New Kid on the Block: One on One with Mpaaka Records’ Dre Cali

Over the weekend, Club Beatz At Home had performances from Spice Diana and Dre Cali, a young artist in the Ugandan music industry but one that we should all watch out for.

He has a single called Ebissoka N’ebisembayo that many people have come to love. He also has a collabo with Lydia Jazmine called ‘Onanagiza’ and he also featured on ykee Benda’s Corona song.

We had a one on one with this rising star to get to know more about him.

Tell us about ‘Dre Cali’ and how this became a choice for your stage name.

My name is Katende Andrew Stephen aka Dre Cali. Dre comes from Andrew and Cali is a name of a city in Columbia that is known for dance so Dre together with Cali is basically an artiste responsible for making people dance and creating music that will make people dance.

Besides that, I am 25 years old. I was born and raised in Entebbe. I studied at White Angels in Masaka and then I went to St Henry’s college Kitovu for my O’level, after that I went to Mengo SS and finally I did a bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Uganda Christian University.

Has music always been your thing?

Music has always been something that I have always loved right from childhood.


My mum says I used to mime to songs in languages I did not even understand at a tender age but I do not think I knew I wanted to sing back then. It wasn’t until my S.3 that I started writing songs and I have never looked back since then.

I got into the industry because of the different people that I looked up to so I decided to also make a living from something that I love. And as you know, when you do something that you love, it becomes more than a job because you enjoy what you are doing.

Dre Cali

When did your break through happen?

My break through into the industry was last year when I signed with Mpaaka records in September. Before that, people did not know about my name but they held a press conference and just like that Dre Cali was introduced to the world.

What have been some of your highlights since you joined the industry?

The highlights are many but rubbing shoulders with Ykee Benda daily, meeting and engaging with some of my favorite artists like Apass and even singing with Lydia Jazmine.

I have also been able to perform with Fezah at the recently ended Club Beatz at home. On the down side, I have not been able to do shows for people even when my music is doing well but I hope this will eventually change.

Does Dre Cali have any future plans?

Right now, I am in discussions with Mpaaka records to decide whether to drop an EP or to keep dropping singles. Long term, I hope to grow as Dre Cali, work with some Ugandan artists and when given the chance, work with Fire boy, Patoranking, Kiss Daniel and go global, the list is endless.

I am also not using my Civil engineering degree right now but it is in the pipeline for me to do something with it.

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