By Elton Juniour
To many he came to the music scene after the release of ‘Apple’, a song they did as the ‘Big Tym Crew’ which later on got disillusioned and two of them (Lary Chary and Ray Signature) went on to pursue solo careers and for Oscar we have never heard of him since the disillusionment. To many he is the handsome artiste who melts some ladies hearts when he does sing but what many don’t know is that music is not only business to him but also a passion and talent which he realized he had when he was eight years old and has since then worked towards improving his talent. I got a chance to sit down with the talented, handsome and humble Lary Chary and do an interview about his personal and celebrity life and he had nothing to hide.
TVM: Many people know you by your stage name Lary Chary which by the way you should tell me how you got it. Otherwise what are you real names?
Lary: Tumusiime Hillary Charbel and I got my stage name from my real full names. “Lary” comes from Hillary and “Chary” comes Charbel and I actually later got to know that Chary has a meaning which is cautious which I think is one of my personality traits.
TVM: What is your education background, starting from nursery that is if you went to one?
Lary: (Laughs) Of course I went to one. I went to Kisizi Hospital Nursery and Primary School where I studied classes from nursery to primary four, then my dad got a transfer to Kanungu and so I had to follow him. So I joined Bishop Mazoligi Primary School where I completed my Primary Seven from and I actually wrote an anthem for them while in Primary Seven which they still use up to now and actually even now when I go back they call an assembly and sing my anthem. So I am a big legend that side. I later on went to St. Paul Seminary, Rushoroza in Kabale district for my senior one but you know the strictness in seminaries, things didn’t really work out and so I was chased in Senior Two and I went back to Kanungu and joined Bishop Comboni College until senior four where I met Brother Mukasa commonly known as Zidoolo who I think identified my music talent while I was in Comboni and so when he (Zidoolo) was transferred to a school in Kampala, he called me up for a bursary at Uganda Martyrs High School, Rubaga where I completed my A’level from. One of the reasons as to why I will always be grateful to my talent is that it actually paid school fees for my entire A’level. From there I went to Kampala Music School where I studied up to grade three which was more of write and theory which I later discovered does not apply a lot in the music industry because music had always been like my dream.
TVM: What was your childhood and teenage life like?
Lary: There was not much because I used to fear girls, was shy but talented. So I was more involved into things like; village drama associations and clubs, talent searches and stuff like that. Though I was I silent, I was very stubborn because I remember one time me and some other four guys escaped from school to go and get something to eat because we were tired of Posho and Beans. So one of us took lead and we went to a sugarcane plantation which we later realized was not theirs and so we were actually going to steal and unfortunately one of us was nailed by police who later called our headmaster the following day and after that call, things turned out completely wrong. It is actually one of my worst moments in my childhood and teenage life although it is not the most memorable. My most memorable event was when I won the anthem composition competition because it was a competition that involved both students and teachers and I actually beat two teachers of whom one was our choir master.
TVM: At what age did realize you had a music talent?
Lary: I started mastering music instruments when I was five years old but I realized I had talent when I was eight years and that was in my Primary three when the school choir happened to be recruiting. It was a missionary school and so music was recognized and so they had some music instruments like; pianos, adungu which I had already associated myself with by teaching myself through hearing, discovering and trying. So when they called for choir recruiting, I went and when they asked me what I could do related to music, I played some codes I had discovered from the key board on a local instrument called an ‘Adungu’ and the choir master actually liked what I played and so I was accepted and the choir master actually went on to encourage me into playing other music instruments and I think that is when I realized I was molded for music.
TVM: When many people realize they have a talent, much more music which is said to be one of those talents that sweeps the opposite sex off their feet, they use their talent to boast their relationship or love life. Was it the same with you?
Lary: (Laughs hysterically) I actually used to fear girls and I think it was instead the opposite because girls used to vibe me instead of me doing it. This girl would actually wait for me to make a move which I never did and she would actually later on be forced to take the initiative of doing my job till my senior six vacation when I realized things had actually got out of hand and I actually tried dating although it was not that much and long lasting as I think the babes would get tired of waiting for me to make another step and eventually leave.
TVM: What do you consider you music breakthrough?
