At home I’m a mom, on stage I’m an artiste– Nakimera

She is one of East Africa’s leading female musicians. Being a people’s person, independent and an entertainer, Grace Nakimera began her musical career professionally in 2004 with Gatimo in a collabo “Ani Akumanyi” before going solo.Nakimera is a vastly talented Ugandan vocalist, dancer, composer and songwriter, who co-produces most of her songs alongside with her brother DJ Junior.
Grace Nakimera.Net photo.
Grace Nakimera.Net photo.

She is one of East Africa’s leading female musicians. Being a people’s person, independent and an entertainer, Grace Nakimera began her musical career professionally in 2004 with Gatimo in a collabo “Ani Akumanyi” before going solo.
Nakimera is a vastly talented Ugandan vocalist, dancer, composer and songwriter, who co-produces most of her songs alongside with her brother DJ Junior.

She seamlessly blends her Afro-Pop style with a touch of R&B and Soul and she is regarded by many as the Princess of Afro-pop.

The New TimesLinda M. Kagire recently caught up with the jolly singer during her recent trip to perform at the Uganda Night held at The Posh in Kigali and the following conversation ensued.

Q: Briefly who is Grace Nakimera?


A: Grace Nakimera is a mother, musician, businessperson—I am a people’s person. I like to make friends and music. Music is my life and passion. I am quite an easy girl, cool, down-to-earth but I am also very ‘crazy’, (giggles). I have a personality that flips sometimes.

Q: When were you born?

A: I was born in February 1985 in Namirembe, Kampala. In other words, I am a city born (laughs).

Q: When did you venture into music as an art?

A: My first performance was when I was seven years old with my brother Junior, who is also my manager. And from that moment on, I knew I wanted to do my music and I pushed it on till today. I have been doing music all my life, but professionally I started doing music in 2004. That is when I started recording.

Q: Now that you’re a mother, how do you balance between motherhood and your musical career?

A: You see when you’re at home you’re a mum but when you’re on stage you’re an artiste. It’s basically about how you take care of your life’s responsibilities.

Q: When you recorded “Ani Akumanyi” you were a trio of Grace, Gatimo and Paragon, now you went single. How are you handling as a solo act?
A: It’s not a joke. You have to keep pushing on hard. People are seldom used to seeing you as a group but then out of the blue you come out as a solo artist. So you coming out alone is quite a brave move so it wasn’t a joke for me but it’s paying off well because people are now accepting me as a solo musician and I thank and respect them for that.

Q: Where do you place yourself as a Ugandan female musician today?

A: Well, I think my presence is very strong and I can notice that. On stage, I am a great entertainer with a strong presence. I am also perceived as a responsible person by my fans, as a mother and businesswoman. However, I am still working hard to reach the sky.

Q: You and your brother Juju Junior have strong links together. What is that link that you share?

A: Our link is quite interesting because we have lived together all our lives. I lived here (in Rwanda) for more than two years and used to perform at the Hôtel des Mille Collines with John Papy Safari and Junior was performing at Cadillac at the time. We often perform together at some gigs and I love him as my brother.

Q: What brings you to Rwanda this time around?

A: Well I had an event at The Posh and it was a great show. Our fans had fun and that’s what matters most. We also enjoyed ourselves.

Q: How often do you plan to be performing in Rwanda?

A: That will depend on God’s plan. The next time God allows me another chance to come to Kigali, I will definitely come without hesitating. I want to be performing here as much as possible because I consider Rwanda my second home.

Q: What have you been up to musically?

A: We’re doing something very big in Kampala. There is a group of young orphans we are working with on a new video called “Ntandika”. We’re helping them in the video for a dance academy-the only dance academy in Uganda.
I am particularly excited about “Ntandika” because it’s going to be one of the biggest songs and it’s already doing well on the radio stations (back home).

Q: You and your brother share a certain bond and it’s rare to find siblings working together because they tend to have misunderstandings, especially when it comes to money. What makes the two of you manage to have a good relationship?


A: Definitely it’s not all that smooth and rosy. Of course sometimes we argue but we fix it immediately to avoid the negativity to control us. Junior is my mentor and my big brother—that’s the strong bond we share. He knows a lot about music production. So, I am always open to his ideas and advice.

Q: There have been a lot of controversies surrounding your marriage of late, what do you have to say about that?

A: I am happily married to the most loving and kind man in the world. I love my husband so much and we have a seven-year-old daughter. She is very beautiful. I can’t wait to see them!

Q: What is your latest project?
A: I am very excited about the level at which my music has reached. In Kampala, you know that you’re a working artiste when you work everyday. That means that people are reacting to your music and love it. It’s not only in Uganda because people in different countries want to work with us.

For example, we have different gigs in China, U.S.A, Dubai and South Africa after Ramadhan. Those are the projects I am currently working on and it’s an interesting challenge.

Q: Do you have beef with any artiste in Uganda, because apparently you said there are people you can’t work with?

A: The only person I can’t work with is Jose Chameleon because I don’t like him. I don’t have respect for people who don’t respect themselves. Other than that, he is a cool or rather ‘ok’ guy.

Q: Any plans of doing collabos with Rwandan artistes?


A: Yes, I am interested in two people and that’s Jay Polly and Knowless—they have interesting styles. But that can only work if they can cross over to Kampala for good quality and production purposes.

About Grace Nakimera
With her Afro-Pop style, Nakimera has become a force to reckon with in the Ugandan music industry. She is known for her prolific song-writing and singing ability.

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