CELEBRITY FOCUS: Maureen Nantume’s rise from grass to grace

From a full-time housemaid to becoming one of the most celebrated Ugandan musicians, Golden Band’s Maureen Nantume has had such an inspirational journey. We take a look at how she made it to the top.

The reality of life for Nantume Maureen came off to a sour start with the death of her mother, Robinah Nakitende, who was an onion vendor – the business which had managed to raise three children – in 1996.

This forced Nantume to drop out of school in Senior Three in 2002 after struggling to raise school fees. She later got a job as a housemaid in Namasuba working for Shs 15,000 monthly.

Her new employers were very caring and she believes it was the work of God to put her in their custody. It was them that gave her the courage to audition for the band which later became a life-changing moment for her.

Nantume was alerted by her boss about an available opportunity with Eagles Production band which was carrying out auditions to recruit new talent. Her boss believed she had a good voice.

My boss told me I had a good voice and that I should go for the auditions which, I did.

Over 100 participants attended the auditions then and she remembers being intimidated by people who already looked like celebrities with a star attitude.

Luckily, the judges told her to sing Betty Mpologoma’s song ‘Big Daddy’ which was one of her favourite songs at the time. She was comfortable with it, sang it, and returned home – only to hear her name being read out on CBS Radio as part of the top five in the competition.

Just like that, Nantume joined the Eagles’ Production Band to rub shoulders with senior members like Geoffrey Lutaaya, Mesarch Ssemakula, Fred Maiso, Ronald Mayinja, Catherine Kusasira, Stecia Mayanja, Sophie Nantongo among others.

Nantume’s career had changed for the better but her financial position remained the same. As a backup singer she was paid only Shs 5,000 for every performance.

My life became more difficult. It was hard surviving on that kind of pay. However, I did not regret it even for a second. I was not the exception, all around me were backup singers living the same life. This gave me comfort. But most importantly I knew it was a matter of time before my fortunes changed.

After three years of toiling under Eagle’s Production, they wrote her a song ‘Sili Ndogoyi’ which launched her music career as a complete artiste.

She slowly rose through the ranks with a couple of hit songs, no longer performing as a backup but an artiste in her own right. Here, the money started flowing in.

The nature of her music garnered her a huge fan base very early in her career and she even started being booked to perform at traditional introduction ceremonies (Kwanjula).

From that time, the curvaceous singer has never looked back. She only gets better with time and for over a decade that she has been in the active music business, she comfortably belongs to the elite class of the Ugandan music industry.

She is now a mother, farmer and businesswoman, running a bridal and fashion boutique in Makindye opposite Calendar Rest-house.

Nantume will hold her ‘Ndimuzadde’ Concert on Friday 8th March 2019 in which she intends to celebrate with all her fans at Club Obligato.

Read Also: Maureen Nantume to celebrate women with concert-in March

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