From Left to Right are the current signed recording artists at Swangz Avenue: Winnie Nwagi, Vinka, Azawi & Zafaran, and in the center is the Swangz Boss "Benon".

Swangz Avenue has over the years made a name for itself not just on the local but on the international scene as well, thanks to its vibrant roster of artists, who keep representing.

The audio, and film production house which also double as a record label, digital music distribution and publishing and events management company was started in the year 2008 by Benon Mugumya, from his garage in his then house in Muswangali (Makindye) where Benon & Vampos made music as a duo.

Benon casually produced music for artists like Radio & Weasle, GNL, Aziz Azion and some of his works (“Where You Are” by Goodlyfe Crew, ]”Locomotive” by All-Stars, and MR DJ” by All-Stars; landed in the ears of Julius Kyazze, the CEO of Buzz Magazine and Events, and upon later discussions teamed up to make the bigger dream work, hence Swangz Avenue officially being rebirthed and since never looked back.

As close friends and business partners, have achieved so much and carved a name for themselves on the music industry of Uganda, for blessing the country with some of the best-talented artists on the land.

With the recent signing of Zafaran, many people continue to wonder why the label seems to only take on artists/ acts of the female gender, and why the boy child is left out of such opportunities, and whether the male too are not worthy of being signed to the premium record label.

Taking the clock back to the early days of Swangz, the Late Sera who is famed for her hit single “Contagious” which featured Jeff Blaze was the label’s very first artist to be signed. She was 19 at the time.

In the subsequent following years, Irene Ntale was signed as the second artist under the label whose offices were in Muyenga then in 2013 hence enabling her career achieve an all-time high, thanks to hit songs like “Gyobela”, “Sembela”, etc.

The 3rd singer for the label to add to their ever-growing roster was Winnie Nwagi, whose music career began when she became the second runner-up during the second season of “Coca-Cola Rated Next” music competitions in 2014, as a record deal was one of the prizes during that time.

Veronica Luggya Nakiyingi who formerly served at Swangz as Irene Ntale’s manager was converted into a recording artist in 2016, and later Azawi in October 2019.

When you study the trend of signings, yes you could partly wonder too, about what happened to the men, and why aren’t any getting these record deals.

To answer you, allow me draw you back to 2012, when Swangz Avenue took on artist management roles. Then 14-year-old Young Zee was among the pioneer signees to the premium label. He was Male. Among the other male artists to ever be under Swangz Avenue’s management docket is Micheal Ross, Viboyo Oweyo, James B, and Vampino.

Another male representation at the label is in its in-house non-musical talents, like the label bosses; Benon and Julius, who oversee operations at the establishment, Marvin Musoke (who happens to be the main music video director/ producer at the company.)

On Azawi’s recently released debut studio album;- AFRICAN MUSIC, all the collaborators on it were male, right from Janzi Band, A Pass, Eddy Kenzo, Fik Fameica, and Benon Mugumbya.

Even when it comes to employment at the label’s premises, the majority of the employees are male; the drivers, digital/ strategy teams, music business managers, artist managers (except Azawi’s whose is female), etc.

Last but not least are Swangz Avenue’s frequent collaborators like Producer Eli Arkhis, Nessim, Kusseim, Yese Oman Rafiki (songwriter) who work on the majority of the tracks that are released from the Swangz kitchen.

Outside Uganda, Nigerian Label Imprint YBNL (that’s owned by Olamide) has made some of the country’s biggest stars in Afrobeats including Lil Kesh, Adekunle Gold, Fireboy DML, and most recently Asake.

Fireboy DML (L), Olamide (C) & Asake (R)
Fireboy DML (L), Olamide (C) & Asake (R): Picture: Courtesy

Olamide’s reason not to sign the ladies up as singers were that he can only sign one to his record label so long as she proves or portrays a certain level of aggression and hunger for success like the male artists he always takes chance on.