`If the music is good, I fall in love and do a cover for it’
Kampala, Uganda | AGNES E NANTABA | Nshuti Sarah Mbabazi has become famous for doing cover versions of songs by some of Uganda’s top musicians. Her Facebook videos have become a sensation. She has covered Elly Wamala, Mowzey Radio, Juliana Kanyomozi, Bobi Wine and Irene Ntale among others. Her talent is evident in how show is able to switch style and rendition to suit the artistic attributes of the greats. She also takes it a note hire by strumming a guitar during performance of the popular tunes.
Her breakthrough cover was ‘Nga Bwewakolanga’ tune by Elly Wamala. The feedback was overwhelming and some of her fans pointed her to doing her own music.
She says, “The feeling was different and being the pioneer of live covers with my voice and guitar, I was inspired to do more”.
Two years later, Nshuti is the popular cover gal on social media platforms.
To Nshuti, the choice of a song is a feeling that pushes her to grasp the lyrics within a onetime play.
She says, “If the music is good, I fall in love and do a cover for it”.
Nshuti has done several covers for songs like `Tambula Nange’ by Mowzey Radio (RIP), `Situka’ and `Tuliyambala Engule’ by Bobi Wine and `Halleluyah’.
Although she has broken through recently, Nshuti has a long connection to music, having been to it an early age of five by her mother who was a member of the choir at the Adventist Centre in Makerere, Kampala. They lived in the adjacent Wandegeya suburb. Nshuti has three siblings although she insists on identifying with her larger family beyond the nuclei.
As an adult, she says, she admired Ugandan guitarists like Aziz Azion and Irene Ntale who played the guitar. But it is South African singer-writer and guitarist Bulelwa Mkutukana – best known by her stage name Zahara, who inspired her to play. Back then she did not own a guitar but she got one in 2016.
“I didn’t know what to do with it or which chord to start with,” she says.
So she took on to self-training and watching video clips of lessons on YouTube. Initially, she had to read through the chords to produce a perfect cover. Today, she can play the guitar without having to first look at the chords.
She took the decision to do covers at the beginning of 2017 and says right from her first post of songs like `Silent Night’ and `Amazing grace’, her clips have received progressive reviews on YouTube and Facebook.
“The reactions are good and pushed me to do more with improvements,” says Nshuti, “I am made to understand that there is something that people love to keep hearing from me.” She also finds inspiration in the work of other women.
Nshuti is social worker but in December 2018, she decided to pursue music as a career.
“Music needs time,” she says, “I feel like I can do something good and unique.”
Her mission is to release her own music soon.
She believes as the local music industry progresses, more professional people, and live performances are the future.
“Live music is the real music and every musician should stand this test.”