Monday, September 11, 2006

Bebe Cool eyeing international stardom

EDGAR R. BATTE & DARIUS MUGISHA
NOT CONTENTED: Despite being looked at as among the best artistes in Uganda, Bebe Cool thinks that’s not enough
At the beginning of this year, you had a beard that was tinted blonde. Many people thought you had lost it. Why a blonde beard?I did it to attract attention, since there was nothing to talk about at that time. That is what showbiz is all about. I also wanted to look a little different since I was shooting many videos at the same time and I needed a different look. When time came for it to expire, I removed it but I hope to do another outrageous one when I go to the US soon.
The rumour mill had it that you were not paid by the National Resistance Movement for the role you played in President Museveni's third term campaign. Is it true? I was the first musician who came out to record and perform for the Movement. I sacrificed splitting my fans because they belong to different political camps and the sad bit is that I have never been paid. I spent 25m, used my car to traverse the country and it got battered. I wonder if these guys can get ashamed and at least repair my BMW. I guess, the president doesn't know about this!
Your dad, Jaberi Bidandi Ssali is in the opposition, the leader of the People's Progressive Party, yet you're an outspoken NRM supporter. Doesn't that spoil your relationshp? I am in the Movement because I like the president and not the NRM as a party. Even those who left [including his father] were comfortable in the Movement at one time. So I guess when my time comes, I'll go. You can never satisfy all Ugandans but he [the president] has tried to satisfy at least 40 percent. If he can deal with the Kony issue, the load shedding and poverty alleviation, then I could have reason to think about supporting him for another term.
THINKING BIG: Bebe Cool. Photo by Willy Tamale
So how do you get on with your dad?Our relationship is perfect. He was the first person to tell me that I had to get paid during the campaigns. It is just that he moves during the day and I move in the night considering our careers, so we meet less often. More so, I am now a father with responsibility and you don't expect me to keep running back to him all the time, but we meet every weekend at the beach or at Kiwatule Recreation Centre for some light talk.
Of late, you have become a gentleman, which is so different from your former bad boy image? I wanted to attract attention as a bad boy and I got it. I am now a father and I plan to have more than five children, so I can't go on with the bad boy image because it is a bad example to the kids. The industry is growing and I guess fans expect us to behave maturely. I am looking at an international breakthrough and I need to convince the corporate world if I'm to get their endorsements. That is where the gentleman image comes in.
Are you saying you don't see yourself fighting with other musicians again?There are still a few people who try to set me up to get involved in fights, but I know better about their tricks and I will not fall prey to them. It is difficult for me fight. I feel grown up.
Your wife Zuena is no doubt an attractive lady. How have you managed to keep men off? I handle issues of my lady with a lot of care. The reason I think many women would divorce is that they find the sweetness of a relationship elsewhere. When we got our first child, Alpha, I knew she was the ideal woman. Alpha is a bright and a 'sharp' child who bonds us. I give Zuena whatever she wants-the cars, phones, money, love and all. I am protective of my woman. We always go out together when I have no show. I am planning to open for her one of the biggest salons in town. I budgeted to spend approximately Shs150m on it.
Tell us a little more about your son He is still young and has been getting home-based orientation. His mother teaches him basics in English and Mathematics using computer. He will be travelling to London where he will attend at a football academy. I want him to become a footballer, probably he will become as big as his namesake Theirry Henry.
Is there anything you would change, if you had the chance to?If I had a chance, I would change my temper. I have a seasonally bad temper.
What was your childhood like?I grew up with my mother, Ms. Samalie Ssali. I come from a family of nine and I am the last-born. Some of my siblings are into business, others are doctors and I am into showbiz (laughs).
What was the reaction of your family when you joined showbiz, knowing that your father was a Minister at that time?It was difficult for them to allow me go into showbiz since the industry was still down. I had a lot of trouble but my mother was the only person who believed that I could become a star one day.
Any expectations in this year’s Pam Awards?I know I am the best artiste this year. I don't work for awards though. I am looking more towards career progress.
What career progress?I am trying to get into contact with two big American artistes and plan to spend about $50,000 (approximately Ushs190, 000,000) to do collaborations with them. If I succeed that will be my launch onto the international scene. I'm looking at being an international star. In the short run, I am planning to take my wife for a holiday in the U.K. and I also forthcoming tours with Necessary Noize [East African Bashment Crew] in South Africa and Ethiopia.

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