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I used to save money from my small video library and a boutique for Studio Time – Apass

June 10th, 2015 | by admin
I used to save money from my small video library and a boutique for Studio Time – Apass
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I used to save money from my small video library and a boutique for Studio Time – A pass

A pass is one of Uganda’s finest songwriters and vocalists. He has a few songs to his name like Tetubaty, Wuuyo, Tetubatya among others but he has also written several songs for other artists including Ugandan singer, Bebe Cool.

A pass is a four time nominee in the upcoming Zzina Awards. He met up with our elite team at Badi Studios in Makindye and talked about his personal life and music.

Tell us about your childhood, time at school and family back ground?

First of all; A pass is Alexander Bagonza born in a family of five. My childhood memories are epic because I was a stubborn kid.

I went to Kampala Kindergarten and Nursery School, Nakasero Primary School, Merryland High School and St. Lawrence College.

I later joined Makerere University where I did Bachelors in Networking. I like to talk about education and I think that’s why many people call me A pass, the teacher.

How did you end up a professional musician?

As any other kid interested in music, I used to mime at school on some events. I also used to write music from my early days. I feel lucky that I used to write music by senior one.

I also used to listen to a lot of music from Vampos, Benon, Maurice Kirya, Chameleone, Bobi wine, Bebe cool and Michael Ross.

I never took my self so seriously because many people used to discourage me from joining the music that I loved on grounds that I wouldn’t manage to compete favorably.

I clearly remember them say… ‘You are participating…g not competing’. However with the right company and some talent I persisted and I believe my dream has started bearing fruit.

Where did the name A pass originate?

My name, A pass came about when I was still in school. My classmates called me Pass because I was a good football player known for making good passes.

It was only later during my A-level that I decided to have a hand in naming myself when I added an ’A’ before the Pass making it Apass with ‘A’ standing for Alexander.

I did so because I didn’t like the direction it was taking. Some people had started calling me Pass man. I didn’t like the idea because I found it quite old-fashioned since almost everyone that was doing dancehall music had named himself using the suffix, man;  Bennieman , elephant man and  banjo man among others.

When I finally joined music, I decided to maintain the stage name Apass.

What challenges have you encountered in the music industry since you joined?

I would say Tulikubigere says a lot about my struggle. Indeed; I have gone through a lot. I remember some few years back when I was still at campus, I used to foot from Makerere to Mengo so as to do some recording at Southside Studios.

I used to own a small video library on Kampala-Gulu Highway towards Kawempe and a small boutique which my dad had setup for me. I was so musical that I used that I listened to a lot of music while at work till late.

I would save my money for my lunch and transport so that I have enough to pay at the studio where I was doing my music. I would only eat a doughnut and a Safi for my lunch so that I have enough to save.

Nevertheless, my music was always done in a hurry since I was not paying the producer well. I I could only afford to pay shs 8,000 per session. This was not enough to make the producer accord me enough time since there were always more musicians waiting in line with more money.

It however feels good that I have now started to enjoy the fruits of my music which is being appreciated by several audiences despite the challenges. 

How do you describe the music you do and what is your inspiration?

All I can say is that my music is in my mind. I don’t take on the Ugandan idea where the producer has to make the beats and then the singer crafts a song from it.

I always want the producer to work according to my idea. I am the one who knows what I want my music to sound like.

Some people at times tell me, you should have done this like that referring me to their own style but I believe that one needs to understand that music is not a wedding that everything has to go as planned. I don’t follow routine as many people do because in most of my songs one can tell that I can decide to begin with a verse or chorus and also that the number of bars is not the usual one.

I can decide to begin with a four bar intro followed by a four bar verse and then an eight bar chorus so that is my type of music and I am always inspired by my daily life.

How is A pass managed?

At the moment A pass is his own manager but currently, I have people helping me to have my work done where ever I am. My brother Steven and sister Maurine are currently responsible for my bookings as I concentrate on the music.

I am not rushing to sign a record deal because you never know; A pass might sign the biggest record label in the world. So having a record label as of now is not my priority.

Who do you look at as the greatest influence in your carrier?

I think I am the greatest influence because if I had not care then there would never have been an Apass at all.

I also must say that my mum has been like the foundation of my life.  My dad has also played a big role in making me who I am and I think Maureen and Steven have also done their best.

Separately and in a very special way; allow me say that Badi is the foundation of A pass’ success. If Badi hadn’t brought me from South side, I would still be hustling. Badi; I salute you.

Which artists have you written music for?

I have written songs for several musicians but I can’t say their names if they are not proud enough to say it themselves.

However, some like Bebe cool have commended my hard work and have said it out to the public so I find it easy to reecho it.

However, for those who can’t say it out proudly; I take no offense because I am an artist and I know that every artist has set priorities for their brand.

And where do you see A pass in the next 5 and 10 years?

A pass is to be Uganda’s biggest musician by then. I believe I will have several songs that will have gone international by then.

I have interacted with Jamaican producer responsible for the production of my Tetubatya track. I was impressed when I received his call from Jamaica as he confessed how I had done the track justice.

I also think that I will be a dad of probably two or three at that time hopefully with my girlfriend who I love and respect so much.

Lastly, what message do you leave with your fans?

I am an easy man who doesn’t like hype and so I encourage that they just stay calm and wait as the whole A pass experience unfolds.

And for my fans who are still in school, they should take an example from me. Education comes first before any success, so they should stay in school till they are done.

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