Who is Irene Gladys Namubiru? Flash Uganda Media looks at her biography, early life, Age, family, children, husband and music of a Ugandan female musician.
Irene Gladys Namubiru, also known as Iryn Namubiru, is one of the best Ugandan female vocalists of all time, a mother and a businesswoman. She is a light lyric voiced Afro-pop, recording and performing artist.
Iryn Namubiru was among the survivors of the boat cruise incident that capsized on Lake Victoria, Mukono District in November 2018 that claimed over 30 lives of Ugandans. The party boat was carrying over 100 revellers from KK Beach to Mutima Island.
She’s fluent in English, French and Luganda her native language and has dual citizenship of both France and Uganda her motherland while France, is where she got married too, her Ex-husband is a French Man.
Irene Gladys Namubiru – Early Life and Education
Irene Namubiru was born on 13 December 1981 in Central Region of Uganda. Namubiru attended Bugema Adventist Senior Secondary School in Luwero District and Namasagali College in Kamuli District for her secondary school education.
After, Namubiru joined Airways Tourism and Hotel Institute, Stendhal University in Grenoble, France and then later Cavendish University, Uganda.
While at Namasagali College, Namubiru met and became friends with Juliana Kanyomozi, another female Ugandan performing artist who was attending the college at the same time.
Irene Gladys Namubiru – Music career
Irene Namubiru says she has always had a passion for singing since her childhood and always strove to make this talent a bigger part of her life.
Her first major attempt at success in the music industry came in 1995 when she joined singers-cum-rapper DJs Ragga Dee and Molar-Messe, as the group Da Homies, and “Joss Jew” Mawejje as studio arranger/keyboardist, helping release a series of singles including the group’s hits “Bamusakata”, “Mukwano”, “Mukyala tokaba”, early 1995.
Her first single “Learn to say goodbye” also appeared on the group’s subsequent album to great acclaim. Soon afterwards, she had her first stage appearance in September 1995.
In 1999, she joined Kanyomozi, her former schoolmate at Namasagali College, to form the R$B all-girl group called I-Jay. In 2000, they released their first 7 track album titled Wait which included songs Wait RMX (Ft Steve Jean), Not Good Enough, Mwana, Wait, Emirimu, Vivi LA and Two To Make it True…. This got moderate airplay on radio stations in Uganda.
Soon after the release of their record, Namubiru left for France and the group disbanded. This break up would later lead to wide speculation that the two separated on unfriendly terms, but the two denied the allegations.
While in France, she formed the Afro-SoulGroup Nujeli together with Julien Grout and they released ENSI LP.
With Bryan Morel Muhumuza’s account analysis and certification, this record had songs “Nsangi 3:44, Desurrection 5:36, Baami Baffe 4:20, Twins Play 3:42, Our illness 4:51, Eko 3:26, Tuzze 2:21, Pleasures’ Garden 3:40, Espirit es-tu la? 3:46, Voler 5:20 and the title track Ensi.
However, Namubiru did not achieve widespread success until 2006 when she released her album “Nkuweeki”. This marked the beginning of her fast rise to be one of the best female musicians in Uganda.
Since 2006, Iryn Namubiru has released several successful songs like “Y’ono”, “Birowoozo”, which have earned her several leading awards in the Uganda music industry.
In 2011, Namubiru capped her most successful year ever by winning in four categories of the 2011 PAM (Pearl of Africa Music) Awards. She won in the categories of Artist of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year and Best RnB Single of the Year.
Iryn Gladys Namubiru – Controversy
Namubiru has been widely criticized by her detractors for dressing “inappropriately” in her music videos and, at times, her concerts. Her critics charge that her costumes go against the traditional Ugandan way of dressing and set a bad example for other aspiring musicians.
In 2009, her video for the hugely successful Bonna Obasinga was panned by several people, several of the fans, for going too far with the swimming costume she wore.
She later decided to shoot another video for the song to placate her critics. However, many of her fans defended her “creative” dressing against such accusations and blame them on those who are still socially backward and are not willing to try out new styles.
Also, Singer Namubiru in 2019 revealed that the young rapper Fresh Kid disgusts her and doesn’t even listen to his music because he doesn’t act like the child he is, but rather invading adult spaces.
Namubiru says she first saw the young rapper at Comedy Store and kept wondering who the kid was and what he was doing there until she saw a group of people walking him to the stage.
She notes that she believes Fresh Kid is talented but should be hanging around his age mates because he won’t stop adults from having their conversations, adding that he disgusts her from the way he speaks, trying to sound like adult artistes in interviews.
