Seeking a career in the music industry is not easy. Everyone wants to become a singer but not everyone can sing. Music is ‘music’ but it is not the only thing that one needs to make it big. Personal image, stage performance, business success and hard work are among the few attributes needed to take you from being just a singer to a superstar!

Some have gone on to make it and others are dying trying, as they say. ElleAfrique managed to get hold of one such musician/rapper for our Powerful African Goddess Interview Series. She has already created a big name for herself in the African music scene but we believe that through her music she will continue to create great things for herself and for her fans.

What are your full names and why Keko as a stage name?
My full name is Keko Jocelyn Tracy. Keko is my African name as we call it, simply means early in the morning. It came naturally really…plus it kind of rolls off the tongue easily.

Tell us about your growing up in Uganda.
I was raised by a single mother Dorothy Achola, who died when I was 8. As you can imagine life was hell after that. My older sisters stepped in to take care of me since I was the youngest of the 3 daughters my mother had. I did not fully enjoy my childhood, I spent most of my time watching and listening to a lot of music from the 90s. Not long after that my aunt sent me to live with my grandmother in the village. There was no TV, just sounds and music from the trees, birds and wind.

Rock View School in Tororo district in the east of Uganda is where I completed my primary school before moving to a boarding school for high school in Kampala. I remember begging my cousin to reserve a space for me in his minivan taxi to Kampala because I was not going to stay in Tororo any more. St. Noah Girls Secondary School in Kampala is where I studied my O-level. I loved the arts, history and geography but fine arts was my trade. I was the best art student in the entire high school. Then it was Mary Hill High School in the west of Uganda Mbarara District where I graduated high school after completing my A-Levels before heading to Makerere University in Kampala where I completed a Bachelors Degree in Commerce.

What drove you towards rap music?
I combined my love for words and music really, I always got told by my family at times that I got the words from my mother and the music from my father. [Smiles]

You were recognised by Channel O for your great sense of style. What inspires your fashion choices?
My fashion sense is driven by my strength and belief in who I am. My roots, things I stand for, things that I embrace and because that’s my identity I dress in a way only I know how.

Name some African / international artists you would love to do a collaboration with and why?
I would love to work with David Guetta, Daft Punk or even Coldplay – it would be interesting to see what we would come up with.

How has life changed for you since you got signed by Sony Music Label?
The usual. More success, even more haters, but I’m just focused on work at the moment … that’s writing more hit records.

In a few words, describe the ideal African woman.
Wow. The ideal African woman is not given by her skin tone, she is independent, driven, loving, well informed and has values. Beauty in and out.

Name five African women you look up to.
1. Justice Julia Sebutinde – First African female judge to sit on the International Court of Justice.
2. Zain Verjee – Journalist
3. President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson –  President of Liberia
4. Genevieve Nnaji – Nollywood Actress
5. Iman, Supermodel

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Still winning and giving back even more.What advice do you give to the African youth?
My advice would be that we have only one life to live. Live right, live good, be the best you can be, and believe that you can do it. Patience and dedication plus passion always wins. In God we trust.

*Interview conducted by Solange Kamikazi.