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Eddy Kenzo, Uganda’s first Grammy nominee

Eddy Kenzo is nominated for the Grammy Awards 2023. His track “Gimme Love” in collaboration with the American singer Matt B is nominated in the category “Best World Music Performance”.

Eddy Kenzo doesn’t know exactly when he was born, an oddity in his personal story central to the Ugandan singer’s self-image: a humble man who sometimes worries about what is to come.

But Kenzo, who became the first Uganda-based singer to be nominated for a Grammy, continues to reach heights that exceed his expectations, those of his fans and his rivals in the East African country where his work is sometimes questioned.

Some Ugandans consider his musical style to be rather playful and not a great singer. But others see the creative potential in his experiments that make him an artist with original gifts.

For Kenzo, every recognition of his work is a reminder of how far he’s come.

To be honest, I’m very touched. I’m so nervous at the same time‘” Kenzo said of his nomination in an interview with AP. “I thank God I was able to do that.

World’s best musical performance

The song “Give me Love” by Kenzo, a collaboration with American singer Matt B that began with a chance meeting in Los Angeles, is nominated for a Grammy in the Best World Music Performance category.

Recalling their meeting, Kenzo says he felt a connection to Matt B’s own commitment to success when he found the chorus of “Gimme Love” when the American singer brought his family to the recording studio.

I looked at these kids and I thought, man, everyone deserves love. You know, these people deserve to be supported and loved so that their dreams can come true.” he explained.”That’s why I told him you know what? let’s give love Yes. And then I started with this intro, “gimme love”.

Kenzo, whose real name is Edirisa Musuuza, won a BET Award 2015 as Viewers Choice for Best New International Artist, the first and only Ugandan to be so honored. The award followed his breakout song “Sitya Loss,” which featured a video featuring kid dancers whose energetic performances caught the attention of world stars such as Ellen DeGeneres.

The song was a nod to Kenzo’s humble beginnings in a remote part of central Uganda, as a poorly educated child who didn’t know where his next meal would come from. By his own account, Kenzo spent 13 years on the road after losing his mother when he was just 4 years old. He didn’t know who his father was, and he didn’t find out about some of his siblings until he was an adult.

He wanted to be a footballer and even used his talent to win a scholarship to boarding school, but then gave up and went back to the scam that he said made him a man.

He recorded his first single in 2008 and rose to fame in 2010 with the song “Stamina”, loved by politicians, lovers and others for its youthful energy. In addition to winning awards, Kenzo is frequently invited to perform around the world.

Three days before learning he was nominated for a Grammy, Kenzo held a festival in Kampala attended by thousands of people, including Uganda’s prime minister. It was a proud moment for a singer whose music is often ignored by local FM stations and who can make or break a song thanks to DJ picks.

Kenzo also feels more valued abroad than at home.

My biggest fan base is outside of Uganda because the world is bigger than Uganda‘ he said thoughtfully. ‘Uganda is just a small country.’

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