Moses Ssali, popularly known as Bebe Cool is an accomplished musician in Uganda and one of the top renowned artistes in the region.
He has won several awards both at the regional and international music scene. These include the award for Best Video at the Channel O Music Video Awards 2007 and about nine awards, in different categories, at the Pearl of Africa Music Awards—2004-2011.
The Ugandan Ragga and Dancehall icon was nominated for the Best East African Artiste at the Kora Awards 2003 and Best East African Song at the Tanzania Music Awards 2011.
As a songwriter and composer, Bebe Cool has toured Africa, United Kingdom and America and some of the events he has participated in include; performing at Nelson Mandela’s 90th birth day celebrations, among others.
Bebe Cool, 37, is husband to model and former Miss Uganda contestant Zuena Kirema and the couple has four children.
The Kasepiki hitmaker was in Rwanda last weekend for Uncle Austin’s album launch and The New Times’ Sarah Kwihangana interviewed him about what he thinks of Rwanda’s music industry. Excerpts;
Q. How many times have you performed in Rwanda, and how do you feel when you’re always invited to perform in this country?
A. This is the fourth time I am performing in Rwanda, though one of those events was a private event.
I am happy that I am among the artistes, who are always invited to perform in Kigali and I always look forward to doing it better. I hope that one day I will be even in better position to showcase who Bebe Cool really is.
Q. The level Uganda has reached in music is higher than you can imagine. What do you think of Rwanda’s music industry?
A. Every journey starts with a step; the music industry here is still young but growing. If I compare the two countries, artistes in Rwanda have a very big chance; they’re talented though they don’t have that direction as yet.
You cannot blame them because they don’t have that background just like we were in Uganda 15 years ago. But with work they are doing so good today, believe me this is a very good step for Rwandan music.
Even if the Ugandan music industry is very far, it’s because of where they come from and I am sure Rwanda will also get there.
Q. How would you compare Rwandan artistes with those in Uganda?
A. I like the attitude and the way artistes carry themselves here. They are not rough and controversial like in Uganda. The discipline and the fact that the musicians here are not relying so much on drugs to stay on top of their game like it is in Uganda is amazing.
With the industry of Rwanda and the little step it has gone it’s a good and clean one and I pray and hope that they maintain that.
Q. You have been in the music industry for close to 25 years and your music is still highly appreciated. How have you managed to keep up your game?
A. Some people will call it a game but me I call it life. Music is my life and you can not play with your life, what I look forward to everyday when I wake up is to do better in my music.
Keeping up the pace is a must and also the hard work that people do appreciate at the end. The audience and the media who appreciate our efforts and keep us up there, that’s how we have managed to stay on the charts.
Q. You have done so many songs, of all the songs you have sang which one is your favourite?
A. Never trust no people; is my best song. It’s one of my old songs, it’s a Ragge tune but it means a lot to me, because it’s a real daily life thing. You want to trust people but you don’t want to trust them because they mess you up. So you are better off if you don’t because people will always be people and nature is nature.
Q. What are you currently working on back home?
A. I will be holding my biggest annual concert this weekend and that is the launch of my new album, Cocodiosis slated for September 6. After that I will be back in studio because that’s where I am always.
Q. Any message to the youth who want to follow your footsteps?
A. To the youth out there, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from. Identify who you want to be and start creating a journey to where you want to go. Have a plan, have a goal and start your way to your goal. I advise young people to abstain from alcoholic drinks and drugs in order have a better future.