Allan Hendrick Ssali, 23, the son of singer Bebe Cool, agrees to meet Quick Talk after being hosted on a local TV. He is a very soft-spoken young man, although when he sings, his voice is like the father’s.
Hi, Quick Talk!
I expected a name like Yasin, Mohammed… Why Allan? [His father Bebe Cool is a Muslim, whose real name is Moses Ssali.]
I grew up with my mum who gave me the name Allan. Later even my dad did not have any problem with that.
So, Muslim or Christian?
I’m a Christian; to be precise, a Protestant.
Talking of your mother… Who is she?
She is there, but I want her out of this. That’s private.
Fair enough. So, where had you been all those years? [Allan came into the limelight a couple of years ago when he was about 20 years, shocking Ugandans that Bebe Cool had an adult son.]
I have been around, but I had not come to the notice of the media; not until I began to sing that people got to know me. [He has songs such as Omukwano Gwo and Akagambo, to his name.]
You and Bebe Cool, son and father…Do you connect at that level?
[Laughs] He is the best father I have ever seen and our relationship is the best. It’s not the money that he gives me alone, but the advice and direction.
[Quick Talk presses about the money issue and Allan says yes, daddy gives him money. It was reported last year that Bebe gifted his son with a Mercedes Benz C200 for his 22nd birthday.]
You came out contrary to your daddy, against OTT tax.
Personally, I don’t support the OTT tax, but people were misusing social media. People rioted but nothing happened … although it has helped to reduce the walala. People who used to post nonsense are no longer there. I think there is a better way to control WhatsApp than OTT.
Your father was recently chased off Tarrus Riley stage…
It was an unfortunate experience, throwing bottles. That was traumatizing for a son [to watch] People were using their eyes but not brains [laughs].
It was reported that you laughed about that incident and did not look in the least bit traumatised.
Nobody can laugh at his father; those are haters… At the end of the day, he is my father and nobody can replace him.
Is it a must for you to escort him on stage?
[Looks at Quick Talk with this ‘really!’ look. But hey, who has attended a Bebe Cool gig and not seen Allan in the shadows?] No! Not really, but it is an opportunity for me to expose myself and let people know my music.
What do you learn from your dad?
I learn a lot in his musical career and follow that path step-by-step… also learn how to sing…
…He also loves a good fight...
I take a different route; I know he has made mistakes with that and I take a different route.
Are you the Gagamel successor?
Time will take care of that… [But when Quick Talk pushes a bit, he admits he is the successor.]
Ok, good luck. By the way…Zuena. Do you get along or do you beef like most children and their stepmothers?
[Brightens] Our relationship is pretty good. We get on well. [He laughs and adds... ‘Bannamawulire, eeh!]
You are a celeb and a son of a celeb. How does it feel?
[Turns a bit gloomy] Bebe Cool is one of the most hated artistes by people… people see you and hate you on sight… at school it is even worse. [Bebe courted controversy when he became vocal about politics and actively campaigned for President Museveni in both song and heated media statements. This has forced him to suspend all live gigs, because when he steps on stage, irate concert-goers have taken to pelting him with objects until he leaves.]
You must be popular with the girls, though…
Sirina budde [I don’t have time].
Not even for a girlfriend?
I’m not single, but I’m not for every girl. I have a private relationship. I don’t want to make mistakes – as you know this social media era.
Would you be open to a collabo with Bobi Wine? [Taata Allan and Taata Solomon famously don’t get along.]
[Looks surprised.] I don’t think… but I would need advice. I’m liberal; so, nothing is impossible.
You are still at school?
Yeah; at IUEA [International University of East Africa, in Kansanga], doing Software Engineering.
After school, do you plan on a career in music or engineering?
I’m not studying to look for jobs…it is easy to do music.
If you were Bebe for a day…
There is nothing I would change. I would do what he has done. He is good at what he does.