Maurice Kirya is a Ugandan musician and actor best known for his ‘soul’ style of music. He spoke to Agnes E. Nantaba about his music journey.
Explaining his preference for ‘soul’ music, Maurice Kirya says he wanted to do music that resonates well with Ugandans.
“It took me about four years to come up with the sound after figuring it out as a fusion of Ugandan vocal intonation and instruments and western soul music,” he says. Having spent his earlier years in music as a rapper and dance hall artist, Kirya is not only a musician now but also an actor and entrepreneur.
Being the second last born in a family of five, it never crossed the mind of young Maurice that he would ever be a musician, though his career dream was close to it; being an actor. Music however, was normal business in the home as everyone would sing and dance.
Not until he reached 12 did Maurice’s elder sister open the doors to realize the potential in grabbing people’s attention through music.
“I remember my sister taking me to an only boys’ school in Namugongo and dressing me like a girl because it was the only way to sneak into the dormitory and sing,” said Maurice, also adding, “In the process of singing, everyone went quiet staring at me which was not only a special moment but also tickled in me that I can be professional musician”.
Kirya was born in Jinja but raised in Najjanankumbi, a Kampala suburb. As the family kept shifting to the different suburbs of the city, Maurice ended up attending nine primary schools until he completed at Nakivubo Blue Primary School and his A-levels at Kampala Citizens College.
He attended 9 primary schools
But even in such an environment, Maurice and his siblings kept good-mannered thanks to their mother who instilled discipline in them.
In 1999, Maurice released his first ‘album’ though people never got a chance to listen it for reasons best known to himself. Ten years later, he released his first single official album ‘Misubbaawa’ as a new style of music for a young man.
Aside from music, Maurice has shown talent as a lead actor in movies including Live Joseph, The Painter, Sins of the Parents and most recently Queen of Katwe.
On his rating of Uganda’s music industry, Maurice says, “we are right where we need to be because as person who has been doing it for twelve years, I see young people doing things we didn’t do at such an age and to me that is progress.”
Professionally, in East Africa, he adds that Uganda is the most professional music industry basing on how musicians can survive at the level of a prime minister. It is progress knowing that music is big business in Uganda.
He has lived to admire Ugandan songstress Juliana Kanyomozi for one reason, “she doesn’t need a hit to keep high as Juliana.”
I share traits with Bob Marley
Any three things we don’t know about you?
Music, entrepreneurship and acting describe Maurice Kirya.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
It is about contentment; I could own something but it doesn’t define my happiness. Rather being contented with who you are and what you have should bring about happiness.
What is your greatest fear?
Guilt; I ammost likely to hurt someone’s feelings by telling the truth than be guilty.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
I hate liars because it makes us waste so much time. You may not tell the absolute truth but let what you say lead us to something positive.
Which living person do you most admire?
My little brother Leonard Kirya; he takes up after my mother’s good heart. I can’t compare myself to him because I am only an honest but not nice person like him.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I have a soft spot for the ladies, which makes me spend a little too much on them.
What is your current state of mind?
I have a very clear perspective of where I am coming from and where I am in life knowing my flaws and strengths.