like it was the right decision for the team bring Vinka on the song and yeah. I wrote the song at around 3am, I was in the studio for the whole night, so in the morning when my boss Julius came to office, he found me playing the song, we listened to it for quite some time, so, he brought the idea of Vinka, he was like you know, I feel like Vinka should be on this track. So, we tried it out and that’s the song people are enjoying. I love the reception, I love the energy, I love how people feel go crazy when the song starts playing so yeah. It was really nice working with Vinka, she’s a good friend.

On his musical roots:

You know, in the kind of setting of how we grow up, it was really hard to choose your path. Starting from church, being 7 years old, playing drums in church, getting inspired by all these beautiful voices, worshipping and praising God, you know. I was synced into music you know, just like a young boy who just falls in love with something. So, I fell in love with the music, the sound, the melodies, the rhythms, but I think I fell in love with the rhythms so fast, I love the drums so much so yeah. Every time I used to go to school and come back. At home, we had instruments, we had all instruments, even my brothers and sisters, each of them has an instrument they play, so me I chose the drums. Singing is something I’ve always had in me, you know, even when I was young, even I was too scared of singing. Let me say I am shy to sing. In my free time, when am alone, I used to write songs or sing in church. Leaving church, growing, becoming big in school, having graduated or even after school. When I was in school, I used to write songs, when I was in high school, “Me and You’ is one of those songs I wrote while in school, so the journey of me going into the live music industry, I was actually forced to join the industry because of the passion I had for the music. So, I started hustling in the world, it wasn’t easy, but I loved music. At some point, breaking through, drumming became something that could pay off some bills. From a passion to earning something. It went on and on, meeting all these artists on my journey, getting inspired, doing research as a person as well, you know, trying to open up the beast out of me. Eventually, I gained the confidence and started to bring out the beautiful music.

On School:

I won’t say I code. I think even when I am in studio, I am coding, you know, using all this software. Sometimes you have to use all this software to have something nice. I wouldn’t say I code all the time, but I still have it in me. In the near future, there are a lot of things to be done, so I believe that ability can work somewhere.

On his Musical inspirations:

Being a drummer, I was forced to play a lot of genres. From jazz to Lingala, I think I have played everything. You have to be versatile, cuz you don’t know what gig is coming. It might be a lingala gig and it is paying off, or even a jazz gig and it is really paying off way better, so I was forced to tackle a lot of genres. But my inspiration comes from a lot of instruments like Chick Corae, Richard Bona, John Coltrane, Damian Marley, Eryka Badu. I am an RnB person, there are many names. I didn’t have time to understand music. I didn’t have time to go to school and learn music, but I had time to research about music, so yeah.

About the type of student Elijah Kitaka was:

I was too quiet but always got in trouble in some kind of way. I was always around troublemakers.

On his love for drums, and plans to record music with Maurice Kirya and the likes

I am very interested in doing music with all these wonderful people, yeah, Shifah Musisi, Maurice, Sandra Nankoma, Giovanni Kiyinji, and so many, Kaz Kasozi.

On sharing a stage with Bien and his fashion inspirations:

I am a fashion freak, so I love expressing myself through fashion. Fashion is something that’s attached to my music and my personality, so, I choose my own outfits, I am always working with the best people to see that things are working out. I love getting ispired and expressing myself in fashion as well.

On how he spends his free time:

I think I do what other people do. I have time for family, I love nature, I love going to sit around the shores, and meditating upon life, gym. I am not a football person, but I play football, actually very good football. I play number 11, a winger. Back then in the day, I used to be a Laliga kind of person, supporting Real Madrid. I am not in to Premier League. I quit being a football supporter, its stressful.

On what makes ‘The Pirates of the Caribbean’ his favorite film:

It’s the music, the creation of it, the outfits/ costumes, the story, I love adventure, you know, action movies, adventures. Jack Sparrow is really the guy. He made it. He won my heart. (I actually have a tattoo of Pirates of the Caribbean).

On whether he would ever consider joining the movie industry:

You can never stop the power of abilities in you. I started as a drummer I didn’t know I would be a singer. Starting my career as a singer, I had to learn how to be a producer. There are journeys. I feel I want to do anything possible for music. If it is being rich and making a musical facility, doing a course about it, trying to see and be a part of music evolution in our country. I won’t limit myself, when time comes, and an opportunity knocks at the door, I will open it.

His favorite non-Swangz Avenue song?

I love The Cavemen. It is a band from Nigeria. It’s really making moves. I love their sound too. I get inspired, it’s the music I have been listening to.  I have been listening to a lot of Fela Kuti lately. I am trying to work on an album, and I want it to be as African/ African- Ugandan, I actually want it to be as African as can be.

On his love for Tems:

I love Tems’ attitude. I love her calmness when she’s doing music. As any other person, she speaks to me when she’s singing. I just enjoy her kind of art, composition, and writing. And she’s a beautiful lady.

His favorite song by her:

Crazy Things

The one surprising thing fans don’t know about him:

I have a lot of surprising things. But come to think of it, I have no surprising thing, I am just calm.

On What we can expect this year:

A lot of good music. It’s going to be fire this year. I can’t wait for you guys to listen to my new music as well, it’s not stopping. It’s going to keep on being new. I hope you guys enjoy it. There’s a lot of music we have in store.

On his tattoos?

Elijah Kitaka says he has a total of 14 tattoos and each has a meaning. One is inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Having gone through a lot when joining the music industry, he faced lots of challenges. When releasing his ‘Son of Kalooli’ album, his first track was ‘Lion Born in Africa’, Elijah got a tattoo of a Lion to remind himself how brave he has been in his entire journey and where he is right now. Among the 14 is an ‘evil eye’ tattoo, then one of Zeus (the Greek God), and then a music plaster tattoo indicating how much music is a healer to him. Elijah possesses another simply written ‘Ebony’ which he says is a name of a special person in his life.

On what advice he has for anyone wishing to get their very first tattoo?

“Having a tattoo, you have to have a meaning behind it. Because the moment you put it on your body, it is not going off, the process of it going off your body is very painful, so think wisely.”

A mantra he lives by:

I just love peace, I love peace. I just love everyone to be peaceful with ourselves. Yeah, we live a very short life. Live your life, Enjoy your life, don’t disturb people. ‘Let People Be’. I love being peaceful, it’s my kind of space. I don’t want people who bother my peace.

He then signs out by shouting out to his team at Swangz Avenue, his designers, himself, fans and so many people, and says he loves you all, for real!