Charly na Nina explain ‘Embeera Zo’ controversy

Within days of the release of ‘Embeera Zo’, her collaboration with Charly na Nina, Ugandan dancehall sensation Sheebah Karungi had got new ideas.

She returned to studio and redid the song, this time with another Rwandan musician, Bruce Melodie.

In the second version, Melodie sings the same verses that were sung by Charly na Nina in the first version.

This has left local music fans wondering what could have happened.

On Thursday, the duo sought to clear the air about what transpired in an exclusive interview with The New Times. Accompanying the two was their management team consisting of DJ Pius and Dennis Rwema.

“Sometime last year, Sheebah’s management approached Charly na Nina. They had the song already so it’s not like it was our song. It’s their song. Sheebah had a song and she wanted to do it with them. Of course it was a good opportunity and they agreed to do the song,” said Pius.

“The audios were done and what was left was videos…Meanwhile, Bebe Cool (another Ugandan artiste) had agreed to do a song with Charly na Nina, so there were two projects around the same time,” he added.  

So what exactly caused the fallout?

“We had limited time. These girls flew in (Kampala) on Thursday, had a show on Saturday, and had to be back in Kigali on Sunday because on Monday they had to process their visas for the upcoming European tour. So we did not have the time to shoot two videos in that short timeframe, and that is what we tried to explain to Sheebah’s manager, who insisted that if we were shooting with Bebe Cool, then they would release ‘Embeera Zo’ as a solo song for Sheebah. So it ceased to be our song from then onwards,” explained Pius.

“All the songs are important, but we didn’t have the time to shoot two videos in four days when we even had a show. We didn’t even know that Bruce Melodie was part of this,” noted Nina.

“We suggested shooting the video at a later date, but Sheebah’s team turned the idea down,” Charly chipped in.

The girls instead found solace in ‘I Do’, their project with Bebe Cool.

DJ Pius explained that while the song with Bebe Cool is a collaboration, Charly na Nina had only featured in Sheebah’s ‘Embeera Zo’.

“There’s a difference between a collaboration and featuring. Featuring is when someone already has a song and wants you to be a part of it, and it belongs to the one who takes the initiative to approach the other. In the project with Sheebah it was Sheebah featuring them. You can’t plan for a song that’s not yours, you plan for a song over which you have control, which is the collaboration. You also share costs of production and promotion and everything.”

“For Sheebah’s project it was not upon us to organise for the song’s video. So as they planned for its video we were also planning our video shoot with Bebe Cool.”

Charly na Nina are currently gearing up for their musical tour of Europe, for which they jet out on May 1. They are scheduled to perform in Brussels, Lille, Paris, Geneva and Stockolm.


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