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From A Street Boy To Africa’s Music Superstar: The Story Of Eddy Kenzo

Edrisah Musuuza alias Eddy Kenzo went from homeless child selling water on the streets of Uganda’s capital to one of Africa’s biggest musical sensations with over 100 million YouTube views, seven albums, numerous collaborations with other top artists and philanthropic initiatives.  

At the age of four, Eddy lost his mother who was his everything.  Unable to locate his father, he spent the next 13 years as a homeless child growing up in the streets—what he dubs the “University of Understanding”.  Music was his safe haven amidst the street hustle.  His God-given talent in singing, songwriting and dancing quickly became apparent as Eddy Kenzo became a household name across Uganda.

His song “Sitya Loss” was his first breakthrough on the international stage with over 50 million YouTube views alone.  It presents the fundamentally positive message of not fearing loss and instead enjoying life.  Such is the character of Eddy Kenzo’s music: pure positivity.

This successful message has uplifted impoverished youth around the world, particularly the Triplet Ghetto Kids who Eddy Kenzo propelled onto the world stage.  He takes philanthropy very seriously.   For example, he finances a school of 250 students in his hometown Masaka and founded a football (soccer) talent academy for underprivileged youth.

Eddy Kenzo’s dream is to create a sustainable, scalable platform for ghetto children to change their own lives.

Career 

Kenzo began making music using his stage name, Eddy Kenzo, in 2008. That year, he released his first song titled “Yannimba” with Mikie Wine.

In 2010, he released another single, “Stamina”. The song was used as a theme song by many politicians during the 2011 Ugandan general election.

At the Pearl of Africa Music Awards in 2011, Kenzo was given the Best New Artist award.

Kenzo also established his Big Talent Entertainment record label early on in his career. He continues to serve as a member of that venture.

Kenzo continued releasing new music in 2012. In 2013, he held his first concert at the Kyadondo Rugby Club that year in support of the track, “Kamunguluze”. Kenzo’s first major international breakthrough came with 2014’s “Sitya Loss” and the accompanying album of the same name. A YouTube video featuring a group of Ugandan children known as the Ghetto Kids dancing to the song went viral after it was shared on social media by record executive, Sean Combs. Kenzo also started a petition to earn the children an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. As of 2019, the video has accumulated over 22 million views on YouTube. After the release of “Sitya Loss” and the album of the same name, Kenzo went on a brief United States tour with dancehall musician, DeMarco

In January 2015, Kenzo performed at the opening ceremonies of that year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea alongside Akon. He also performed at the tournament final. Around that time, he produced a remix to his 2014 single, “Jambole”, with a guest appearance from Nigerian singer, Kcee. In June 2015, Kenzo was honored with the BET Award for “Viewer’s Choice Best New International Artist”. He was the first East African artist to win a BET Award of any kind. In July 2015, he performed at the KigaliUp Music Festival in Rwanda‘s capital. In October of that year, he released a remixed version of his song, “Mbilo Mbilo”, featuring Nigerian singer, Niniola. The original version of that song later appeared on the soundtrack for the 2016 film, Queen of Katwe.

In December 2015, Kenzo released the lead single, “Soraye”, off of his second album, Zero to Hero. In March 2016, he went on a tour Africa, with stops in KenyaIvory CoastMali, and others. Later that month, he released Zero to Hero. Throughout the remainder of 2016, Kenzo earned a writing credit on Jidenna‘s “Little Bit More”, was featured on the Mi Casa single “Movie Star”, and won an All Africa Music Award for his “Mbilo Mbilo” remix. He also went on another US tour late in the year. In May 2017, Kenzo was named the ambassador of the Kenyan Tourism Board and was appointed to a similar role in Uganda the following year.

In July 2017, Kenzo went on a European tour ahead of the release of his third studio album, Biology, a month later. The album featured guest appearances from artists like Mani MartinWerrason, and Mi Casa, among others. It also featured the single “Jubilation”, which had an accompanying music video that won the Best East African Music Video Award at the Zanzibar International Film Festival. He would go on to win two awards at that year’s All Africa Music Awards, including Best East African Male Artist. He would later donate that award along with his 2015 BET Award to the Uganda Museum in Kampala.

In March 2018, Kenzo won a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award as the “Favorite African Star.” In July 2018, he performed alongside Triplets Ghetto Kids at multiple African music festivals in Canada, including Afrofest in Toronto. He also performed at the One Africa Music Festival in Dubai later in the year. In October 2018, he released his fourth studio album, Roots, which featured the single “Body Language”. Kenzo also announced a 10-year anniversary concert in celebration of his time as a musical artist. The concert took place on 4 January 2019 in the Victoria ballroom of the Serena Hotel in Kampala. Leading up to the concert, Kenzo released a new music video for a song from Roots each week for two months.

In March 2019, it was announced that Kenzo would be featured alongside Triplets Ghetto Kids in an upcoming music video for American singer Chris Brown‘s “Back to Love”.In April 2019, Kenzo released the single, “Signal” with an accompanying music video.

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