Edrisah Musuuza, stage name Eddy Kenzo is a Ugandan singer, music executive, Businessman, song writer and a father.
Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo is the CEO of Big Talent Entertainment, he received international attention after the release of his 2014 single, “Sitya Loss” and an accompanying viral video that featured the Triplets Ghetto Kids.
In total, he has released 4 albums, including a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award in 2018, a BET Award in 2015, and multiple All African Music Awards.
He’s also a popular African musician in the world.
Early life and Education
Kenzo was born Edrisah Musuuza in Masaka District, Uganda. He later turned Eddy Kenzo when he began his music career as his stage name.
Kenzo was born to Muzeyi Hassan Kiwalabye in the year he did not recognise, because his mother died when he was a young boy and yet, he did not grow up with his father to know much about his birth.
However, he thinks by today he’s 29 years of age. Kenzo is the first born to a family of three, from his mother and father that’s him, his brother Mande, Kisakye and the late Nambooze.
But his mother had another child from another man, unfortunately she got lost, Kenzo looked for her and failed to locate her whereabouts. Her name is Beth Namugumya.
Kenzo’s mother died when he was 4 years old, he believes! because he’s not sure of his age. And spent the following 13 years living largely on the streets of Masaka and Kampala.
Growing up in Masaka District, Kenzo attended P.3 by Primary School in a local Primary School in Masaka , he did not attend other classes. He says by Primary, because he did not follow up the school protocol as it’s meant to be.
After P.3 class, Kenzo joined street life and started hustling for survival. However, after some years, Kenzo returned to school joining Lubiri Secondary School and studied S.1, S.2 & S.3 class. Then again he dropped out of school, he did not attend S.4 class.
Initially, at the age of 9, Kenzo aspired to be a professional footballer and joined Masaka Local Council FC’s camp. But after a short while he moved to Kampala City where he achieved a school bursary to attend Lubiri S.S.
Kenzo later returned to an adult school and attained all the school qualification right from Primary Certificate, UCE that’s for O-Level and UACE for S.6. he however, says very soon he will be joining Higher Institutions of Learning for more additional qualifications.
He says, he returned to school because education is the order of the day, and he’s not sure of what the future has at hand for him.
Work and Experience
Kenzo began working at the age of five, almost he spent all the years he has lived working. After the death of his mother, Kenzo started working hard for survival.
In his childhood story, Kenzo says he lived in different homestead, helping them with domestic work, particularly rearing cattle. In this case, he was raised in different homes with different guardians in Masaka, before he started living on the streets.
In 2008, Kenzo began his musical career using his stage name, Eddy Kenzo. That year, he released his first song titled “Yanimba” with Mike Wine.
In 2010, he released another single, “Stamina.” This song was used as a theme song by many politicians during the 2011 Ugandan general elections. Particularly, NRM Party which hired him then, to conduct Museveni’s Presidential campaigns.
In 2011, Kenzo also established his Big Talent Entertainment record label early on, in his career.
Kenzo continued releasing new music in 2012. In 2013, he held his first concert at the Kyadondo Rugby Club that year in support of the track, “Kamunguluze”.
In 2014, Kenzo’s achieved his first major international breakthrough through his “Sitya Loss” Single and the accompanying album of the same name.
“Sitya Loss” You Tube video featuring a group of Ugandan children known as the Triplets Ghetto Kids dancing to the song went viral, after it was shared on social media by record executive, Sean Combs. This as well contributed to Kenzo’s international fame.
Kenzo also started a petition to earn the children an appearance of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Today in 2019, the video has accumulated over 22 million views on You Tube. After the release of “Sitya Loss” and the album of the same name. Kenzo also went on a brief United States tour with dancehall musician, DeMarco.
He also produced a remix to his 2014 single, “Jambole”, with a guest appearance from Nigeria singer, Kcee.
Kenzo was the first East African artist to win a BET Award of any kind and in July 2015, he performed at the KigaliUp Music Festival in Rwanda’s capital.
