If you haven’t encountered Tshila’s music, it’s time to get ot know this phenomenal artist. In 2008, she was named “The Next Big Thing” by the BBC World Service. Born in Uganda, Tshila was part of the hip-hop group Bataka Squad before branching off on her own.
Tshila’s debut album, “Sipping From the Nile,” received the attention of the BBC World Service. In 2010, she toured Europe and became an ambassador of the Afrika Rise Foundation and the Bavubuka Foundation. She is currently recording her new album, World !n Cr!s!s, and her new song, “Med!c!ne” has recently released. I had the opportunity to ask this phenomenal woman some questions. Here’s how it went.
Interview with Tshila
Ronda Bowen (RB): What drew you to music initially?
Tshila: I am a middle child and have always felt that my older and younger siblings got all the attention growing up. This made me very keen on expressing myself in many ways that included art, design, theatre, writing and singing songs. Music was my escape and my comfort zone. I did not harness this talent till much later in life when it had become clear that I did not love doing anything else with my life as much as I loved it. It was like the air I breathe and water to my soul; to not be creative, for me, was to die a slow death.
RB: Can you talk about your song, “Med!c!ne” and upcoming release, World !n Cr!s!s?
Tshila: “Medicine” came about in bits and pieces. The melody is inspired by a Wolof ancient song called Kaira that I learned on the Kora instrument when I visited Senegal in 2008. It began with my Ugandan friend Babaluku doing an acapella rap on my iPad one day and I produced it into the full song it eventually became. It features my dear friends from Uganda, Kinobe on the Kora and Babaluku rapping. I was able to shoot the video on a zero budget out in nature and it was the most transformative experience I have had so far. The song ‘Medicine” talks about Love and healing. Love heals everything. Love is the “Medicine”. The album has a very heavy title: World !n Cr!s!s. So I felt that I needed to balance it with a message of hope and offer solutions and one of the things that helps humanity consistently is love for ourselves and love for others. Hence the words, Love is the Medicine.
Last year, I released a video for a song called “Revolution Now” and loved the journey and the outcome so much that I wanted to make it into a whole album based on the same themes. That was how I came to make World !n Cr!s!s based on a bunch of socially conscious messages that I wanted to share with the world.
RB: What do you feel are the most important causes for people to get involved with?
Tshila: I think the current political climate has served as a reminder to people that the person at the top is not the solution to your everyday problems. We all want someone to point to to help us figure things out but it is local policies and politicians that make more of a different in people’s daily lives. I grew up being told that “Charity begins at home”. It was one of those things I brushed off until I finally understood its meaning and it is very powerful message. It means if you want to change the world, you have to start at your own doorstep. As humans we love to pick out stones from other people’s eyes without noticing the logs in our own. So if everyone cleaned up their own little patch of the world, that would make the world beautiful. The best thing we can do is start with ourselves then grow towards our families, then to our communities, then to rest of the world.
RB: What’s on the horizon? What can fans expect to see from you next?
Tshila: I would like to tour and perform the music on this album which I have spent a whole year writing, recording and cultivating. I have made a few music videos for the album which I am trying to build an audience for and hoping to soon enough. I want to highlight the global issues on this album and give them a chance to be discussed before I move on to anything else. I also want to tour and perform and speak at universities or schools to help mold the younger minds into a more positive direction.
RB:What do you do to balance your life?
Tshila: I love to swim and do yoga. I also watch movies and documentaries. I also love being surrounded by people that I love as much as is possible. While recording this album I have needed a lot of personal growth so I sought out help from mental health specialists and read a lot of self help books. Dealing with such issues can give one a heavy heart and pessimistic outlook. So I make sure to take care of myself mentally and spiritually.
RB:What advice do you have for our readers?
Tshila: The word Equanimity evokes inner peace and zen. So it is my wish that the person reading this has that sense of interconnectedness that is required to know that we are all just visitors in this world; to have the desire to leave the world in a better state than how we found it. And it is hard sometimes but it start with breaking old patterns that have been handed down to us for generations and creating new bonds with ourselves, with others, and with nature. Like Michael Jackson said, “If you’re wanna make the world a better place, take a look and yourself and make a change.”
Watch Tshila’s Music Video, Med!c!ne
World !n Cr!s!s comes out December 1, 2018.