‘Music is a way of life if not life itself’
In February this year, the country was blanketed in grief and gloom over the tragic death of Mowzey Radio, one of Uganda’s finest vocal gems. Out of the many tributes both musical and not, that made rounds on social media, a little-known Wendy’s tribute stood out.
The 20-year-old sensation, real name Wendy Kisakye managed to win over hearts of music lovers with her unmatchable vocal prowess. In just four minutes, she summed up the late Radio’s legacy in a musical mash-up of some of his greatest works. With this, she broke the internet and just like that, it was the genesis of her rise to stardom. It is then that UG Records, one of Uganda’s biggest music labels took her under their wing to fine tune her into a star in her own right.
Like many other Ugandan musicians, Wendy’s musical journey started from her primary school choir with her hitting high pitched musical notes none of her peers could. It is then that she discovered she had a gift and developed a keen interest in music.
Her musical passion followed her through her secondary school life and when it turned into an addiction, she capitalised on her pre-university vacation to plunge into the musical deep.
She started backing up established acts. During a studio session with a gospel artiste at Roy Studios, despite being a backup vocalist, her voice was outstanding and this prompted Roger Kent, a singer, producer and song writer at the studio to take her under his wing.
Under Roger Kent’s stewardship, Wendy’s career took bigger strides. Using his writing craft and musical expertise, Roger Kent taught her various dynamics of the game, from writing, to production and even introduced her to producer Skillz.
Their working relationship continued as she looked for her big break.
The big breakthrough
When Radio passed on, a number of tributes were making rounds. Roger Kent, who was aware of Radio’s huge influence on Wendy’s music came up with an idea. Rather than doing one song for a tribute, he suggested that Wendy does a mash-up of various Radio songs.
With Skillz on the beat, Wendy hit studio, with nothing scripted. In what would be the mother to all Radio tributes, she recalls, “I simply sang my heart out, song after song, non- stop. I felt my spirit letting go. I hit every note with all my being and in four minutes, I signed out with my name.”
To her, it was a bitter sweet experience as she grieved the death of her iconic role model and at the same time, breathed life into his legacy.
As plans to make a short visual for the mash-up were underway, the audio leaked and like a plague, the mash-up went viral. The internet got ruptured! Music lovers could not get enough. To many, they literary felt Radio’s spirit live on in an instant. The big question on everyone’s lips then was, “Who on earth is Wendy?” In no time she was doing TV and radio interviews.
Joining UG Records
Wendy had her phone buzzing with several people offering management deals. When UG Records contacted her, the vision and chemistry were in sync and she immediately signed the dotted line.
Wendy immediately hit studio to record her debut album and now she is ready to serve the world. Her debut single is Wotoba (When you’re not around), a groovy Afro-Beat track where she bemoans the heartache she feels every time her lover is not by her side.
What the future holds
At barely 20 years of age, the sky can only be the limit for Wendy. “I certainly want to be the best artiste in the whole wide world,” she chuckles.
To her, music is simply a way of life if actually not life itself. “Initially, I wanted to study aviation. Right now, I breathe music and it is a craft I want to carry on even in regards to academia,” she confesses.
It is to no surprise that she always has Beyonce Knowles on her playlist’s rotation, an artist whose music continues to inspire her own craft because she is a complete package, a singer, dancer and entertainer. Wendy is also a dancer, a hobby which she later hopes to add to her professional resume.
In Uganda, she has Maurice Kirya on her playlist mostly because of his vocal abilities. Gifted with one of the best voices out of Uganda, she doesn’t have that many acts to look up to, because when they hear her, they will be looking up to her.