In October 2015, Kenzo released a remixed version of his song, “Mbilo Mbilo,” featuring Nigerian singer, Niniola.
Later on, the original version of Mbilo Mbilo appeared on the soundtrack for the 2016 film, Queen of Katwe.
In December 2015, Kenzo released the lead single, “Soraye”, off his second album, “Zero to Hero”. While in March 2016, he went on a tour Africa, with stops in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Mali, and others.
Again in December, Kenzo released ‘Zero to Hero’. Throughout the remainder of 2016, Kenzo earned a writing credit on Jidenna’s” Little Bit More”, was featured on the Mi Casa single “Movie Star”. And in the same year, he went on another US tour.
In May 2017, Kenzo was named the ambassador of the Kenyan Tourism Board and was appointed to a similar role in Uganda the following year.
In July 2017, Kenzo went on a European tour ahead of the release of his third studio album, “Biology”, a month later. Guest Artists like Mani Martin, Werrason, and Mi Casa, among others featured in the Album.
It also featured the single “Jubilation”, which had an accompanying music video.
In July 2018, Kenzo performed alongside Triplets Ghetto Kids at multiple African music festivals in Canada, including Afrofest in Toronto still in Canada.
Later in 2018, Kenzo as well performed at the One Africa Music Festival in Dubai. While in October 2018, he released his fourth studio album, “Roots”, which featured the single “Body Language”.
In 2019, Jan, 4, Kenzo celebrated a 10-year anniversary in active music and in this case, he held a concert in celebration of his time as a musical artist, at Serena Hotel Kampala, Victoria Ballroom.
Leading up to the concert, Kenzo released a new music video for a song from Roots each week for two months.
In March 2019, it was declared that Kenzo would be featuring alongside Triplets Ghetto Kids in an upcoming music video for American singer Chris Brown’s “Back to Love”. While in April 2019, Kenzo released the single. “Signal” with an accompanying music video.
In 2015, Kenzo launched a charitable organisation called the Eddy Kenzo Foundation. In January 2016, he enlisted Ugandan footballers, Tonny Mawejje and Vincent Kayizzi, to help donate goods to nursing mothers and staff at the local Masaka hospital.
In July 2017, Kenzo hosted two charity football matches in Masaka and Kampala that featured Victor Wanyama. The event was aimed at raising funds for Ugandans children surviving with HIV.
In March 2019, he opened the Big Talent Soccer Academy in Kampala. The Academy identifies local youth talent and provides education to help foster their skills.
Activities after work
Kenzo’s work time ends at 5pm, at 6pm he’s always at the pitch, playing football.
- Yanimba 2008 (feat. Mike Wine) non album singles
- Stamina, 2010
- Sitya Loss, 2014
- Mbilo Mbilo, 2015
- Soraye, 2015
- Jubilation, 2017
- Body Language, 2018
- Stress Free
- Signal, 2019 album to be announced and others.
- Sitya Loss
- Zero to Hero
Kenzo has so far won a numbery of Award since 2011 until date. These includes; the Pearl of Africa Music Awards in the category of Best New Artist in 2011.
In 2015, Kenzo won the BET Awards, Viewer’s Choice Best New International Artist category.
In March 2018, Kenzo won a Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award as the “Favourite African Star”. He would later donate that Award along with his 2015 BET Award to the Uganda Museum in Kampala.
Kenzo took and kept the Awards at Uganda Museum, because he wanted them to serve as an inspiration to the young musician, and to the next generation to bring similar Awards or better Awards.
“We are Ugandans! and the generation to come are Ugandans. I wanted to put an impression such that the next generation or young musicians are inspired to bring home ‘Grannie Awards’ if at all I don’t bring it or other BET Awards. That’s why I took them to the Museum to become public for everybody.”
In 2015, still Kenzo won the HiPiPo Music Awards, Best Use of Social Media category.
In 2016, Kenzo won the All Africa Music Awards, Best African Collaboration category for his “Mbilo Mbilo” remix.
And the Zanzibar International Film Festival, Best East African Music Video Award category in the year 2016 still.
