Rachel K is?
Vibrant, outgoing, fun and talented!
Well, I have been singing since I was 8 years old, but my musical journey actually took off in 2006 when I moved to Uganda. My mom and older brother Hemdee, are owners of No End Entertainment based in Kampala. I recorded a record, and shortly after that I toured Africa, high schools, and won numerous awards over the years I was living in Uganda.
Who are are your musical influences?
I grew up listening to music from all over, ranging from rock n roll, blues, and r&b. Alicia Keys, Coldplay, Janet Jackson, Jimi Hendrix to name a few but it's so random, one minute I am listening to Whitney Houston and the next I am rocking out to some Foo Fighters.
Your Mum, Halima Namakula is a musical icon in Uganda, do you ever feel pressured to live up to her legacy?
Yes she is def a musical icon. I do not feel pressured really, it's more of an inspiration more than "pressure." To have someone like her in my life who has lived and breathed in music, just makes me so lucky, because I am literally learning from the best. Priceless.
Would you say having your Mum in the same industry prepared you for the entertainment scene?
Absolutely. If it wasn't for her guiding me and shaping me into the artist I am today, I don't think I would have grown. However, I must also acknowledge my older brother Hemdee Kiwanuka. He and my mom helped me prepare for the entertainment scene, both of them are my biggest supporters and music teachers.
You spent some time in Uganda, how was that experience like?
I love Uganda and the experience was amaaaazzziiinnng! I knew I wanted to do music, but I didn't expect it to go as far as it did, I went to Uganda in 2006 and was only supposed to stay for about 3 months but it ended up being 4 years! I met so many amazing people, worked on tv and radio, represented my mom's organization titled Women at Work, toured Africa, won awards, and most importantly bonded with my family.
Why did you leave?
I left because, although I had so much success, I needed to finish school and get my degree. So I am currently in my last year of University! I am pursuing a degree in Communications focusing on media (TV and Radio).
Being based in the US, do you still draw inspiration from your experiences in Uganda/Africa and fuse them into your music?
Oh yes. I have been recording some new songs at Network Showbiz Studios based in California, which is owned by Hemdee Kiwanuka. I try to record songs that have some African influence, it can be either in my lyrics or the instrumentation.
You recently appeared on the Dean's list at the Southern New Hampshire University [#MustBeNice:)]. Why is education important?
Thank you! Being on the Dean's and President's list was amazing and loads of hard work! I believe that when all else fails, no one can take away your degree. School has always been so important in my family, and having a degree is something that you have forever. It's important for me to finish school while balancing my music. If you can do it, why not go for it?
Not only do you make music, but you're also very artistic in the way you present yourself. How do you strike a balance and be able to portray both in your craft?
It's not hard for me to balance my music and who I am as a person. I have a pretty easy going schedule where I make time for myself, but while also perfecting my craft as a music artist.
What are you currently working on?
Musically I have a few projects that are coming up. I just finished shooting my new music video titled Application, feat. Ms. Triniti. It's a track fused with R&B and Ragga. I am really excited for this release. And recently I just finished recording a single feat Meaku and Yung from the hip hop group Cali Swag District. Meaku is a talented R&B recording artist and I cannot wait for the world to hear it!
Any advise for the youth whose aspiration is to pursue music?
Go for it. Never listen to the word "Can't" if you want to pursue music and it's your dream, Chase it, and never feel discouraged when a door closes in your face, some of the best singers in the world didn't get their break right away. So work hard, and dare to be different.
Twitter: Rachel Kiwanuka
Stella is the founder of WaAfrikaOnline. A Pan-African at heart, passionate about Africa, human rights, women empowerment and girl child education. She's also into broadcasting.