Mbarara-based Albert Kakye may share a similar brand name with the famous DJ Alberto. However, the youngster, known as DJ Alberto 43, is on course to change the image of deejaying, as he told ALEX TAREMWA.
It’s a Friday evening, and I am seated at Kabalaza pub along Ntare road in Mbarara town. The week has been long; so, I must reflect on its events over cold beer and fine music. As I enjoy the music, I observe the constant mention of ‘DJ Alberto 43’ in the mix.
“Could he be Albert Kakye of Silver Six DJs, a former classmate at Uganda Christian University (UCU)?” I ask myself.
I reach out for my phone, and call him.
“I am at Ice lounge, and it’s about to go down. Fall in, papa,” he says.
I did as asked – fell in. It was a full house at Easy View complex where Ice lounge, one of Mbarara’s most flamboyant hangouts, is located. The heated-up crowd is grooving to DJ Alberto 43’s music.
I stroll through slowly, and reach the DJ’s booth where Alberto is spinning the discs very passionately. When I knock on the glass wall for his attention, he notices and lets me in.
In comparison with our school days, a lot has changed about Kakye or Alberto 43 – as he is now known. Pictures of his family are his laptop and phone wallpaper. A car key is sitting obediently on the table beside a mug of coffee.
One thing that has remained a constant is the headphones over his head. He has had them on since 2004 when he was studying at Nyakayojo secondary school. While there, he bought a music system for students’ entertainment and co-curricular activities.
Although it was at Nyakayojo that Alberto 43 discovered his love for music and his presence around sound instruments, his deejaying career took shape while pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication at UCU.
“I started doing it initially for fun and passion, but not the money,” he says. “I was getting paid here and there, but money never was, and still isn’t a motivating factor. This is who I am.”
WORKING IN BARS WHILE AT CAMPUS
At Casablanca, a popular hangout in Mukono, is where Alberto got his first deejaying employment. He had been dragged there by his classmates who then asked the manager to give him a chance on the decks.
“They convinced the manager that I was good, and I got a job immediately on probation. First, he gave me Wednesday nights but when I was confirmed [into service], I moved to Friday nights,” he recalls.
It didn’t take long for his craft to be noticed. Alberto would soon be invited to play music at parties and other events for “a handsome pay”. Meanwhile, he also worked in the UCU sound room in Nkoyoyo hall to raise part of his tuition. Sooner, the 28-year-old was a sought-after deejay. For five years now, he has got better and better.
Besides the recent Jose Chameleone’s Hit after Hit concert at Lugogo cricket oval, Alberto has played at the Club Dome, Ekinihiiro, Kampala and Mbarara carnivals, and the Club Mega Fest, among other major entertainment events in Uganda and Rwanda.
Currently, he is a deejay at Ice lounge Mbarara, Mist bar in Kabale and a live radio mixer at Crooze FM in Mbarara. On every last weekend of the month, he goes out of Mbarara – either to Angels Royale in Lira town and Life lounge in Kigali – as a guest deejay.
THE 43 EFFECT
As a husband and father of two, Alberto has appreciated the principle of income diversification. To his brand, he has founded 43 Effect, a business arm to generate extra income.
Currently, 43 Effect produces branded products such as caps, T-shirts and hooded jumpers and jackets that he sells mostly in the bars where he works during the different theme nights.
These products, which cost between Shs 25,000 and Shs 80,000, give a much-needed boost to the Shs 3 million he bags every month in salaries. This fat cheque has enabled Alberto achieve his dream – a deejaying school to train youths looking to starting careers in the industry.
The school, currently located at City Light arcade in Mbarara town, was launched in May with 17 pioneer students. In fact, some of his students were seen training alongside Alberto at Ice lounge the night we met.
“To many, deejaying was and still is a career for bayaaye,” Alberto says. “This is a perception I want to change by training professional deejays. This school has always been my dream.”
JUGGLING FAMILY AND CAREER
Born in a Christian family, Alberto admits to having met strong resentment while starting out as a deejay. His father, a priest, had a hard time convincing his son to choose another career path. However, Alberto was not about to ditch his passion.
This determination melted the good reverend’s heart so much that he bought a music mixer for his bold son. Similarly, when he finally decided to settle down with his high school sweetheart, Lonah Akandinda, his career progress was also put into question. Nonetheless, Alberto stood firm and defended deejaying as a noble and reputable profession like any other.
“This is what I keep telling people. If you love something, do it with all your heart. That way, even those who overlook it begin to appreciate its value to you.
“That is the definition of passion. For example, I work Monday to Monday, but I enjoy it. I make time for my wife and children during day, and work during night. Everyone is happy,” Alberto says.
For his work, Alberto has been a recipient of several accolades including the Blink Media DJ of the Year award (2015 and 2016), and the Royal Events DJ of the Year for 2015.
Just when I thought Friday had been crazy enough, I returned to Ice lounge once more the following Sunday when Alberto hosts a night dubbed ‘Code Kizeyi’. This show is dedicated to the elderly, and features music from the 1960s to the 80s.
It is then that I learnt music has no age limit. It soothes the souls of the elderly as calmly as it does to the youthful. It also proved that Alberto was not just a deejay for the millennials.
Besides 43 Effect, Alberto has also built a residential house and ventured in commercial livestock farming. He attributes his progressive achievements to hustling.
“I know God has been at the centre, but hustling made me what I am. If you pray hard and work less, you will not achieve your dreams. Work hard and pray hard; God will do the rest,” he says.
His advice to fellow youth is not to “sit” on their talents or bow to pressures of society but, rather, develop them through constant practice and determination.
“I do not understand why someone would do something they do not love or why one would sit on their talent. The moment you realise you have passion for something or talent, give it your best. You can never go wrong,” he says.
Born on January 9, 1989 in Ruhaama, Ntungamo district to Rev Canon Ronald Kakye and Night Kakye, Alberto attended Mbarara municipal school from nursery to P6, but later moved to Nyakayojo primary school where his father, then a teacher, had been transferred to.
He later joined Nyakayojo secondary school for O-level and crossed to Mbarara modern school for A-level before enrolling at UCU in 2010.