In 2017, Kenzo returned home with the Tuma Music Awards, Artist of the Year and Best Male Artist category.
And again in 2017, he won the All Africa Music Awards, Best East African Male Artist and Song of the Year category.
While in 2018, Kenzo won the International Reggae and World Music Awards, Best African Entertainer category.
And also the Africa Muzik Magazine Awards, East African Artist of the Year category in the year 2018.
Kenzo began a romantic relationship with Ugandan recording artist Rema Namakula, and on 26 December 2014, Rema Namakula gave birth to a daughter named Aamal Musuuza at Paragon Hospital, in the Kampala neighbourhood of Bugolobi.
But, Edrisah Musuuza has another daughter named Maya Musuuza, from a previous relationship.
For quite long, rumours have been circulating that the two Singers, Rema and Kenzo are no longer in good terms as far as their relationship is concerned.
With rumours that Kenzo left home and lived in his studio house in Makindye. And for six months she had left home and lived in a rented house but could come home some times.
But they ever denied saying all is well with them, until end August 2019, when Social Media was shocked with news of Rema’s marriage to a man named Hamza Ssebunya, a gynaecologist based in Mulago National Referral Hospital Kampala.
Kenzo who was away in the US music tour at the time Rema unveiled her introduction ceremony due to happen in November 2019, with Doctor Ssebunya who she now lives with in Kyaliwajala, upon getting the news penned down a tearful long letter to his estranged lover Rema, which he posted on his Social Media platforms saying it okay! and it all happens in life.
He also rushed to the studio and composed a song “Bibawo” meaning it happens. That’s how their 5-year relationship ended.
Although some social media in-laws seem not happy and not in support of their separation and their wish, is that the two get united again.
Earlier before the news of their break up featured in the media, Kenzo onetime said that he feels good when he’s talked about in the media, and says he feels good to see that people would love to see him and Rema stay together as a couple. He says if it was likewise, he would feel hurt.
“If you are not talked about then you are nobody, never be nobody. Me I am a street man, and we say if you want to survive the street, deal with everybody meet them, but make sure that you cling to somebody, but not everybody! for you to reach somewhere.”
He however, says the reason why the public is so much interested in their relationship issues is because they are both public figures. And so their fans have a right to know what goes on in their lives.
How and where Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo met ex-lover Rema, their first encounter?
Kenzo met Rema way back at WBS TV, she had come along with Halima Namakula, by then, they were singing WBS TV songs which no longer exists. “I admired her, because she was a young girl and I was young as well, and her voice was extra good. She sung Maama song yet my mother died. I then realised that the song was really from heart, because she lost her mother too. And she was crying saying mother you died what should I do in this world without you.”
“I was so touched in that song and I never forgot the person who sang it, and from there I started following her. It’s a long story for Rema. She became my friend and we could always be together in the studio, and that’s Remix Power Studio, by then it was D- Record owned by sweet kid.”
I wrote to her some songs, we became great friends and worked together as a team. And in the time they were friends and relating, Rema became pregnant.
“And I am a God fearing man so I couldn’t ask her to abort no. so, the baby came unplanned for, and we went ahead with what has come before us. We couldn’t reject God’s plan; you always need to embrace what God has thrown unto your hands.”
That when the world came to know that Kenzo and Rema are in a relationship. However, during that time, Bebe Cool came in the picture trying to block their relationship arguing that Rema is young for Kenzo. That was the time Rema had left Gagamel team owned by Bebe Cool.
But Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo says she was young to Bebe, but to him she was not, because they belong to the same age group.
“It was so much of a competition in music, he felt defeated because Rema had crossed over to another camp. Getting a boyfriend was not the issue to Bebe Cool, but the issue was defeat business wise. Because if Rema had gotten any other man, it would be a normal thing to Bebe, but since she had gotten a competitor, it disturbed him a lot, and that’s why he took it personal.”
Edrisah Musuuza Worst moment in music
The days Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo was identified to be illuminati. He says this was so hurting, because he personally believes in Uganda’s culture.