Lary: When I left Kampala Music School, I was 18 by then and decided to head for my journey into practical music. So I called up Brother Mukasa to help me get a place where I can nurture my talent by acquiring skills that I would use to launch my career in the music industry. So he first talked to Fire Base Crew but I feared associating with the crew because of the stereotype, so he tried Silver Kyagulanyi whom he had taught while at Kasasa and he actually loved my then only recorded song. So I joined Silver and while at his place, I used to play a guitar to keep me busy and you know he also has this eye for sighting talent very fast. I remember when I first played a code on a guitar when he was listening, he said and I quote “You are going to be a good producer” and to me that meant a lot coming from a person like him who had spent a lot of time in the industry. So after that incident, I went in for production and song writing immediately and he actually supported me by giving me full access to his studio in that whenever there was no client, I would go in and practice and I will be eternally grateful to him for that. So I used to find Washington in the studio mostly at night when he came to finish his projects and I would observe what he was doing and ask him where I needed explaining. And as I was getting to learn production, I was trying to exploit my song writing talent and then try producing them and there is this song that I did called “Nkakutorona” in my home language Runyakole which literally means “I chose you”. When people at the studio heard it, they also realized that I could also sing as well and therefore had potential to make it as an artist. The most important compliment I got was from Washington because I remember he said; “You have a good voice and you can actually sing” and this was a person who had produced songs for the likes of; Bebe Cool and the likes and I therefore respected whatever came from his mouth and I started believing in myself and that is when my music career started.
TVM: Did you ever release the song?
Lary: No, I did not and why because soon after I did the ‘Nkakutorona’ song, Silver realized that; Oscar, Ray currently Ray Signature and my voice were compatible together which therefore led to the birth of ‘Big Tym’ and so I did not have to release the song. Soon after we formed Big Tym, we all forgot about our solo songs and worked as a group and actually our first song was “Ekigambo Kimu” which played on Dembe F.M so much that it was only ‘Stamina’ that washed it off Dembe waves.
TVM: Talking of Big Tym, how did you guys meet?
Lary: Ray and Oscar came to Sikia records through a talent search that was headed by Silver and there were actually a lot of guys that participated in it but it was Big Tym that really stood out. Some are still there and others left. We were with people like; David Kisiitu, a gospel artiste, Nakazibwe Josephine who I think is now managed by one of the Bukedde guys, among others. So Ray and Oscar came out of the talent search and as for me I was already there as I was introduced by Brother Mukasa.
TVM: Would you say that as soon as you became Big Tym, you became celebrities?
Lary: No, not immediately because we had to struggle for some time to get public recognition. Yes, we started getting kind of popular but we were not yet celebrities because a few people knew us. I could say it was our song ‘Apple’ that made as celebrities but before it, we had done a lot of songs including a collabo with Rabadaba titled Sofia but they did not sound a lot because I think they were not well promoted like Apple. I remember I once told our marketer at that time to consider doing a video for Sofia and promote it rather than have us do performances and follow Rabadaba everywhere he went because that did not yield much for us. I used to do the production of all our songs and so I decided to put all my efforts on ‘Apple’ although I did not know by then that it would be apple because it was just a track. So I called the others and told them that we should do a song where we shall put all our best efforts into and so we asked ourselves what topic should we sing about because you know one thing with music is that you must do music about something that many people can identify with. So we realized that many people identified so much with love in general and vibing a lady in particular and so each one of us came up with their verses and we did the chorus together and boom ‘Apple’ was created. So we told our then manager called Besimbire Herbert to do whatever it took to have the video playing on television stations. So he put in the money and the song actually got television air plays and that is when we started being popular and celebrated.
TVM: We have had arguments and discussion about who a celebrity is in Uganda before and many definitions have come up. Who is a celebrity to you?
