She believes the message carried in music will remain with the people for a lifetime. And this is one reason she has nurtured her singing talent. Sandy, officially Sandra Nankoma, is a soul and jazz funk (a sub-genre of jazz music characterised by a g beat and electrified sounds) musician. To her, music is the condiment that has given her soul its flavour. It is her career and mood uplifter.
Right from her childhood days, Sandy Soul, who is in her early twenties, has always dreamt of bringing her talent into the limelight. To inspire this dream, she participated in all the school mime shows during her O-level at Bishop’s Secondary School, Mukono.
“When I got into high school, I told myself: Sandy, no more being on the low. The first song that I did was Julianna’s song Say Yes and many students said that I sounded like the artiste herself. But I did not want to live under her shadow. I wanted my own light,” the bubbly, medium height, black beauty says.
While in senior two, she dared herself and her friends and performed at an A-level students’ ball. This got her fame rolling. She sang in the school’s Scripture Union club and later joined the school choir. She stayed in the choir for a short while because she couldn’t keep up with their strict rules.
“I couldn’t bear the rules, such as styling my hair and dressing in a certain way. I always wanted to show style in my appearance, given that I also wanted to become a fashion designer,” she recalls, while laughing heartily.
Her musical voyage
In 2004, she quit the school choir and joined Pastor Robert Kayanja’s Miracle Teens choir as a dancer. However, Sandy did not stay here long either she left to pursue her lifelong passion – to be a self-made musician.
Sandy, a university graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Fine Art from Uganda Christian University Mukono, has number of songs up her sleeve. Her first song, Alright, was released during her senior five at Lubiri SS in 2008.
“A friend of mine, Patrick, sponsored the release of the song by paying all the studio fees at Infinit3 Records, based in Kabuusu, where I did my recording,” she says.
Sandy received acclaim for being a good vocalist and this earned her the first collaboration with Sylvester Kabombo. Kabombo is a Ugandan rapper from the rap duo known as ‘Sylvester amp Abramz’ that has played a vital role in the growth of the hip-hop industry in Uganda. Together, they released Mufumbiro in 2008.
In 2009, she released her second song – Super Star.’ Her third song, The Sound, was a collaboration of all artistes who record with Infinit3 studios, including Exodus and Sylvester and Abramz. The song’s message was that music would always follow you wherever you go.
Collaboration followed another and in 2010 she released the dancehall hit, The Determination with MC Yalla. Determination received massive airplay both online and on radio stations. But despite its grand success, the song did not give Sandy the satisfaction she was desperately searching.
“It was a dancehall song, yet I identify with Soul – the kind of music incorporating elements of rhythm and blues and gospel music,” Sandy says.
“I ransacked my mind and asked myself where the soul in Sandy was and this was how I came up with my stage name – Sandy Soul.”
In her second ‘collabo’ with MC Yalla, they did Kupakasa which had a bit of African soul in it. After this, she started doing live band music. This was in 2011 when she joined Fraha Band. In 2012, she joined Bonobo Love Band but soon exited because she couldn’t fit-in with the Band’s tagline of rock music.
In the same year, she started her own band -Sandy Soul.
“I started Sandy Soul and the Band and I have never looked back since. The band regularly performs at weddings, corporate dinners and music festivals such as Bayimba, among other events.
Challenges amp prospects
Sandy says the most outstanding challenge is that the Ugandan audience does not appreciate live band music. More often than not, band members will be given meagre pay, yet quality music is highly demanded of them.
Other challenges include high costs of hiring music instruments, having to travel late at night after performances and criticism based on comparison with already-established artistes.
In spite of these, Sandy is determined to make the band’s music cut across Africa and the world.
Sandy, the fourth-born of six, is inspired by her mother, Maria Katende Nankinga whom she credits for being a go-getter.
“She has raised the six of us single-handedly after dad died and has given us the best example of what we need to do to succeed in life,” Sandy said of her mother.
Sandy loves music, and lately she has been listening to The Healer and Window Seat by Erykah Badu, Jill Scott’s Missing You and Maurice Kirya’s Nanagira. She also loves dancing, swimming, meeting new people and hanging out with friends.
She is dating, but prefers to keep her beau’s name, whom she has dated four years, out of the media.
“What attracted you to him?” I ask.
“Oh my God, many things… he loves God, has the most gorgeous hands I have ever seen. His eyes are lovely and every time he looks at me I melt, and most of all, he has a heart of gold because he is very honest,” replies Sandy, with a beaming face.
Seychelles islands is her dream honeymoon destination because it is tranquil, gifted by nature and the best hideaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Source : The Observer