After about an hour’s delay, Sheebah Karungi, commonly known as Queen Sheebah, sweeps into The Dawn, Kansanga for the 10-minute interview.
Quick Talk understands; the interview happens just a week to her Omwoyo concert and the queen is busy. Unlike the Sheebah on stage, the one at The Dawn is wearing a tight, black dress, looking quite…relatable.
Hi Quick Talk!
You look good! This is a different Sheebah from what I see on stage.
Thanks; yeah, I also have a life outside…
Straight to the point, who is Sheebah?
Sheebah Karungi is a simple, God-fearing, passionate, kind and hardworking woman. I was born 29 years ago (1989) and I’m proud of my age and thank God for that.
I come from a family of five; two girls and three brothers … yeah. That’s all I can tell you!
You started as a dancer with the defunct Obsessions…
…Yeah, I joined the Obsessions when I was 15 years old [Laughs. Quick Talk vaguely remembers the then rather chubby dancer.] In 2007, I was made a replacement of Cleopatra [Koheirwe, who had just left the group].
That’s a long journey! How has it been?
Crazy! Challenging. Beautiful. That’s life; something that looks easy but very tough [yes, the Obsessions made dance look easy…] My mum told me the world isn’t gonna be easy anymore.
Talking of mama, what was the family reaction to your leaving home so young?
Hmmm, when I left home of course my mum was not happy, because you are 15 and leaving home. For a mother, it is natural to feel uncomfortable. But after some time, like a year or so, she realized I was so passionate about this [music]; I loved what I did.
She had that misinterpretation of all [these things] artistes should be and what they do; but she knows me. She accepted after figuring out that is what I wanted to be.
Any other family member in the singing business?
No! They are all doing different things outside the music.
What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
People think we artistes are any different… When on stage, it is work; outside here, we also have a life.
OK. Now girl, you look hot! What is the secret?
[Smiles] I work out everyday because I’m 24/7 on the road. I have to work out to keep this body in shape because I have to meet my clients. My job requires me to look smart and good. As a woman, I want to look good and feel better as a person.
So, you believe to be beautiful a woman does not need to be skinny? [Sheebah has put on a little ka-weight lately.]
Skinny! I have never been thin; I don’t believe in that theory. I have always been curvy; I had my curves from day one. For me, so long as you are comfortable with your size, you are all woman.
I have a specific size I want, so I work out; so when I put on some curves, it’s beautiful; right now I’m enjoying everything … [More charmingly:] I’m 29 and I haaave sooome curves…
I’m surprised you throw your age around comfortably! [One female artiste with a teenage daughter insists she is 25.]
When I joined this business, many people told me, ‘don’t talk about your age because it is not good for people to know a woman’s age’. I don’t believe in cutting down my age or adding to my age.
Maturity is beautiful, maturity is wisdom; I’m enjoying everything. …Looking young, but growing mentally and understanding the world differently. I love it. What I’m achieving at 29…?! Why should I not speak about it? I’m proud of it.
Now, your costumes on stage…
[The thing] is that the stage is my office, like you have your office. I created an image that I am inside me. All of us have two sides just like a coin; I have a sexy side of me. On stage as an artiste, I’m allowed to be creative. [Hmm. Quick Talk is loving Sheebah’s office dress code.]
I want to make every woman feel good and comfortable to embrace their beauty and flaws. I love it!
But do you own any long dresses?
Yes, I do! I wear them; I wear job pants, sweat pants and T-shirts.
OK; so, how many dresses do you have?
They are so many; I can’t count them, because my job requires me to buy clothes each and every time.
I cannot know. I can’t put a number.
Wow. Where do you shop from?
Every time I travel or see something good on the streets, I buy because at one time I will need it for my job. I do anything for my job.
Take me through your day…
It depends; if my schedule starts at 11am, I wake up at 9am then I work out. If it is at 7am, I wake up at 6am to work out. If I can’t do it in the morning, I will do the workout in the evening when I’m done with work.
Who is responsible for those cute looks?
I have a stylist and designer, Glitx by Namu, located around Kisementi, [Kamwokya]. She styles me sometimes.
Your salon of choice?
I don’t go to salons because I wear my own hair; I have a line of hair pieces called By Sheebah At Natna. So, I’m wearing wigs 24/7 because I have my own line.
Of all your songs, which is your favourite?
I cannot pick; each means something different to me. I feel different with each of them! [Quick Talk pushes her a bit and she admits; Omwoyo, which she is launching this Friday at Hotel Africana, is currently her favourite.]
Is it because it’s the latest?
No! Omwoyo is not the latest; I have Exercise, which is the latest.
Are you the top female musician – the Beyoncé of Uganda?
No! I don’t like tagging names on myself. I’m not here to rank myself but to sing! Let the people rank me.
Your stage energy is amazing. What fuels that?
I drink water or Red Bull on stage.
…No weed or something – cough-cough?
How do you feel about rumours that you do weed?
I don’t care. Those around me know who I am. Those far away say anything; from 15 I’m hearing these words; so, I’m used.
Omwoyo concert. What should your fans expect?
This is the only thing I’m thinking about. I’m really working with KT Promotions to see that this concert is a success.
This is the second concert after Nkwatako that I did two years ago. Now I feel [mature] and I’m doing this differently. My appeal is that people should come early and get their tickets but they can also be bought from Hotel Africana, Jude Colour Solutions… you can book online or buy from Musa Body, Katwe.
Expect growth, personal fun, sexiness; come one, come all!
Best of luck! As we wind up, tell me about your education.
I’m a dropout. I dropped out of school in S2 when I was 15 years. I just knew what exactly would make me money; why waste time?
I like how you own that. Do you have a boyfriend?
On November 30, I’m launching an album; that’s what I wanna do.
So, you are single…
I don’t see any man in this country who can impress me; let us give it a rest!
[Shame on you mister, who broke Sheebah’s heart and turned her off relationships, as she has said in past interviews. She has also been quoted as saying she is not the marriage type, but would love to have a baby some day. Sheebah is also not comfortable talking about her family background, so Quick Talk leaves her to return to her concert prep.]