“I was born and grew up in Uganda, I will die and be buried in Uganda, so I respect culture, and I respect myself. So, if anyone comes out and says that i practice those western cultures, it annoys me, because I respect Africanism. And why they say I am illuminati, is because I am so blessed, I am invisible.”
Another moment was the time Kenzo was said to be a homosexual. He says the rumour originated from those of Jeffe and Goodlfye crew camp circle.
After he went to South Africa and shot his ‘Stress Free’ music video. To them it was a big blow and an extra mile for Kenzo, because it was the most expensive video ever made in Uganda.
It was hard for them to accept that it was done by mere Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo. So, they had to create something to bring him down, and that’s when rumours emerged and went viral that he is a homosexual.
“They started posting the information on their social media platforms, that’s Mozy Radio, Jeffe and Weasel, meaning it was a conspiracy of the crew. They held a meeting to paint a bad picture about Kenzo, the competitor coming, good enough they succeeded, the story went viral, because it was a breaking story.”
“But with time, I forgave them by the time Mozy died, he was my good friend, today Weasel is my brother, because I know either they made a mistake, they were used, I understood and I forgave them and I am here still Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo. No matter what you talk about me! you will never remove reality, until I do it. You can’t fight God’s plan.”
“So, the story against me may remain in history, but I know I am not. I forgave Jeffe Kiwa, because when I meet him, I greet him; I can’t lie to you that I do talk to him, but when I find him I say hi.”
What limits Uganda music to cross borders
“Fear to make mistakes. We don’t want to be creative! we need to change the kind of music we do here in Uganda, like the whites do, they have variety. If at all we want to sell our music beyond Uganda’s borders.”
Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo is a song writer
Kenzo writes his own music, ever since the time he started singing. But sometimes when he’s in the studio with a creative mind, they share ideas, especially with Andre. He gives him different ideas and good melodies.
And sometimes when he’s in the studio with Oman Rafic, he as well contributes to the song, because he’s a creative mind.
“I get a mic and start composing a song according to what I feel, any time I can create a song. If you want me to compose a song for you, I get my idea sell it you and you either take it or reject it.”
Why Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo is so loved outside Uganda
“People realised that my music has a genius mind. Western countries listen to music, but here in Uganda people listen to lyrics, which is culture, and lyrics is best for home consumption. I sat and said Uganda has 40m people, what about those in the diaspora? I said to myself that I want to sing to numbers, so I became more creative.”
“Those who understood me well and good, and those who did not it okay! Because my mission is to win bigger audience. sometimes people don’t understand it, but me I don’t mind, provided I have done what I want and succeeded.”
“One of my videos, Maria Roza dance video has 27m views and it’s soon reaching 30m. it combines all the music contents Ugandan has ever sung, ever since music business emerged in Uganda.”
“Jose Chameleon is like the next artist, he’s in 10m and above views. So if people say that I am not trending in Uganda, yet, trending in the diaspora, I get confused. Because I still remain great, when my fans in Uganda are combined with those in the diaspora.”
Kenzo sells his music on internet. Online sells are far better than arranging stage performances. He says stage performance are costly, because it involves a lot of expenses.
Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo personally markets his music online, through his record label named “Big Talent” which partner with Twin Core, in selling his music online.
“When I release a song, it features in over 60 countries, because it becomes available on over 40 music stores.”
Kenzo turns down the 2016 Tubonga Nawa campaigns
In 2011 presidential campaigns, the ruling NRM Party contacted Eddy Kenzo to pilot their presidential campaigns through his song ‘Stamina’. So Kenzo sang at the opening ceremony of the presidential campaigns and after they gave him 2m.
But then later in a press conference, NRM announced that the president has offered a car (Toyota Land Cruiser V8 or VX) to Eddy Kenzo.
So, they informed Kenzo that Muzeeyi has loved your music, offered you a car and we would like you to sign a contract, to work on all his presidential campaigns, elections he won later.
But unfortunately, Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo never received the car, because some individuals blocked his way.
“I tried to approach many people as I was directed, but they could tell me go and see the next office, like that like that. They even took him to the car bond and told the guys he will come and pick it, but it all ended there until today.”
