The year was 2008 when I started out my career at NBS Television in Uganda on the country’s premier breakfast Morning show “Morning Breeze”. The program line up was organised in a way that at the end of the political and business talk, there’d be a musical interlude at the end of the show to wind down the hard talk. This kind of production style was always a fantastic way at the time to grow the viewership for local music talent. Being the first morning show of its kind, this allowed us the hosts and co-producers of the show a chance, to every so often, through the production gallery, select music videos of our choice.
At the time, the dynamic duo that was Radio and Weasel of the Goodlyfe were fast rising to fame in Uganda with hits like ‘ability’ featuring Raba Daba, ‘nyumbani’, ‘Zuena’, ‘bread and butter’ etc. As show hosts we made selection line for the duos music every week that it sort of became customary even for the show’s fans to expect the same. Ugandans fell in love with the duos music and their music was the most requested on nearly every television show. Radio and Weasel were a breathe of fresh air to the music scene in Uganda and so was the the Morning breeze show hosted by my co-host and I, the news personalities. Their music and our careers took off about the same time.
Nine months into my TV career, I did auditions for a weekend breakfast radio show at Capital FM in Uganda and during the audition I remember the audition producer Shafique, asked me to introduce the first music break after a voice break and the song on action play was “Nyumbani” by Radio and Weasel. Days after the audition when I was called to start show co-hosting with ‘Hakeem-the-dream’, it was very evident that the entire show’s playlist for 91.3 Capital FM during that time was increasingly local music before international music. The top and most requested music on radio was put rotation. Hits such as ‘Zuena’, ‘taxi money’, ‘Mr. DeeJay’, ‘talk and talk’, ‘heart attack’ etc all featuring Radio and weasel dominated the charts. One could be forgiven for thinking it was only their music that made it to the top 20 hits. The duo worked so hard to release their music and have it play across the airwaves. Deservedly so.
Coming at a time when Ugandans were embracing more of their own artists music and less and less of the South African, Congo-DRC and Western (UK & US) music, it was a great time for them to thrive in their music career. They enjoyed the airplay just as much as the presenters/hosts including myself who played it and the listeners who time and again requested their music by the hour. Their concerts began to sell out even before their complete album recordings. And if an artist held a concert, the duo were on demand from the fans to feature at their concerts. (Back then in Uganda, it was once common practice to release audio music and have a concert without a complete album and no music videos and still sell thousands of copies of music – music video would follow weeks or probably months later.)
We loved the duo and they grew to become the darlings of the Ugandan music scene. Every record artist wanted a duet with them and they went for it with their creativity and dynamism. As show presenters, hosts and producers, ours was to critique the lyrics, make comparisons to their previous hit songs and play their music that they released every so often – hit after hit one after another. They now have hundreds of records to their name(s).
By the time I left the Ugandan TV and Radio Media scene for Kenya at the end of 2011, Radio and Weasel had grown to become such huge stars – their stardom had broken barriers and crossed the borders to the East African, African and International scene. They did us proud.
My career had grown too even broken barriers too haha. At the start of 2012, I moved to Kenya to continue growing my career and I remember copying to my 80GB iPod a whole bunch of pop music from Capital FM, one of my four previous employers. (I had been working as a TV and Radio personality concurrently on a Monday to Sunday Schedule and in between did Communications & digital consultancy gigs for various organisations while Emceeing & Moderating events) I wanted to carry a piece of Ugandan music that I could listen to when nostalgic and also for my listening pleasure. There is this song “mukama talya mandazi” by the duo that was not as popular as the rest of the dozens they had sung that I loved. It played every so often in my car radio until the iPod went ‘missing’.
That aside, the duo had built such a fan base in Kenya too, and beyond, and it was not a struggle to hear their music play regularly across the street from Nairobi’s music stores, pubs or clubs. Radio stations in Kenya played their music too and so did the entertainment Television shows. And that has been the case for the years that followed to date.
Fast forward to 2018, losing one part of the duo, Radio, at such a prime age is so heartbreaking to say the least. So appealing and entertaining have been Radio’s lyrics that the entertainment scene in Uganda respected him not just for his singing prowess but also for his song writing skills that saw many artists rise to fame with his skill.
You see, when someone within your age group passes on under the circumstances Radio did, abruptly, it is actually very sad. I’ve seen my career’s timeline through the duos music. It hurts to see someone so young, deeply talented and vibrant die under the alleged circumstances Radio did. Might it have been avoided? could he have had better medical care? Did whoever put him in that state have to do it? Could the situation have been handled better? Do record artists have skilled managers? Do they have asset acquisition advisors? Are investigations ever launched into situations that lead up to their deaths? How about health insurance, to afford them the best medicare? do they know about copyright and patenting of their content? What kind of company do they keep? So many unanswered questions.
God rest your soul, Moses a.k.a Mowzey Radio. I barely knew him and his partner-in-crime, Weasel. To him, Weasel, his part duo, his family, friends and loved ones – deepest condolences. And Like the saying goes, “Music is food for the soul” and so will Radio’s music live on. Pray, it will get better for the entertainment industry in Uganda and especially for the Musicians and record artists. So help us God.