Lady Titie Biography, Music, Family and Awards
Lady Titie was Born in Bakuli, Kampala, to single mother, Zaali Bajanja, Titie attended Kampala Parents School, Ndejje Secondary School and Taibah High School. Among her seven siblings, she is the only one in
the limelight. “When I was nominated for the PAM Awards in 2003, I went back home for the first time, since I needed to go with my mother for the ceremony.
I thought she would still be angry with me but she was so happy to see me.”
Luckily, she took the Award for Female Artiste and the Best Live Single Award.
However, her mother urged her to complete her education and to make her happy, Titie studied Bachelor of Science in Accounting at Ndejje University, from 2004 to 2007 but has never practised. The artiste is protective of her three children, and it helps that they do not like the limelight either.
“One of my children is very emotional. Once when I went to his school and I was being given so much attention, he told me it would be better if I stayed in the car next time.”
In 2006, Eddie Sendi, her music manager, told her of an open slot on Beat FM. She was skeptical. “I was not fluent in Luganda and I was not sure I would interact with the listeners. When I got the slot I told the programme manager, Bill Tibingana, that I could not do it.” Tibingana instead encouraged her and being a perfectionist, she pushed herself to meet his expectations. “Looking back, I am grateful to Sendi for pushing me into radio.”
Pioneering problem solving on radio
Back then, radio was purely for entertainment. As a popular presenter, people waited outside the studio to tell Titie their problems, seeking her intervention.
“I helped those I could until one day I changed the programme script and read someone’s problem on radio for the listeners to advise her. It was supposed to be a one-off so that I would return to the original script the next day.” It never happened that way. People began writing their problems for her to address on air. Every day she read a letter. Eventually she wrote a proposal to NBS TV to air Titie’s Show.
“In the beginning, the challenge was getting people to agree to appear on TV. Unlike now when everyone is eager to appear on the show, at that time there was a lot of stigma attached to it.”
“Women should work like they will die tomorrow, and live like they will never die,” says the entertainer, whose role models are late musicians Brenda Fasie, Carol Nakimera, and Oprah Winfrey. She admires Fasie for her deep voice and wishes she could reach her notes. Titie sings mid alto yet Fasie was deep alto.
She admires Nakimera because she sang afro-pop kadongo kamu. “She was a pioneer among females in that field,” she explains.
She admires Oprah for being able to captivate an audience for more than 20years.
Titie hopes to remain relevant to her audience that long.
With changing attitudes, musicians are now celebrities but there was a time when female musicians were regarded as prostitutes. “As a rule, we wear different hairstyles and dress differently. Once, a boda boda rider taking me home from a show asked if I was too tired to sleep with him. When I told him I was not a prostitute, we laughed it off.”
Because of the skimpy clothes she had to wear at shows, Titie was scared of venturing out of her muzigo at daytime. A former radio presenter once asked for sexual favours in return for playing her music. By then, the songs were popular and she was in a position to turn him down.
“As a teenager, I loved music,” says the PAM Awards winner. “Music was so deep in my soul; I could not sleep at night.” Not even her mother’s collection of canes could stop her.
Once, when a dance was held on a Sunday, she waited for her mother to leave for church, in vain. “I put my clothes in a sack, picked a hoe and told her I was going to dig.
In the garden, I changed clothes and hid the sack and hoe in a bush.”
She enjoyed herself so much at the club that by the time it dawned on her to go home, it was 8pm. Scared, she walked through the bush looking for the sack to change back into her digging clothes, but her mother had retrived the sack and was waiting for her back home, canes ready.
“Now, I understand her position,” she says of her mother. “I was performing well at school and she believed I could do better if only I could concentrate on studies.”
Venturing into music
In 1996, when Titie reached the crossroads in her life, she chose music and run away from home. She took a taxi to Kireka intending to stay with a friend but she failed to locate the house.
“I entered Victoria Club and when the instrumentalists played Let’s Talk About Sex I asked for a microphone and started rapping. The bassist liked my voice and introduced me to the band.”
Not wanting to show her destitute state to her newfound friends, she slept at a bus stop. The band was Tony Ssengo’s and when she arrived in the morning, Akiiki Romeo, a musician, liked her voice when she sang By The Rivers of Babylon.
She was hired as a backup singer, a position she held for two years, living in the band’s communal house. “Those years were unstable. I was earning Shs7,000 per week, and once, after a show, we were not paid and had to walk from Nsambya to Namasuba at 2am, in a heavy downpour, escorted by two collegues.”
Soon, she got chances to sing lead, and eventually left to join Kads Band. It was there that she recorded Neesige Ani and Makanika Wange, her signature hit, before going solo. Makanika Wange and Nsonyiwa Faza were controversial songs, which she claims had nothing to do with her life story. “I had an electrician who was efficient in his work so I built the song around him.”
Contrary to press reports, Titie says that the Catholic Church never attacked her over Nsonyiwa Faza, a song in which an adulterous woman seeks penance, using her husband’s impotence to justify her actions.