Neo-soul, Blues, RnB sensation, Ugandan singer, Song writer, guitarist and producer –Jessy Canary Muyonjo also professionally known as J.C Muyonjo on September 25th, 2021 released his sophomore project. I had a chat with him about this album, and more. Take a read:

About a month ago, you dropped your fourth project – AFROSPHERE, how did it feel?

I love the feeling of accomplishment, especially when I set a creative bar for myself and reach it. So definitely feels good that I knocked this off my list finally.

Talking of the album and its name AFROSPHERE, how did you arrive at its name?

I cut it from Afro-centric Atmosphere, inspired by Afro-beats and rhythms combined with RnB and Hip-hop, two genres I was heavily inspired by. The Album isn’t a singular theme regarding content but a journey of sorts highlighted by different aspects of life I have experienced.

You have a Kiswahili track (Moyo Wangu) Ft. Lamu on the album. Tell us about that.

It was a song me and Lamu wrote together painting a picture of two people with a mutual first attraction. It was really a conversation and also what they would think about each other without saying the words. For me it was also an ode to music and my first attraction to it from the get go.

Related: Lamu & J.C Muyonjo Willow In Harmony On Dreamy ‘Kill You With It’ Acoustic Performance

What was your favorite moment about the album creation process?

I had several; I think I liked it when I was in the same space with these Artistes. Lamu calling her Dad and he helped with writing the track. Tucker HD being such a pro in studio and nailing everything so well showed how seriously he takes his craft, So severe being a bro and sharing life outside music, the conversations are enriching, Muhinder was the first one I worked with and I produced the track in real time off his energy. Fidel Mambo the guitarist that played the most was so good, same as Jose from Aka Dope. Wake being so enthusiastic I kept improving the beat trying to match him because he inspires me a lot, Ebrahim being proficient and so ready to go.

AFROSPHERE Album Artwork (Picture: Courtesy)

As an artist, did the anxiety of putting out a new project and how it’ll be received by the masses ever hit you and how did you counter it?

I think every Artist goes through this, well you just have to go through it rather than trying to avoid or deflect it, you can’t predict or control how people react. As long as you get a reaction, even if it is totally bad rather than being totally ignored. Art has to invoke emotion at the end of the day.

To-date, ‘Uber Guy’ still stands out as a personal favorite as a music listener, would you say it was based on actual events or fiction?

Haha, yes a favorite for many, I think because it’s a funny easily imaginable Kampala story. It was fiction really, a friend told me a story and I crafted a song out of it. However people really want it to be a true story. Kind of reminds me of Usher and confessions which also wasn’t based on his life.

Back to the album, you had such a diverse line of collaborators on it, from Lamu to Wake & the likes. What was the thought process/ criteria in which you chose them?

AFROSPHERE Album Features (Picture: Courtesy)

All these people are my friends or I have a good working relationship with. I did reach out to some others and it didn’t work out well or the songs didn’t fit on this project sonically. Secondly I had watched or worked with these musicians closely so I knew exactly what they would bring to the record and didn’t need to second guess myself.

Do you have a personal favorite track off the album, and if Yes, which one is it?

Nope, I don’t have one because they all speak differently to me really.

We are in a music streaming era, thanks to the advancement in technology & exposure, but first questions first; Spotify or Apple Music & why?

Well whichever pays more haha. However, I am looking at these streaming platforms as a way to tap into different crowds so I guess a balance is needed. For an Indie Artiste like me, unless you are doing mad numbers monthly, these streams bring peanuts. So the future of distribution might have to look different with different payment modes and not depend so much on them. The idea is that the stats would show you which regions play your music most and you would plan your shows around these areas knowing you will make money from merchandise and ticket sales. That is where the hard cash is outside endorsements since physical Album sales almost don’t exist anymore.

Would you say as Ugandans, we have embraced the music streaming culture? What do you think can be done to best encourage the rest to take on this modern music listening method?

The laws and regulations regarding data distribution would have to change because they have a direct impact on sectors like these. Not many Ugandans stream actively, we also know that the internet is expensive for most and it isn’t even that good. If these things change then we will see more people embrace it. For instance, I realized that it’s the Twitter and Instagram domains that were with it more too, while the rest preferred YouTube which pays less than all of them. Some people actually preferred sending me money and buying digital copies rather than streaming which was an interesting perspective given I easily sold physical copies with the previous EP too.

Between Kidandali EP & AFROSPHERE, what can you say has between the change in sound from the two projects?

Kidandali by J.C Muyonjo on TIDAL
J.C Muyonjo, KIDANDALI EP Artwork (Picture: Tidal)

Kidandali was more melodic, had more singing from me and two female features. It also leaned a bit into an older style of production, Afroshpere is more Hip-hop and Afro-beats, but I would like to mention that its totally fine to split the Artiste and the producer which I do on this last Album, I am still a singer/songwriter at heart which I am going to do a lot more of on my next Album, I am not diversifying my style so much as a singer, only as a Producer.

Should people expect a deluxe version any time soon?

Oh expect something really dope from me and another Master producer called Izaya (The composer).as soon as December God willing.

I do understand you are a guitarist and play it effortlessly well, if you were to be a music instrument, which would it be and why?

Lol, first time someone has asked this, I think a harp because it’s usually handled by gracious calm ladies, plus it makes heavenly music.

Any parting shots?

I am grateful for any chance I am given to tell my story so thank you very much. I am also thankful to those that have shared and placed my music in different spaces, it humbles me and for those that haven’t listened yet, give it a chance, you will not regret.

Stream AFROSPHERE everywhere