Known to many as the “doctor with the lyrical matter”; Quex is the brains and man behind the “Kachumbali” song that was making rounds from late last year (2019 and was even recently crowned the Uganda Martyrs University Nkozi #SoUG party theme song. He’s best known for songs like “Makindye, Regina, Lovely Woman, Touch My Hand” among others. I caught up with the 24-year-old crooner. Here’s what he had to share with regards to music, and how he is able to handle fame, and life as a student and all. Read on:
So, why Quex? What inspired your stage name?
My birth name is Kwesiga George. Quex was a nickname given to me by a mate while were we in primary school. So, when I started out with music, couldn’t think of a better stage name than that. And for the fact that it has a direct relation to my first name; Kwesiga, it was really the one.
What first got you into music?
I don’t remember but what I can tell you is as early as my P3 (2003) at Mugwanya Preparatory school, I was already writing songs and organizing “mini concerts” where I performed at in my then school. So, I don’t think it (music) is something I chose, it’s something that chose me, I guess.
Sounds like music was a big part of you from your junior ages. Do you come from a musical family? Or something? And what their initial reaction when you joined music?
No, I don’t come from a musical family. My dad is a businessman and mum is a registered nurse who’s majored in sonography. I Am told my mum used to be an actress during her school days but about music, there’s no one with a musical background in my family line I can really think of. When I started out with music, my family did not support the idea at all as anyone would expect. Because of the bias most people have and the way they look at musicians. What might be strange but true is I do applaud them for not supporting me then because if it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have been able to put my brain to test and see what it could handle.
Who inspired you to make music?
Being a medic student at Mbarara University of Science and Technology who also does music, I came to realize that; today, the greatest risk to our health today is public health; so, with my music, I did realize I could sensitize, educate and create awareness on illnesses among other health-related concerns.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
My music is mostly as a result of imagination. I always ask myself questions like “if I were in this situation, what would I do? What would I say? Am I in love?”; so, it pretty much depends on how far my imagination can go. I do not fall in a specific genre but in the recent past, people appeal more to my works in reggae, RnB Zouk and dancehall.
What is your creative process like? (how do you come up with a song?) Take me through your creative process.
I try to be as original and Ugandan as possible; tackling things and culture and daily human experiences. The creative process usually varies. There is nothing specific that I do. To me writing a song is something I do every day; no matter the mood – I will always write a song. When I write, I put in a lot of time to think about how the song will impact the listener. Whereas some songs take me a few minutes to write to finish, others take hours, man. I rarely go to the studio with written material because I believe the best music is created when you as an artist and the producer are in synchrony. So, with a free mind, think of a story that would best appeal to your audience and write as many approaches to the beat as possible and then choose your best. Also, as an artist, I always prefer to trust in my instinct. Much as it is important to listen to what others have to say, you do not necessarily have to ditch your beliefs in your art since “you are the artist, your music is your painting.” Unlike in the actual production and all where you might not be that knowledgeable but when it comes to the message; – own it! Cuz we have seen many songs with mediocre production but have become hits, simply because of their message.
If all factors were constant, who is that one artist or artist you would most likely collaborate with?
I would like to work with anyone not necessarily “big” or “upcoming” as long as I see a unique quality about them. One thing we don’t understand is that the more we interact with different musicians, the more creative and better our minds get musically. So, if you (as an artist) being picky with whoever you would like to collaborate with only means you are limiting yourself and your ability to be diverse. Remember; “every big musician was once a nobody”, so I try as much not to underestimate anybody.
If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
To be honest, if I am opening for anyone, the best belief is going to “steal your show”. He joked.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Chase your dream. But again, do not limit yourself to that alone; if you can do something else- then do it. A dream achieved is not comforting in itself and you, therefore, need to have knowledge about what’s in your field. Also, in all you do, make sure you do have an impact on society. Do use your platform to positively influence society.
What is the most useless talent you have?
I can clap with one hand. (we both laugh about it for a few minutes) My other unrelated talents are, I am a good cook and am also great at basketball.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
I would still be trying to pursue my degree in Bachelor in Medicine and Surgery or I would be a chef, or fashion maybe; who knows? Because we are only as limited in our actions as our minds can be. That’s why I tell people not to limit themselves. And just because you fail at one thing does not mean there’s nothing else you can do. Everyone is blessed differently.
