Tyler Himself, real names Kaahwa Tyler Rumanyoha, has in the past released some chart-topping dancehall hits, based in Coventry, London, where he was studying. Now he is back, bigger and better.
While his music has already been a banger in Kenya, Malaysia, Cyprus, the UK and Nigeria, among other countries, the talented lad wants to take the local industry by storm. His new track, Kola Bwooti won’t leave you seated. He talked to Nathan Atiluk about his love for music, dreams, and future plans.
Who is Tyler Himself?
Tyler Himself is a humble youth, aka The African Dancehall Hero. I’m an international reggae-dancehall singer, born and raised in Kampala, Uganda.
My musical journey has been long. People would say it started in London while I was pursuing my undergraduate studies in Coventry University, from where I graduated. But to me it started out from childhood where I got hooked onto the Caribbean sound.
I always listened to my tapes on my Walkman and picked up the vibes and lingo from the likes of Buju Banton, Sean Paul and Red Rat.
You were the kid on the block back in 2012, what happened?
I was still in Coventry University; I wasn’t in Uganda and didn’t have time to do my music. Most of my recordings were done in the night after school. I couldn’t keep up with constant releases, because I loved school as well. It was a question of priorities.
Do you have an album yet?
Yes, finally I do. I always did mix tapes but I’m officially dropping my debut album Patois Mixtape The Album. It was also originally a mix tape then I decided to transform it into a full- length album.
Any new songs?
Yeah, several new songs coming through on the album; five international acts on it and a couple of Ugandan collaborations. So, expect 15 songs on that. It will be released on December 28.
We got something with Slim Prince (Nigeria), King Pheezle (Kenya), an international DJ called LV, based in Sweden and two surprise international acts. The songs are being mastered as I speak.
In Uganda we got work with Maro, Bruno K (already released), Voltage Music and two more artistes coming through.
I had to recreate my style, image and music from my original retro ragga-like flow to a more smooth sound. Basically the transition was to transform good music into commercially viable sound that people are willing to pay for.
Now, musicians and politics; what’s your take on that?
First of all, it is their constitutional right as citizens, irrespective of whether pro-government or opposition. Secondly it’s a chance to have a positive impact on the nation. It’s a great opportunity to help and address issues that affect us all.
What do you dream about, musically?
My dream is to win the biggest musical accolades whether in Africa or globally. I want to build my brand “Xtreme Entertainment”, the label to which I belong, sign more artistes like I’ve done in the past, grow talent and find ways to give back to the community. I always wanted to develop schemes for ghetto youth to make a living or get a decent education.
Last year, we heard you and A-Pass were beefing…
Well, the same way the news broke to you is how I got it. My career has never been built off hate; so, I have no reason to delve into [fights]. Music to me is love; so, let’s stick to that.
I prefer to grow my fan base organically; real people liking my music for the right reasons other than hype and controversy.
Why Xtreme Entertainment, yet we now have big labels in town?
Xtreme Entertainment is my own establishment. It’s a record company I’ve grown over the years with the help of my siblings and mates. The journey was tough, but we have finally settled.
What has been your impression of the music industry upon your return?
Uganda is exploding with talent. A new good artiste pops up every day. All we need now is to grow the musical structures in terms of where and how to sell music, not just to our population but also internationally.
We also require higher quality audio and video production; otherwise, Uganda is ready for the world musically.
Do you write your own songs?
I never write music. I simply go to studio and vibe. Whatever comes out will always be the right thing as per my feelings at that moment. That way I keep in touch with my music and can always relate like a fan.