She has also challenged the “Bambi” rapper that now that he has joined a school for the refined kids, he will soon realize his style is not cool and will need psychotherapy in future when he finally matures and sees what he is doing today.
Namubiru also trashed one of the rapper’s songs where he says he is being underestimated because of his age saying he is just 7, just a child to be singing about that because if he was her child, at that age she would still be carrying him on her lap.
Irene Gladys Namubiru – Arrest in Japan
On 3 May 2013, Irene Gladys Namubiru was arrested in Tokyo, Japan for alleged possession of illegal drugs, where she had gone to perform at a music concert. Namubiru was arrested at Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, before performing at the concert.
Reportedly, her fans (said to be Ugandans in Japan) who had gathered at the concert venue, got to know about the arrest and as a result went to the airport, but the Japanese Police told them that Namubiru was travelling on a French passport and they could, therefore, do nothing to help her; she later sought the help of the French Embassy in Japan.
The week before the arrest, Namubiru had been tweeting about how excited she was that she was going to be performing in Japan. The concert was to take place at the Yotsukaido Cultural Hall in Tokyo, Japan’s capital.
Namubiru was found carrying ecstasy (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine), the drug was concealed in her luggage.
She was transferred from the Tokyo airport detention facility to a police station in Central Tokyo where she recorded a statement in connection to the possession of MDMA commonly known as “ecstasy” (having this drug is a crime in Japan); she, however, denied any knowledge of the drug.
On 24 May 2013, at a hearing in Japan, the court did not find her guilty of drug-trafficking charges as the evidence provided by the state was not enough to pin the star to the level of a drug dealer, and so, now that the court had found Namubiru to be innocent, police in Japan had her cleared of drug trafficking charges and set free.
Awards and Nominations
- Best Female Artist and Best R&B Song at the PAM Awards 2006
- Best Female Artist Buzz magazine 2007
- Best Collaboration Diva Awards 2009
- Best Female Artist PAM AWARDS 2010
- Best Afro Single Diva Awards 2010
- Artist of the Year Diva Awards 2010
- Artist of the Year PAM AWARDS 2011
- Best female Artist PAM AWARDS 2011
- Best RnB Song PAM AWARDS 2011
- Best Album PAM AWARDS 2011
2013 HiPipo Music Awards – Best Band Song Ndeyreya
Some of Irene Namubiru’s collaborations include;
- Nze Nawe Ft Dr Hilderman
- Olugendo Ft Kenneth Mugabi
- Addicted Ft Maro
- Collaboration with “Happy Science” Japan on two songs 2012
- Tebiba Bingi
- Kabi Ki
- Byendi Byoli
- Omukwano Gwaffe
- Nsula Wuwo
- Nina Omukwano
- Nze Nawe
- Oli Baluwa
- Nyonyi Ntono
- Essimu Y’ekiro
- Omuwana Aleese Munne
- Bonna Obasinga
Irene Gladys Namubiru – Family
Iryn Gladys Namubiru was married to Frank Galusy Morel, a Frenchman, and together they have two sons, but the two separated years back. Their separation was allegedly due to domestic violence, cheating and insecurity.
She later got involved with NTV’s news anchor Gabriel Epenu but the two did not last long as his family never approved their love.
Singing sensational Irene Namubiru who has been in and off of relationships in a recent interview after a fall out with Epenu said she had found love. She said she was happily in love but declined to reveal the name of the lucky man.
Irene Namubiru has also been linked to having an affair with Prof. Gilbert Bukenya, the former Vice President of Uganda which led to their break up with wife Dr Margaret Mary Musoke after she thought petitioned from the Family Division of the High Court in Kampala to dissolve their 45-year-old marriage.
Dr Margaret said her husband Prof. Bukenya has been involved in infidelity. The respondent (Bukenya) has had several extramarital affairs which have been highly publicized in the media much to her shame and ridicule.
The women under quotation included popular musician Irene Namubiru, Sheila Nvanungi among others.
She balances her music career between her family in Dijon France, where she resides at times, and Uganda, where most of her music fans reside.
She works out for two hours six days a week; she jogs, lifts weights and works on her abs because it is good for the voice.
Iryn Gladys Namubiru elder son Eko Morel joined the university to study Sociology at Universite De Bourgogne after obtaining a High School Diploma in France with high grades. Eko graduated from Lycee International Charles De Gaulle in Dijon France in 2019.
She always gives her children six months shared custody time with their father but she doesn’t involve her children in her relationship.