I understand you are a medical student. Which year are you, again? And please share with the readers how you are able to strike a balance between school, music and your personal life.
Yes, I am a medical student and in my fifth (5th) year of study. I would like to emphasize that medicine is a noble profession and it has its norms that one ought to observe. Of course, I have received a lot of criticism and support because of what I do but one thing I can tell you is it takes a few minutes to an hour to write a good song; so, if I have a holiday I can record up to 20 songs and when I get back to school, I sit down and study. When I release a song, I happen to have a group of friends that help me disperse the song. So, I literally don’t need to be there physically to do all this distribution and marketing work. My network helps me greatly. And of course, it’s all GOD. “Medical school is hard gwee! Who am I? how would even do all this if it weren’t for God?”, he emphasized.
With this era of the internet. How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business, from an artist’s perspective?
The internet has been a great help. As a student, I don’t think I would have the time to go to each bar, marketing and distributing music. Yeah, I do but not that much as compared to the impact the internet has on the life of an artist; – more so in this era of distributing and selling music digitally to be streamed or for download on platforms like Tidal, Deezer, Apple Music, and the likes.
About your debut album “KACHUMBALI”, what was the reception for the project like for the fans and audiences?
I must say “Kachumbali” and how people welcomed it was the most humbling moments from last year. Both the single and album both under the same name were released back to back. I made the album officially available to the world on the 12th of May 2019 on major digital platforms. In the past, I only used to upload my music to sites like Howwebiz, Blizmusic, Ugziki, and mp3jaja but with uploading my music to recognized and international avenues, I would be able to tap into the international and global audiences and markets. KACHUMBALI is an 8-track project and has singles in this order:
- What a Bum Bum (Feat. BigMo256 & Moya King)
- Dusk Till Dawn
- Lovely Woman (Feat. Galix Future)
- Nga Maazi (Feat. Moya King)
- Can’t Wait Tonight
Most tracks on there were produced by Genius Godi. Now back to your question. The fact that the album was released a year ago, but still has people talking about it shows that the project was as great an art itself. I must say “Kachumbali” as a single was the best and well appreciated single by most people. It was initially first welcomed by the students of Uganda Martyrs University in Nkozi before the now party anthem could spread to the rest of the campuses nationwide.
One funny thing that’s actually true is while at school, I blend in so well. Just like everyone else. Many of my classmates don’t even know I also double as an artist, besides being their classmate. That’s to show you that when am at school, I mean business.
Which famous musicians do you admire?
Internationally? It definitely has to be Lil Wayne. Weird I know. Because we do different genres but it’s just something about the way he delivers his message. In East Africa, Sauti Sol really do it for me and back here at home it is Dr. Jose Chameleon.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
One time I was confused about my career choices and I went to see my then Maths teacher in high school. I told him my challenges and that I felt like quitting. He told me to stick to whatever I was doing and that it would take me places. I now see he wasn’t wrong.
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
I Am of the view that we need to create a song that is specific to Uganda. Most of the music we are making is biased, copied from other countries. I do think that’s something we have to work on as an industry. I do appreciate the efforts of musicians like Kenneth Mugabi that are doing their very best to break this trend.
If you can have your fans remember one thing about you, what would you wish it to be?
Your dream does not necessarily mean you throw away your education. They can work hand in hand. Also, always make sure in whatever you do, you create a positive impact.
If you could date any other musician (Or celebrity), who would it be and why?
He played around this one and left without a specific name; saying; “Haaa! We might be here for a while kubanga (cuz) all of them seem nice”.
Remember, MTN and Tidal are here to enable you to stream and enjoy music from all your favorite artists and in Hi-Fi quality. Take the KACHUMBALI album for example. Simply download the Tidal music streaming mobile application today from Google Play or App Store, proceed to dial *165*66# to activate your 30-day free trial or to pay your subscription and listen to Quex Music’s singles and albums then. For instance, you could start with the album. Here’s a link: https://tidal.com/album/109228420