Ugandan singer Juliana Kanyomozi has wowed audiences across Africa with her spanking hot debut on Coke Studio Africa in music mash up collaborations with Flavour – the Nigerian Ladies Man returning on the show for another season. The duo is so far the most talked about coupling of the show, mainly because of the excellence of their mash ups – the top voted songs for two weeks straight.
We can’t forget the chemistry between the two in the mash ups of Ololufe/Haturudi Nyuma and Juliana’s unreleased song Nakupenda. Both the mash ups emerged as most loved from the fans’ votes and will be included on the first ever Coke Studio Africa album.
It’s safe to say that anything Juliana touches turns to gold. She featured in the hit song Mpita Njia by Alicios Theluji, a song whose video has so far garnered over 2.5 million hits on YouTube. Fluent in Swahili, many remember Juliana’s collaboration with Kidum in the ballad Haturudi Nyuma.
I met Juliana during the recording of Coke Studio Africa III where she shared her journey in the music world. Many musicians usually realize their musical gifts as children while singing in church choir, but Juliana was a very shy child and didn’t have the courage to join the school choir. It was when she joined Namasagali College for her A – Levels that she discovered her singing voice and started performing in school productions.
The rest is history.
One of her major musical influences while growing up was her late father. She recounts how as a young man he would sneak from home to go play drums. However, his love for music never took to realization as his parents were very strict and didn’t approve of music as a career. Juliana says that while growing up it was only her father that she could analyze music with. He also encouraged her to pursue it as a career.
While many artistes today focus on making commercial songs for the money, Juliana chooses to focus on making music that will inspire her listeners. According to her, despite the developments in the African music scene, East Africans still have a long way to go in terms of quality.
“Artistes need to always challenge themselves to be better. This requires hard work and dedication,” she said, additionally stating that the government has a big role to play when it comes to addressing piracy.
Juliana wears many hats. Apart from music she has worked as a radio presenter at Capital FM Kampala, acted in a film Kiwani: The Movie and has been an East African brand ambassador for the international cosmetics company Oriflame. When asked about what her future holds she shared that if her music schedule allowed she would love to continue acting and cosmetology because she likes making people beautiful. Boy isn’t she beautiful… No wonder Flavour couldn’t stop staring into her eyes during their performances.
Written by James Wamathai, (adapted from the Coke Studio blog.