Pius Mayanja, aka Pallaso is an Afro-dancehall singer. He talks to Quick Talk about his music, singing family and baby mama. Quick Talk is pleasantly surprised by Pallaso’s down-to-earth, very jovial and welcoming persona, unlike what is portrayed in public.
Hi Quick Talk! What’s up, man?
I’ll get straight into it; it was Lizard, now Pallaso; why?
[Laughs] You man, you have been here for long if you remember Lizard! [True, few of his fans know that when Pallaso left for the USA in the early 2000s, his stage name was strangely Lizard]
Anyway, I changed because I was young and I wanted to rebrand. [Their music aside, the Mayanja brothers are known for their penchant for strange stage names: Chameleone, Weasel and AK-47 (RIP)]
What is Pallaso?
Pallaso is Spanish…it means a joker. So, when I told people that I was coming back to Uganda to do music, they called me a joker. [Thumps his chest and says with sarcasm:] I’m a big joker, you can see [In 2013, he featured on Radio and Weasel’s song Amaaso, launching himself big-time to Ugandan audiences and has not backed down since.]
So, you have a new female manager…
Yeah, she is called Mimi.
Hmmm! But musicians have a tendency of mixing business with pleasure where managers are concerned!
That’s cool and it’s very okay; that’s how people meet in different ways…love is love. Mimi will work together with manager Geeze. [But] the contract will be strictly business.
Talking of relationships, are you married, Pallaso?
Yeah. I’m married to my music and I have 300 songs [okay, that’s funny.] But I have two children: Dinari and Masha Mayanja!
Who is the lucky baby-mama?
She is in the USA with the kids [like most of his brothers’ children, Dinari and Masha are mixed-race].
When are you wedding her?
Yiiii! OK…I will marry her if God allows. I will marry her [strangely looks dejected].
Well, God helps those who help themselves…
I tried to love her…but God has to add me the strength to love her. Watch the space, you will know.
Good luck, bro! Now, if you were not singing…
…I would open a church and get converts…God said let there be and He extracted Eve…. In the second story of creation, God created Eve [Quick Talk is confused. Hmmm…good that Pallaso found music, then!]
Let’s leave religion to the men of God. How has been your 2018?
It has been fantastic, although it started quietly. I have a number of songs and I’m working on two before the end of the year. Relatively it has been a good year and next year will be better.
It is said big artistes suffocate upcoming artistes…
I’m not the one you should be asking such a question, brother! I have been here for only four years. Bebe Cool, Bobi Wine and Chameleone have been here for more than 15 years. I have paved way for many upcoming artistes!
Sheebah, Spice Diana, Bennie Gunter and international musicians like Davido [a Nigerian].
Yeah. I helped him reach some audiences he would have not reached. But he also helped me reach somewhere especially with the international audience.
The Mayanjas are synonymous with kavuyo…sorry. Are the fights a family thing?
[Laughs] Me, I keep it real. People think differently and that applies to the Mayanjas. I think music is a business and it does not take away the fact that we are human beings and have problems.
For instance, Quick Talk, when you are fighting, nobody sees you, but me a celeb, when I do anything, I become public news. Our life is in the limelight, but people should not forget that we are human beings.
Makes sense. If you were to do a collabo with your brothers…
I have worked with all of them; the late AK-47, Weasel and Chameleone. Others [Humphrey in the USA, Henry in Ireland and David in the UK.] are not musicians but artists in other ways. [He points out that of all his siblings, Humphrey is the most difficult to work with because he is “very unpredictable”.]
What kind of child were you?
I was smart in class and I remember I used to enjoy working with my father; as children, we loved one another.
Who does your cooking and laundry?
I cook for myself. I enjoy cooking chicken, fish, spaghetti… but my favourite food is chicken and spaghetti.
Pallaso, imagine you were president for a day…
Hmmm, a day is not enough. I would do nothing. But I would work on the health sector. The hospitals would have drugs. That’s my dream even now, but that can’t be done in a day.
Who is your favourite MP?
[Instantly:] Bobi Wine.
I see tattoos on on your hands. What else is tattooed?
Man, your English is good!
[Laughs] Yiiiyiii mwana, I’m an educated person.
By the way, how old are you?
[Stays silent for some time, then:] I feel like 15. I wake up every day feeling different. Getting old is mandatory, growing up is optional… [Hahahaa! Quick Talk will borrow that leaf of wisdom!]
- Pallaso was born Pius, the second-last born of the eight children of Gerald Mayanja and Proscovia Musoke of Seguku Katale.
- He went to Happy Hours primary school (Bwaise), Mengo Senior School and Kasawo Secondary School for O-level and St Augustine College, Wakiso for A-level.
- He then left for the USA, joining Pennsylvania High School where he completed his higher education studies. He studied for a diploma at the College of Direct Support.
- In the four years he has been active on the local music scene, Pallaso has dominated charts with Amaaso, Go Down Low, Mundongo, Tinkuula, Soma, Mama, Koona and many more.