Home » How Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo went from sleeping on the street to historic Grammy nomination

How Uganda’s Eddy Kenzo went from sleeping on the street to historic Grammy nomination




In the latest episode of African Voices Changemakers, CNN’s Larry Madowo spent time with Eddy Kenzo, Uganda’s first Grammy nominee, to talk about his moment in the spotlight, his journey and why he’s elevating disadvantaged kids in his country.


Born Edrisah Kenzo Musuuza, Kenzo spent 13 years of his early life sleeping on the streets, finding solace in music and football. It was sport that eventually served as his way out, but it would be music that became his lifeline. He tells Madowo, “I’ve always known that I’ll make it in music because I could feel the creativity in me. I’ve always had music. The only thing I didn’t have was the support, the studio […] I used to compose music even without instruments and stuff. I used to sing on beats, so by the time I went to the studio, I would already have my songs composed on other people’s beats. I hear the beat; I start composing my own.”

Kenzo explains that although his music comes from a place of pain, he aims to make music for joy, “I want to make people happy because I know someone somewhere is sad about the different things they go through. When I come to the studio, I want to heal that person because I went through the same thing for a long time. That’s why I do happy music.”. He continues, “I just wanted to choose to be better, not bitter.”

Although Kenzo’s smooth voice has earned him numerous accolades, it is the artist’s power to collaborate that has enabled him to resonate with international audiences. His 2022 collaboration “Gimme Love” with American R&B singer Matt B earned him his first Grammy nomination. He talks about the song, “Matt B told me about his story, how he drove from Chicago to Los Angeles with his kids in the car. And then they just came to LA to look for opportunities. I felt touched. So, I played one of the beats I had on my phone. He picked one of the beats. We went in the studio, we composed, and then we did the song. I’m so grateful that at least it changed our story. A Grammy nominee is a Grammy nominee. I thank God for that.”

Kenzo tells CNN that he would love to collaborate with Davido in the future, describing him as “so humble” and welcoming.

One thing that stayed true throughout Kenzo’s career is philanthropy and a dedication to making a positive impact in his community. He speaks about these endeavours, “That’s why I support more musicians, dancers, and then soccer because I know what they feel.” He continues, “These younger talented musicians, they go through a lot to make it because they want to put out what they have in them, and anyone can use them. They feel like there’s an opportunity.”


Looking to the future, Kenzo concludes, “We want to achieve different things on different stages. I just want to keep representing my people and inspiring. I want to see a generation that is going to do way better than me after seeing what I’ve done, and they don’t make the mistakes I’ve made. That will make me so proud.”


African Voices Changemakers airs on CNN International on Saturday 17th February 2024 at 0930 SAST


The show also airs at the following times:

Saturday 17th February 2024 at 1300 SAST

Sunday 18th February 2024 at 0530 SAST and 2000 SAST

Monday 19th February 2024 at 0500 SAST



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