We had the good fortune of connecting with Draei Bitsc and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Draei, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
I come from a city in the western side of Uganda called Fort Portal (the only beautiful city in Uganda and the only tourism city in the country). I was born in Kampala the capital city of Uganda but we came to Fort Portal to settle with our grandmother in 1999. Growing with my grandmother allowed me to learn how to be transparent, building trust in people and learning my mother language. My grandmother knew a lot about our Culture and encouraged me to always study hard at school. My mother would do the same and I learnt quite a number of chores from them. My mum and Dad had a small black and white TV at home where we used to watch a lot of Michael jackson’s songs. It’s because I was exposed to music at a young age that I studied singing and doing music at a later age. It’s this kind of upbringing that has made me get many friends because they find me reliable and someone they can trust to counsel them, advise them and tell their secrets.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a singer songwriter I sing about issues affecting society and love. I don’t find it fit to put my self or my music into one box by saying I do only this kind of Genre. I think I am different from others because of two things. I am always curious and a faster learner and I am versatile in many ways. I can play several music instruments that I have learnt out of being curious. It’s always exciting to know that I get to learn new things easily and this gives me pride. I know i am a fast learner and most things in life don’t come with much information but just how you choose to understand the small information and how much you can add from your own understanding and curiosity. I got to the place where I am today through the influence of my family and friends and my desire to do what was inside me. There was a passion. It’s like a spark, a fire that kept burning inside me. Through friends I was able to discover more of this and that’s how I got here.
It wasn’t easy getting to this place. I met negativity and self doubt along the way. A few people had faith in me but thank God, i entered into singing competitions and sometimes I would reflect on the positive comments from the judges. I believe now that sometimes all we need to hear is one positive thing about ourselves to awaken all the good spirits inside us. I was a young man who only needed one thing, that i can make it and I have the ability to. That’s how i overcame the negativity and self doubt inside me. “Reflect on one good thing about you” and you are good to go again.
I also learnt to appreciate who i am, I cannot do it like everyone but i can do it like me and no one can do it like me. I started esteeming this uniqueness about me and that’s also part of how i overcame the challenges along the way.
Like I said before, I have learnt one major thing, that sometimes what one needs is a good block, one right word or one true positive sentence to have his or her world changing. The world is full of negativity and we need to spread love and positivity at all times.
I have also learnt that without the right people in your life, a lot of things can die right inside you unaware. Background and the right people in your life influence a lot of things in us.
I would like the world to know that I put in efforts and make writings that I know will last for a long time. I want my music to be a place, to be a book someone can run to to get advice or predict the future of his society. My music is a place for lovers, the young and old and the future generation.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I have many friends I have met overtime through singing, at school, my OBs and OG’s and on social media. And whenever they pay me a visit, this is normally my itinerary.
Day 1: Look for accommodation and rest, if they cant afford Mountains of the Moon Hotel or Nyaika, we go for good Guest houses around town that are pocket friendly. The same places are my go to for Dinner.
Day 2: Breakfast at Little Rock Cafè, get in a saloon car and head to Sempaya Hot springs along the way enjoy the beautiful scenery of Karugutu Corners and the western arm of the rift valley. On our way back, we would go to Amabere ga Nyinamwiru (stalagmites and stalactites), and go hike Kyeganywa Hill to enjoy views of Lake Saaka and the crator lakes around from one place.
Day 3: Breakfast from Gardens Restaurant, Go to Top of the World view point and Mahoma Falls.
Day 4: Breakfast from Little Rock Cafe, Go for chimp tracking in Kibaale Forest. Enjoy swimming at Crator Safari Lodge.
Day 5: Breakfast from Mountains of the Moon Hotel, Go to Aramaga Lodge and later spend the afternoon at Kyaninga Lodge for swimming (pool and crator lake)
Day 6: Breakfast from the hotel the guests are residing at, Head over to Queen Elizabeth National Park for the morning Drive. Enjoy Night Life at Nyaika Hotel, Mountains of the Moon Hotel and later Kalya Courts Hotel Dance Club.
Breakfast at Little Rock Cafè, visit Tooro Kingdom Palace and use the afternoon to Drive Back to their Destinations.
In my view, Kyaninga Lodge, Aramaga Lodge, Kibaale Chimp tracking and Mahoma falls, Amabere ga Nyinamwiru are the best places to check out while in fort portal. I only gave my view incase someone did not have time to go to each and every place around but I believe each and every place listed in my itinerary deserves a check out.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to thank my family and my mother for taking the first step in making me who i am today. My mother is my best friend that I can talk to about anything. I would also like to thank Mam Jan Hemphill for being everything to me from filling the gaps at school to supporting me in my other endeavors in life without hesitation. I have also had support from SOS Children’s Villages Uganda, Manuel Lackmaier, Kiiza Susan and Muhumuza Joseph in my education and my singing profession. I feel indebted to these people forever.
Other: Music: Apple Music https://music.apple.com/us/artist/draei-bitsc/1474470987 Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/23zfAxxzYiyNHL560up5ec?nd=1 Soundcloud https://m.soundcloud.com/draeibitsc-music Tidal https://tidal.com/artist/16398348
Photos by @sagiomhza @apedrive