Maurice Kirya is a singer, songwriter, actor and humanitarian from Uganda. He is a celebrated household name in East Africa with over a decade-long wealth of experience in the music industry.
Maurice is credited as the pioneer of Ugandan soul music – a style he’s aptly dubbed ‘’Mwooyo’’ and has performed in over 35 Countries, and collaborated in performances with the likes of NE-YO, Mark Forster, and Jordin Sparks.
He has also featured in Hollywood films like The Queen Of Katwe, The Last King of Scotland, and Kirya is currently starring in ‘The Girl In the Yellow Jumper’’ an upcoming movie directed by Loukman Ali.
He is also the C.E.O of Piz & Pots (a Marketing, Branding & events Agency). The company that also runs the annual music festival KIRYALIVE FESTIVAL in Kampala.
Kirya is a youth & health activist who is also collaborating with the organisation Hijra, & UNHCR in Uganda in the efforts to protect the lives and rights of refugees. Due to his passion for wild life conservation, Kirya was named as a WILD AID ambassador alongside powerful names such as actor Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa & Li Bing Bing.
Pre-orders for his highly anticipated album ‘Beyond Myself’ have already begun which is out September 20th. Check out my exclusive interview with him below:
Hey Maurice! Would you like to introduce yourself to our readers?
Thanks, my name is Maurice Kirya, a Ugandan singer & actor.
Talk me through an average day in the life of you?
It really depends on tasks ahead but for sure I am awake by 6:am, I have 30 minutes to myself to do absolutely nothing but catch up with my inner self, then I make a list of things to do in the day but in priority order, then a light workout, emails & call, then out for meetings! however I always have to make time for music practice and building my craft, the last 4 hours of my day are for family & friends.
What institution(s) did you attend and what did you study?
I completed my A level studies at Kampala Citizens college and literature was one of my main subjects.
How did your journey into music begin?
It’s one of those things that my whole family has been involved in from an early age, in 2000, I knew it was gonna be my main career choice.
Tell us what “Piz & Pots” is all about?
Piz & Pots is a marketing strategies & brand agency, we enjoy working with out of the box ideas.
How did the “KIRYALIVE FESTIVAL” project start and what are the plans for this year?
Unfortunately this year is packed but most definitely next year! I started the show in 2011 due to the gap that needed to be filled regarding live music and professional productions.
You are a WILD AID ambassador alongside powerful names such as actor Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa & Li Bing Bing. Tell us more about how you got named and what your goals for wild life conservation this year?
I have always been passionate about conserving our wild life and heritage, and I guess the team at Wild aid noticed that and I was glad to join the team in creating awareness about the dangers of poaching and how our heritage must be protected. Rhinos are going extinct and the world is not even aware because there isn’t enough awareness about it.
You have been credited as the pioneer of Ugandan soul music. How would you describe the music scene in East Africa?
East Africa is easily becoming the Hollywood of Africa, not for lack of competition from West Africa of course but we are headed in the right direction.
Tell us more about your upcoming album “Beyond Myself”, what is the message behind the title and what should your fans be expecting from the album?
Beyond Myself is my fifth album, and unlike other albums, this takes a darker turn in composition, the topics are from a darker place than ever before, I am singing about things much bigger than me, hence the title.
You wrote a song for Coca-Cola “Lets Go Crazy Africa” which focused on African talent and unity, so what’s your take on the Xenophobic attacks in South Africa?
My heart aches, we have gone through so much as a continent to get where we are, unifying as one is the only way we can achieve the African dream, no boarders or cultural differences should divide us, we must build each other and treat each other with love.
You have performed in over 35 Countries, and collaborated in performances with the likes of American superstar, NE-YO, German superstar Mark Forster, and American actor and idols winner Jordin Sparks. How does that make you feel and what will you say inspired the lyrics to those songs?
I think it’s been the fact that I am different kind of artist with un-usual choice of topic, some might call it authenticity, whatever it is, that’s what has made me stand out and get such collaborations.
