Who is Benon Mugumbya? Flash Uganda Media looks at his biography, early life, wife, Age, music, songs and family of the founder and the face of Uganda’s music record label Swangz Avenue.
Benon Mugumbya who is simply called Benon is a musician, instrumentalist, producer, founder and the face of Uganda’s music record label Swangz Avenue.
Mugumbya was one of half-singing duo Benon and Vamposs that rocked Uganda’s music industry from the 2000s up to 2007 when Benon joined production and quit stage performances.
It was a trip of 2007 in the USA for a gig that opened his eyes to music entrepreneurship and he says he started Swangz Avenue with 1500 dollars but currently its a billion shillings project.
However, despite churning out several hits, Benon had not established himself as a household name in his own right. Mugumbya has been in an era where celebrities have been associated with tattoos, fancy hairstyles and some time ability to stir up controversy, Benon didn’t have any of that.
Early life and education
Benon Mugumbya was born on December 13th 1980 and Florence Mugumbya is the mother. Benon’s father died two weeks before his birth hence growing up with his mother. Mugumbya education journey started from Buddo junior school.
He later joined Ndejje secondary school for his secondary school and later changed to Namasagali College for his advanced level and it’s from this school that he linked up with his former music partner Vamposs original name Elvis Kirya.
Benon first made his name in the 2000s under a music duo Benon and Vamposs that started was while both were still at Namasagali. After finishing high school they both decided to start singing professionally and there first hit was Mumulete that was released in 2004.
The duo also had other successful singles like Nsazewo which was released in 2005, I know in 2007. Their song Mumulete made it to the top ten on UK MTV chart.
In 2009 the duo got a chance and went for a tour in the USA and while at the tour, Benon’s eye in music entrepreneurship was opened and he had around 1,500 dollars which he used to buy a sound card, computer, sound card and his brother offered him a mixer.
On their return from the states, they both agreed to pose the duo and start solo careers. Vampino started singing alone while Benon decided to concentrate more on his new career of becoming a music producer.
While speaking the Observer newspaper Benon said his career was going on very but not like the way he wished but already worked in production. He said that it was a huge gamble of joining production but he knew firmly what he wanted and nothing could stop him.
Benon’s love for production goes back so many years. He says in his six vacations in 2000 he used to hang around Eddy’s Goodenuf studios in Makindye from where he learnt production from.
Sometimes Benon could work at an internet café and this exposed him to various music programs such as Flooty Loops which he could use to make his beats.
From the start, Mugumbya ‘s career was built around his ability to produce great hits, a skill he got under the mentorship of Eddy Mpagi the other half of the famous Ngoni music group.
Eddy later left Benon to take full charge of Goodenuf studios whenever he was away. While at Goodenuf studios Benon says they worked as a team and the hit that stood out for him was Sweet lady by the late Mowzey Radio and this was viewed as Radio’s breakthrough hit’.
By 2005 Benon had established himself as the most prominent producer and that was the time Steve Jean the biggest producer at the time contacted him to join Fenon records. He says it was no brainer because Steve was one of his biggest inspirations. He had earlier worked with him on Nsazewo and appreciated his attention to detail and perfection.
Among his tasks at Fenon was to conjure a special something to propel the emerging careers of Radio and Weasel and Blue 3. They worked for two days and didn’t come up with something significant and just as they were about to give up, the magic came from nowhere and that it is how Where you are was done and according to Benon, it was done within one and half hours.
However, Benon says the concentration on radio adverts at Fenon saw him turn down his music career. He says it was hectic and he reached a point where he felt overwhelmed yet his passion was music production.
In 2008 Benon started Swangz Avenue in his bedroom because he wanted to follow his passion. Luckily Benon had made a lot of connections in the music industry and was greatly respected. Radio and Weasel came and recorded their track called Dagala and they were among the first artists that recorded his bedroom studio.
Later he moved the studio to Muswangali Avenue along Salama road and it’s from this name that got its name Swangz Avenue.
Swangz built a name in nurturing young talents such as Rabadaba and GNL that emerged in 2009. Along the way, Julius Kyazze joined and partnered with Benon to amplify the Swangz brand. Benon says Julius brought the business mind into Swangz which he never had.
Today Swangz Avenue is among the biggest record labels and it employs more than 100 people in various capacities even though some are part-timers. He acknowledges that the business is worth billions of shillings.
Benon Mugumbya Songs
- Wattu wotte
- Lwali luri
- The gal
- Sio ukweli
- My lady
- Nsaba omuveko
- Nkoye olugendo
- I know
- Nze nawe
- Mupenzi we
- Passa passa
- PAM awards, best RnB single, 2005
- PAM awards, best RnB single, 2005
- Kisima awards, best video, 2006
Benon tries to live a life without controversies but in 2012 his label Swangz Avenue was hit with controversy after their newly signed artist Sera died in unclear circumstances.
Benon says they had greatly invested in her but after her sudden death conspiracy theories started coming up which greatly affected the record label and its image.