Giovanni Kiyingi is a Ugandan folk music & multi- instrumentalist. His unique sound is defined by rich instrumental textures and rhythmic influences from Uganda, Africa and beyond.
An innovative all-rounded artist, Kiyingi’s music is informed by the culture of his people and is a medium to tell the new generation about the country’s rich cultural history.
He plays indigenous instruments like Tube fiddle (Endingidi), Thumb Piano (Akogo), African harp (Adungu) and Traditional flute (Endere) etc. He has performed at large music festivals across Africa and the rest of the world and his authenticity and sharing of his talent has enabled him to share the stage with other renowned artists.
We exclusively caught up with him, he revealed his life when he was found to be covid 19 positive and in the process of healing. He added on to tell us about his fresh new music career and his mega return to Ugandan music industry.
According to your profile, clearly it tells you have been around, when did you join the music industry?
Giovanni: I fully joined music 2011.
What was your first breakthrough song?
Giovanni: The schools and church played a big role in shaping me to play and sing [songwriting ] at the same time. I do not think I have had any break through song, but my album Amakondeere opened many ears and eyes for me.
Who inspired you to turn into a singer?
Giovanni: I was born a weak child, I did not have much time playing with others as they always hurt me. As a result I listened a lot to my dad’s old record collections from all over the world.
From these I found Alex Mukulu songs, Afrigoband , percussion discussion band , finally 2011 I got to know of the Soul Beat Africa band and these guys concreted my genre of music till now.
You have shared the stage with big named singers across the globe, do you feel you’ve arrived at your final dream?
Giovanni: I believe the more I know , the more I don’t know , I am still learning so many things. With this I don’t account for myself.
You live far away from UG, but sing Ugandan songs, how do you balance the two?
Giovanni: East or west home is best. I believe I can’t go far if I forget where I come from. The first question you get as an international artist is where do u come from? How is your country sounding in terms of music ?
Today the industry is growing at a very terrible speed, how are you prepared for the competition?
Giovanni: I believe in a day at a time.
By the way what is your motive in this industry?
Giovanni: Spreading the world with our traditions and sounds.
How many collaborations have you done so far? And with who?
Giovanni: I have done a few collabos, I have had a chance to work with Suzan Kerunen, The Mighty Mayanja, I have worked with Santuri safari / based in London on full Album high life Uganda.
Who produces your songs?
Giovanni: Producers , Jude Mugerwa , Arins Joses, D-King, Andy Music, Bomba and Amakondeere.
Also, many well established singers are quitting music for politics, why are you still in?
Giovanni: We have different callings I believe and time also tells a big story. At this particular moment music is my main chase.
Do you think the current Bobi Wine wave is sustainable in the politics industry?
Giovanni: I think Bobi Wine given all he needs, He is able to sustain the wave very well.
Putting your lenses together, predict the future of Ugandan music in the next 10 years.
Giovanni: The Ugandan music industry will have a clear path if the media stops the fake energy they give to the so-called “ big 3 -4”. This has made the industry stagnant, stranded ………..
Of late singers have been accused of giving us bubble gum music, how different is yours?
Giovanni: The reason I am not known in Uganda is ,my sound and content is different. Research tells us that good content will take long to pick up as people take long to grasp it fully.
Any female Ugandan singers, who would you wish to work with?
Giovanni: Angella Kalule, Namubiru, Afrie
What is your latest new project?
Giovanni: I have put out an Ep Change and many singles during this time of lockdown. It has been trying to record work in the USA and finish it in Uganda . I found it hard because many people look at the money side and don’t deliver as promised
Away from music, are you married?
Giovanni: No, but I am seeing someone.
If not, which Ugandan celeb would you wish to marry?
How have you handled Covid 19 lock down?
Giovanni: I was exposed to Covid 19 but the good lord saw me through it all. Now I am negative
Tell your fans your message for the next five years.
Giovanni: For the last 9 years I have been in the world from Africa, Europe , ASIA now to the United states, but I am here now to tell you that now I am all down for Uganda. I have had the ups and downs but good music has been created and I hope for the best from the coming projects.
I am also more open to work or collaborate with anyone. I believe this is the best way to share and also learn more from the experience I have gained on my different expeditions around the world.