Queen Sheebah on the journey to Coke Studio
Award-winning Ugandan singer and dancer, Sheebah Karungi, is on top of her game. This year she makes her debut on Coke Studio Africa, paired with Ethiopia’s Asgegnew Ashko. The two will also collaborate with Tanzanian rapper Bill Nass. She recalls the journey leading up to her precious Coke Studio Africa debut.
At the age of 15, Sheebah left home because her mother who was a social worker could not take care of her and her siblings. She recalls: “Looking at my journey, I have come from a place I can’t go back to.” Sheebah felt that moving out was the best thing she could do to help her mother, and managed to go on and join a girl group. “It was one of the best girl groups in Uganda at that time and it was my dream come true.” She adds: “My biggest dream was also to become a professional dancer and dance for Beyonce.”
After leaving home, she would go to a place called Eden every Saturday to watch a dance group. One day she waited to meet ‘The Stingers’ dancing group at the changing rooms. After that incident, she got a call to join Uganda’s famed girl group - Obsessions - after one of the girls dropped out and they considered her a perfect replacement.
Sheebah asserts that she always believed in herself from day one. “I remember starting just as a dancer and people not believing in me.” Today Sheebah is celebrated as one of the finest singers and dancers in Uganda and the wider East Africa. She is also the reigning Prestigious HiPipo Music Award winner for Artist of the Year and Best Female Artist. “I felt very good when I got all the recognition because they now appreciate me, but I want to break these borders. I want my music to cut across. I want to be able to perform in Ethiopia when they know me. Coke Studio Africa is just the beginning of all this.”
On her Coke Studio Africa Debut
Being on Coke Studio Africa is nerve wracking she says: “but then again I get nervous every time I am going to do something that I love, so I tell myself - I am not scared.” Fear is not Sheebah and at Coke Studio Africa she promises to deliver music collaborations and performances that Africa will remember. “I have been building a career to become one of the biggest artists in Africa and my Coke Studio opportunity means I am slowly getting there.”