Decoding 1Der JR. Kampala’s Rising Hip Hop Gospel Star

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Q. Who is 1Der JR and what experience does he have on the Music scene?
A: I was born in 1989 to Mr & Mrs Bamwesigye Jackson. My names are Derrick Muhanguzi aka 1Der JR. I am a Gospel artiste in the Worship Harvest Church based at Kati Kati, Kampala. I pursued theology at the Carmel Bible College in Bristol, United Kingdom in 2009 and did a music career with my longtime partner; Ugandan born T-cyde in 2010. I did not start off as a gospel artist, but God challenged me to harness the power in my music to reach out to his people.

Q: What is unique about hip hop music?
A: I convey my music through hip hop because hip hop has a sentimental attachment. Hip hop is the global trend that is appealing to everyone today. Churches globally are embracing hip hop music and hip hop has the greatest gospel award winners, including the US based World famous, Lecrae.

Hip hop is the most sought after music in the modern day because of the way it expresses meaning poetically. People need help. It depends on how you package your message. The world can only offer you so much but cannot give you hope. Only God can. Hip hop music communicates hope and I look at myself as a teacher.

Q: Why did you choose a Music career?
A: I lived in the UK for more than five years and I decided to return to Uganda in 2014 to pursue a gospel music career. Developing a music career inside the church was awesome. A good church with excellent mentors who resource you to effective worship was one sure way to succeed. God showed me what I was capable of doing, how much power I possessed with my music and how I could reach out to many people demographic. My music is mainly for the youths.

Q: What are the prospects of growing your music in Uganda?
A: The public is excited about my songs and my brand. My songs are fast gaining in listenership on youtube, itunes and other sites. Since 2010 I have released a mix tape entitled skyfall and Drogba done with my partner cyde-1der. I have also recently released two songs entitled Maama Africa and Hallelujah both produced by aethan music.

Q: What advice do you give to young people pursuing a music career?
A: I advise young people to watch their talents but invest in them cautiously. As an artist, I stand for three things: empower, inspire and edify culture. I am aware of the profound power music possess. Music shapes culture more than any logical philosophy. Knowing that power, I cannot sit back and conform to society. If you are inspired into music, let God guide your choices. Do not be pre-occupied or pressured to conforming or copying. Let God set you apart and as an intern learn and perfect your craft.

Q: who are your mentors?
A: I am grateful to my Pastor and Brethren at Worship Harvest Church Katikati, Kampala who have helped me to ‘discover’ my talent. I am privileged now to know how much I can contribute to society through my gift. My perspective has been broadened on how best I can serve God through all the avenues that music can offer. I am now spiritually mature and destined for greatness.

Q: What challenges have you encountered in this journey?
A: Winning with music does not come straight. Recording, video shooting and marketing are very expensive and generally unaffordable for starters. Shooting a good video may go for anything above Shs30m while recording one song could go for over Shs500,000. This may be out of reach for many young people starting off with a music career and would call for sponsors.

Q: How can you be contacted?
A: I can perform in your church or at your function as long as it is intended to edify Christ. My music is both worship and praise and comes in any language but especially English, Luganda and Runyankore.

I can be reached on 1derjrmusic@gmail.com or cyde2der@gmail.com or on cell phone +256-754-245-420. ■

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