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Solo dream gives new life to Leila

When Leila Kayondo broke away from Eddie Yawe’s Dream Gals, it looked like career suicide. Leila – now enjoying such solo hits as Nkwagala and Kiruma Nyo – wondered if she had not committed a blunder because in quitting Dream Gals, “I had not asked for anyone’s advice. I had not talked to my mum or friends or asked anyone. I thought I knew what I wanted and I was going for it.”
Just after quitting Dream Gals in February 2008, Leila found herself almost overwhelmed with self doubt that the petite singer was consoling herself that, music was not the only thing she could do.

“I am almost graduating. I can get a good job after studies,” she said to herself.
This was at a time when Leila had just begun her SWSA degree course at Christian University Mukono, Kampala branch.

But if you have watched the incredibly sexy music videos of Nkwagala and Kiruma Nyo on TV, whose allure comes as much from the artistry of the videographer as from Leila herself, it is impossible to imagine Leila doing anything but singing.

“Music is my first love. I cannot imagine my life without singing!,” she admitted.
“It was my talent which kept me hopeful when everything was going bad. But you can’t just have talent. You have to fight. You can sing a good song and it doesn’t sell,” she said. “I have so many friends who are sitting at home with their nice songs. They can’t fight for their songs. You have to fight and be proud of your music.”

It was this fearless streak that encouraged Leila to venture out of Dream Gals even when Lero Weekend, the all-girls’ group hit, was doing very well in late 2007 and early 2008.
Leila says she left the group because, “I was more ambitious than the other girls; Renah and Anita. I wanted to do things on my own. I thought I could do things that I could not do within the group. I had also been approached by Universal Entertainment Company who wanted to sign me for three years.”

Chasing the musical dream is what prompted Leila in 2006 to cast her natural timidity aside to participate in the Record TV sponsored Super Gals competition.
“I did not win but I did not do so bad,” she recalls. “Out of 400 girls who participated, I was 7th and it was from that competition that Eddie Yawe spotted me and called me.”
Born January 1, 1988, it is a bit of a surprise that Leila comes from a Muslim family.
“My dad Kayondo Yahaya is a quiet man who will not hesitate to tell you if something does not make him happy. It is my mother Kayondo Faridah who I had to convince when I wanted to get into music seriously,” she says.
“I have been in boarding school all my life so my parents did not know that I had begun singing so early.”

Leila cut her teeth in school choirs and took part in school festivals when she was at Seeta Boarding Primary School and at Naalya Secondary School Namugongo for my O-Level. She continued the same road when she joined Greenville International School for A-Level.
At only 21, one would confidently say that Leila is already fairly successful as a solo artiste.
And she agrees; “All the work is in my hands. It has given me more confidence because people know me as Leila, not Leila of Dream Gals. I enjoy more every bit of the work. When the profits come, they also come to me!”
And she is only getting started.


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