Best known for his latest hit song ‘Ngom Gang Wa’ Tonny Atube is a multi-talented northern Uganda based song rapper commonly known as Mr. Twaaa.
He has organically found a niche in which his music is being accepted, learning more about the community by simultaneously drawing influences from the factors surrounding his social life.
While not well known to many, Mr. Twaaa has an energy and mindset that could push him ahead in an era where copious amounts of artists are emerging by the day.
In our 16 questions with Mr. Twaaa, we learned about the influences of several aspects of his life; from the people who have motivated him along the way, to the artists who have unknowingly shaped who he is today.
Where are you from? Have your surroundings shaped you in a creative sense, and in what way(s)?
I am from Kitgum Matidi Town Council, Kitgum district.
My surrounding has shaped me a lot because I try to do my things in a much more original way; I don’t try to be someone that I am not. I do draw my inspiration from some other artists that have helped me develop musically.
When did you start doing music?
I stared doing music in 2001; I was in my Senior One in Sir Samuel Baker School in Gulu district.
I was an active member in the Music, Dance and Drama (MDD) club at school and mostly used to mime songs and do day-shows during the holidays. We would also go to our neighboring schools like Sacred Heart, Gulu High and do performances.
I actually got noticed by one of the Senior Producers and Song Writer called Leo Pa Layeng, who identified my talent. It was not until then that I was given a stage name ‘Nas’ because I used to rap just like him.
I then started moving out for shows mostly in Kitgum and other surrounding places within the northern region.
Tell me about the first song you ever made. Was it a success or a failure in your opinion?
The first song I recorded was in 2003, and by then we had a group, it was called the BNM Group. I was the lead singer and the team comprised of three artists, which were: Mc Wang Jok, his brother Nicholas Komakech (RIP Nick Sean) and me (Blackpool.)
We recorded our first hip-hop single in 2003, and it was recorded at 2kleen Productions, done by Leo Pa Layeng.
The song was called ‘Party’. Our first song did so good; it gave us a lot of motivation, and encouraged us to keep pushing on. That song stepped up to position two on the Choice FM count down, we later recorded other songs together as BNM crew, we did songs such as ‘We Aren’t Going Nowhere.’
We later split up because we had different interests.
Which song do you perform most frequently, and where would you like to perform the most.
I like performing all my songs anywhere. I have been booked in many places within the region.
Any artists that you have written for? Who would you like to write for?
At the moment I haven’t written for any artist yet, but I would like to write for various artists, however, I do write most of my songs myself.
I have a few songs that were written by other artists for me, I have a song called ‘Tonight is the Night’, written by Judas Rap Knowledge and I did it with Manase, an artist from Congo.
Is there any one you would like to acknowledge for offering financial or emotional support?
There are people who have helped me a lot in my musical journey, my family and friends, not to mention but a few.
How can funs- to-be gain access to your songs?
My music is on most of the online music stores, some people can get my music online on Mudundo.com, Northern buzz and Luo tunes. My videos and audios can also be got on my U-tube official channel called Mr. Twaaa.
How do you feel about internet in the music business?
The internet has made it much easier to access content now. Things are not like back in the days when you had to record a song on tape, distribution was a bit technical.
Today there are many sites that people log into in order to check your content. Some of the songs are shared on watsap, Facebook and other social media platforms.
What is the story behind your new hit song ‘Ngom Gang Wa’
‘Ngom Gang Wa’ is a song basically about land, when translated in English it means ‘land is our home’. I wrote this song basing on what is going on in the community right now, there is a lot of tension about land, and there are many investors coming to grab land. For example the recent case is the Apaa and Aswa.
The song further explains the benefit of land and how we have to guard it jealously because it’s all that we have.
Who are your top 3 favorite artists of all time and what new music do you like from other artists?
I do listen to a lot of current music, I have been inspired by a lot of artists and they have contributed a lot to my musical development. I like listening to Angelique Joe, Nas, and Tupac but then again, I also like listening to my music. I also like music from my brothers within northern Uganda like Judas Rap Knowledge, Mc Wanjok, since we do the same kind of music.
What do you like to do outside music, a hobby that you turn to in order to rejuvenate and refresh?
I go to the gym because I work out a lot. I am also an actor, I have worked on movies such as ‘Let’s Do It’ by United Youths Entertainment and worked with Hellen Atim Production United Kingdom on a film project.
Which musicians would you like to collaborate with next?
I would like to work with Judas Rap Knowledge; he is a very good rapper and I think if I team up with him, we can come up with something big and great. I also wish to work with Mc Wang Jok because we all kind of do the same music, and probably do something with the female artists who are good in what they do.
Question 13: what changes would you like to see from the music industry to allow you make a living from your name?
The music industry generally is still growing in the northern region of Uganda. So as artists, we really need to be united because we all need each other in one way or the other. Beefing and throwing insults at each other won’t help.
The gov’t should also implement legal policies that protect our rights as musicians.
What haven’t you attempted yet that you hope to?
I would like to try extreme sports like bungee jumping.
What do you hope to accomplish this year, any upcoming projects?
There are a number of projects coming up; I am working on a couple of videos and audios. We are looking forward to so many big things by the end of this year.
What do you want your supporters to know about you?
My supporters should know that I am very grateful for their support and love. I want them to also know that better things are yet to come.