Roger Kent remembers standing out in his school choir, where his musical journey began. And for Kent, real name Roger Katende, the music bug bit a little deeper than usual as he often excused himself from school in order to go to studio or pursue some other musical interest.
It is through these very escapades that he got his first musical heartbreak when he auditioned for Coca Cola Rated Next star search and the judges gave him three straight NOs simply because he was in high school.
He also narrates another hilarious story from his musical lows when through Anita Fabiola, a childhood friend, he got to get into a Klear Kut studio session with the hope he would be signed, only for the towering Tom ‘The Mith’ Mayanja to uncompromisingly ask him, “Who told you we sign high school kids in Klear Kut?”
Despite these pitfalls, he had his high school highs when he won a singing competition organised for high school students by one of the prominent hair product companies.
After school, Roger Kent decided to nest right where his entire being laid; the music studio. He joined Roy Studios where he took on singing and music writing, which crafts he nurtured under the watchful eye of Skillz, a major game player in the production sphere today, but who was similarly a rookie then.
It is at Roy Studios, where he had been for a while and mastered the various dynamics of the game that he took on another gifted talent, Wendy, with whom they are currently signed under UG Records.
Managing Wendy, a blessing in disguise
Despite him having the ability to sing, he recognised that Wendy was growing quite fast and decided to focus his creative effort on grooming her career.
“I strongly believe that if it is a person’s time, it is theirs. God never answers our prayers at the same time. At times the people we help are the vessels through which our blessings are channeled,” he reveals.
Therefore, he invested the little he had in writing songs for her and shooting demo videos for them.
When he came up with the idea of a Mowzey Radio mash-up tribute, he did not know it would go viral. Even if it was well received, it was still Wendy’s success in the picture to him and not his career, something he relates to his selfless character.
“When the mash-up was an instant success, I was overwhelmed in that we had to organise and shoot a quick video with a friend who was an Urban TV producer at the time,” he says.
With this came the calls for people who wanted to work with Wendy, even outside Uganda. Kent says he declined each and every time a potential label called prioritising money. To him, Wendy’s career came first because if a career is well taken care of, the career definitely takes care of the artiste.
Despite the frenzy that came with all the attention, he remained level headed and it wasn’t until UG Records called him that he felt something had clicked.
“During talks with the big shots at UG Records, I told them I had been writing most of Wendy’s music and I was an artiste myself. When I played them quite a few of my demos, we instantly “clicked” and boom, I was also signed to the label.”
To him, getting signed to a music label of such a reputation has been a great milestone for him and he cannot wait to stamp his own mark on the industry.
The future for Kent
“I characteristically have a big heart. I want to be successful in order to help other talented folks achieve their dreams and ambitions,” reveals the crooner. With his big heart, he wants to open up a charity in order to give back to society.
“I want to write more music, for myself and certainly other artistes as well. I want to leave the industry in a better place than I left it,” he adds.
He as well has an eye for acting. “I was recently on set getting into character for the video shoot and I happened to remember Wakanda and I thought to myself, I could actually co-star in one of those,” he chuckles.
So immensely gifted is Kent, placing him becomes a considerable challenge. He really does it all. He writes, sings and produces. It is undeniable that he is one of those that will rescript the Ugandan music industry.