You have also featured in Hollywood films like The Queen Of Katwe as ‘Theo’ (along side Lupita Nyongo & David Oyelowo), acted in The Last King of Scotland as himself (Not credited) starring Forest Whitaker, Kerry Washington & David Oyelowo and now currently starring in ‘The Girl In the Yellow Jumper’’ an upcoming movie directed by Loukman Ali. What comes to mind when you acting or writing songs for TV/Movies?
For acting, I like roles that are far away from who I am as a person, ‘The Girl in the Yellow Jumper’ will show that other side of me that enjoys embodying characters that are unlike my true self.
As an east coast singer, songwriter and producer gaining popularity in Los Angeles and a very sought after young talent in the industry, what will you say keeps you motivated/inspired to stay dedicated to what you love?
I have a vision to be one of the greatest artists in the world, I am on my way, if I want it bad, dedication, determination and direction are and should be the key ingredient. When I see where I have come from as an artist and see the growth, it gives me the confidence to know I am headed in the right direction.
What’s your 5 Dos and Don’t when it comes to music production?
- Do what you feel, coz feeling is everything
- Don’t be to harsh on yourself, progress can’t be rushed
- Do have a positive vibe in you and to others in the studio, lighten the mood
- Don’t forget to save files every after five minutes
What do you do to stay in shape, do you go to the gym?
I don’t eat sugar or fast foods and I mostly am plant based, but I love my chicken breast still! LOL, I work out three times a week.
How do you balance your personal and professional life?
I keep my priorities on the top of the list, family always comes before professional life, it’s that simple.
What would you say is the main misconception the public have about the music industry?
The idea that it’s based on talent alone. There is more work that goes into it, what the public sees, is us making it look easy, but it’s years of learning both craft and how to relate with people.
What aspect surprised you the most once you started working in the music and movie industry?
The fact that people are more interested in the artist’s drama than the craft.
Looking back to when you started doing music, producing and writing songs, is there anything you would like to change going forward?
To not take time for granted.
Which brands, clients, artists, actors, producers, directors, photographers, songwriters, etc, have you worked with?
Whhooaaahh, you would think after 18 years of doing what I do that it would be easy to name a few, I have really been fortunate, that’s all that comes to mind.
What do you consider your biggest professional success so far?
Becoming my own unique sound and artist, it’s hard to establish yourself as an independent artist.
Who do you want to work with that you haven’t yet?
I wanna push the acting to really higher grounds.
What has been your biggest challenge?
As an independent artist, you can only imaging how un-loyal my bank account can be! hahahahaha
Tell us two things people don’t know about you?
I am hiding all my remaining skeletons dude, people know way too much!
You are very active on social media. Do you think its important to be online and if so why?
I am not so taken up by social media, I am only there where there is a reason once sharing, I am glad to have patients and loyal followers.
You are currently shuttle between Uganda and Europe, so how is that working out for you?
I have a great team that makes sure I handle my schedules well, all credit really goes to them.
What are your must visit travel destinations?
Japan, always wanted to! luckily I’ve been schedule to play there next year!
How would you describe your style?
WILD BUT CLASSY.
Name 5 things we should take seriously about our style choices?
- Clothes must fit
- Colours must blend
- Comfort is key
- occasions must be respected
- Accessories are spices for style.
Name your 5 must have accessories/essentials?
- Good earphones
What are your favourite fashion trends?
I am crazy about the tiny round frame shades.
What is your favourite dish?
Brown rice and Beans.
What music genre appeals to you the most?
What songs are currently on your playlist?
Listening to Jidenna 85 to AFRICA.
Apart from music, acting, what other projects are you currently working on?
I am working with refugees in Uganda, I believe there is more that can be done to integrate them in the communities,they should be welcomed warmly and empowered to continue to dream and work towards their dreams.
Seeing you’re doing your dreams, what advice can you give others to pursue their dreams?
Just move in the direction of the things that make you happy.
Any specific plans for the future?
Yo, this would take forever my brother, hahaha, remember the cartoons ”Pinky & the Brain” I am both those to guys, I want to live all my dreams.
Any final words?
Carry on, with love.
Where can we follow you online and on social media?
I am on most social media platforms, but subscribing to my website www.mauricekirya.com, a newsletter will keep you on track with my latest projects.