Joshua Semwanga alias Joash
Joshua Ssemwanga is an amazing vocalist; from the time he sings that first note, to the time he holds the guitar – he’s a talent that gets you wondering why his music is not on the mainstream media.
He describes himself as a free soul who loves having fun and a good conversation; a brother to two sisters, he sings, dances and writes music and never wants to be boxed.
On stage, he goes by the name Joash, a persona that he says is different from the Semwanga that many people know;
“Semwanga keeps Joash in check, I have to always get back to my culture to understand what am doing.”
Coming from a strong Christian background, Joash is a son of pastor and of course used to sing in the church choir before choosing an all different musical path.
“Of course there was conflict when I took a turn with my music,”
He says adding that he didn’t want to be boxed in a genre, today, he considers himself an inspirational artiste who speaks to all people in all kinds of situations.
Much as his album is only in the waiting, Joash is not new on the performance circuit; he cut his tooth into the industry when he contested on Urban TV’s premiere music talent search show Coke Rated Next.
The show had attracted talent like Kenneth Mugabi, Apio Moro and the Undercover Brothers duo that had contested as solos among others. Of course he didn’t win but it’s after the show that he was picked up by Legend P.
At that time, Legend P was running a band Unit 446 where Jemimah Sanyu was a lead singer. The band usually performed at Cayenne Bar on a weekly basis besides showcasing at art markets and festivals.
“Legend P called me up after Rated Next and mentored me into the artiste I became.”
His first performance at Cayenne though didn’t go down as planned, being a new act, he messed things up because he was nervous;
“I ended up playing in different chords…”
But he was strengthened by a fact that he had some love from the audience where some people had seen him on the TV show.
He and the band would later be chosen to replace Dr. Bone, a South African rapper that had missed his flight to Uganda for the Bayimba International Festival of the Arts, it was an abrupt call though Jemimah and Joash successfully managed to get the audience on their feet all through the performance.
“It was abrupt, we had not even rehearsed, but I just came in to do my best.”
The performance was ranked as one of the best on the opening day of Bayimba in 2014.
Three of the original songs he performed at the festival are part of the fourteen songs that will feature on his highly anticipated debut album, Verified.
He says that the album was titled Verified because it’s proof that he’s ready to be the artiste he wants to be;
“The album is verification and thus the name, it’s a representation of all the work I have been putting out.”
For Joash, music is a calling and thus, he says that all the songs on the album had to talk to him before they could to the audience, though he still notes that the album speaks to a broad range of generations.
Joash is one of the artistes that will get Blankets and Wine faithful entertained when he performs at the festival on April 30, having appeared on the stage before as a backup artiste for Giovanni Kiyingi, he notes that he always saw himself performing on the stage but didn’t picture that it would be so soon.
“Blankets and Wine is a huge platform and am going to be cool on that stage.”
Already excited about the other artistes selected, he notes that people that going to show up for the festival are going to be shocked.