“At that time, I was so young and excited to work with the president. They informed me I would find my money at the NRM office, then they asked me to come back and sign the contract. Remember, I was the one who sang at the opening day of campaigns under a theme: “Muzeeyi alina Stamina paka last”. The theme was then indicated on all campaign vehicles in Uganda. Then I thought I would earn the money, but it never happened until today.”
“I got dressed up in the NRM T-Shirt, and inspired many youths who joined the campaign since I was young as well, and we worked for the party.”
In Kenzo’s story, he moved several times to the NRM offices to sign the contract.
But each time he went, they could inform him that the chairperson NRM, Alhaji Moses Kigongo was busy attending other official duties.
However, the last time he appeared at NRM offices, they asked him to start work and in-between, they will call me sign the contract, and pay him some money since the chairperson was so busy.
“They asked me to use my own money meanwhile! so I started working. I started in west Nile, East, West and Central for a period of three months. They said you will get your money; I had just bought my super custom car. Since I was so excited I used my vehicle until the car engine failed. Because we used to make constant travels throughout the campaign period. I am telling you they did not pay me until today.”
The only money Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo earned during that time was given to him by the area MPs.
They could ask Kenzo to talk about them and ask votes on their behalf. So, that was the only money Kenzo survived on.
He says the time he went back to fetch his money at the NRM office, they asked him where he had signed before.
So, because of the 2011 saga, Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo declined the ‘Tubonga Nawe Election Campaign’ 2016.
“I had grown, learnt a lot from the previous event and responsibility had increased. They stole my money and I did not earn anything during the 2011 elections campaigns. I did not get the car they promised me until today, then I said in good spirit I won’t participate.”
“I informed the person who contacted me to be part of the ‘Tubonga Nawe’ project, that I won’t make it.”
Kenzo sings at the opening and closing Ceremony of African Cap of Nations 2015
Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo sang at the opening and closing ceremony of the African Cup of Nations that happened in January 2015, alongside Akon.
The tournament was held in Equatorial Guinea
Kenzo was so excited and indeed said God is the greatest.
But people started saying Kenzo is illuminati, he says he was happy although he was sad about it on the other side, but at least people saw that it was possible for him to sing at that great event in Africa.
“I felt so loved, I went and saw that it was a great thing, met different kinds of people, African sports stars who people see on TV. Most African music stars who are my friends were there.”
Kenzo is a business man, he does farming as an extra earning besides music. His does not depend on music alone to earn a living.
He has a Matooke plantation in Masaka.
Kenzo says he applies organic fertilisers in his garden other than inorganic fertilisers, to see whether the original fertile soils of Uganda can be recovered which has been destroyed by the application of inorganic fertilisation method.
Kenzo also has a beach project he wants to establish in Lwera Masaka, but currently it’s on hold, due to some land wrangles that crossed over.
He bought shares from Akuna Matata Proprietor, who’s the owner of the land, then after setting up the place, the same land was again claimed by Pr. Kakande. So, the issue is still complex at a moment, the project is on a standstill, until those issues are resolved.
“From where I started from to date it has been God, he knows my plans and everything. You will never find me in scandals fighting for earthly things. I am just waiting until it’s done and then we see, if someone takes it, take it, that’s soil which is going to stay million years. What you do is to stay quiet and look on. There’s a curse for someone who tries to act smart at the expense of others.”
Edrisah Musuuza Kenzo says he’s a leader, but right now he’s not interested in active politics, especially in this generation.
Because it’s filled up with disorganised people, chaotic, and for that case, he does not what to fight over useless things.
“But you never know! after I reach 40 years and above, I may get involved to help my people.”
However, he does not belong and support any political party, but he supports and belong to “People Power Pressure Group”, to exerts pressure on some individuals to at least deliver services to people.
“I support People Power Movement! because Bobi Wine is my Family, and I also support it, because it’s a movement that has thrown a light to us and created awareness to things we were blinded of. We have learnt a lot of thing through People Power Movement.”