Lary: (Laughs) I wouldn’t want to answer that question because it will hit on many people but the truth is I would define being a celebrity as a kind of popularity that is not forced on people not this popularity that some of our musicians and politicians do of creating stories. Let me run you through a scenario: I go to a bar and pay someone so that I can punch him and when I do, it makes news and I earn my popularity. Even in the music industry, we do pay for power play on both television and radio stations and by this I mean that we pay for our songs to be played and to me that kind of popularity that is earned through pay is forced popularity. You look at the Kabaka for example people just yearn for him, he does not pay to be popular but it is his birthright to be celebrated and people do celebrate him willingly. The other person I would consider to be a celebrity would be Kiprotich, you saw the jam he caused on his way from Enteebbe, people willingly wanted to see him. So to me being a celebrity is being celebrated by a person or people at goodwill. So to me someone can be popular yet he or she is not a celebrity.
TVM: Could your not considering yourself a celebrity be the reason as to why you never attended Pastor Bugembe’s celebrity Sunday?
Lary: Not really I would have gone but I was not invited and I actually also had a show on the same day. I went to the first one simply because I was invited but I was not invited to last year’s or maybe I did not get my invitation and I usually do not go to things am not invited to, in other words I hate crushing parties.
TVM: What challenges did you face as Big Tym because after sometime, the crew got disillusioned and you and Ray went into solo music?
Lary: The biggest challenge was decision making. You know when everyone feels that they are talented enough to ‘muganda akiyitta kwetegelela’ literally meaning stand on their own, then you get a problem because everyone thinks that their ideas are good enough like for the rest and therefore have to go through. So decision making becomes kind of hard and our manager Herbert was not that kind of person that liked forcing his decision on other people and I think that is where the problem came from because I wanted this, Oscar wanted that and so did Ray and at the end of the day nothing is accomplished.
TVM: What record labels and management have you been signed to?
Lary: When I was still a member of the Big Tym, I was signed to Silver Kyagulanyi’s Sikia Records but you know a record label is a big thing and so you therefore have to have a manager within the record label and therefore Herbert Besimbire was our manager. Now that I went solo, am not signed to any record label but I do have a crew called Prime Beats that consists of singers, dancers, a promoter, band because I believe in team work rather than individuality. In this group we have people like Pretty Glo, Bravo K, Hudson (former coca- cola rated next contestant) among others.
TVM: What does Prime Beats do to promote young talent?
Lary: Am not so much into promotion but I try where I can and do provide them with what I can. I write for them songs, help them write or edit their own songs and produce them when I do have time. The songs are not popular because you know what happens in the music industry, you have to pay for power play and stuff but if one calls us on a concert or show or any event that is when one can realize the talent within Prime Beats because we usually do live music since we have a band. Actually if I ever get enough capital to invest in the crew, people will realize that we are better than most crews out there.
TVM: Where do you derive you music inspiration from?
Lary: Basically it is my real life as in my day to day life; what I feel when I wake up and may be my background like my exposure to folk music and those MDD activities I did while at a school got stuck in my head because when you listen to my music, it is filled with some folkness.
TVM: We have been exposed to many artistes’ music, those that we want to hear or are worth hearing and those that we don’t want to hear or are worth not hearing due to the excessive promotion. Why isn’t yours promoted despite it being good music?
Lary: I have not been much into promoting my music but I have set this year as one where I will concentrate on promoting my music because I have realized that if you wait for this big deal to come so that you get enough capital to invest in promotion, it may never come and maybe that I have been more into production than releasing songs but that is all about to change. I love creating music and the more you are in studio, the more creative you tend to be and I love being in the studio a lot. The truth is I have good music that people do not know about because of promotion but that will have changed by the end of the year and to show my commitment, I have actually already started with internet promotion and am yet to start radio, t.v, and other medias.
TVM: We have never heard of you launching an album or making a concert, why is that?
Lary: I believe one needs to have a very big song for one to really earn from a concert and I don’t know if you have noticed but my music does not just hit or go viral at once but rather grows with time. Like for example: my biggest song so far is ‘Winner’ and if you are to realize it did not become a hit at once but rather its popularity has kept on growing underground. So I guess till I get that song that will go viral at once, I won’t be thinking of a launch because I think it is not good to do a launch just for the sake of a launch and most especially when you are doing your first launch, I believe it should be mega so that you uphold your brand.
TVM: What is your ‘winner’ song all about?
Lary: Winner was about day to day life, I mean the hardships we go through in life and how winning can be exciting and hence the reason as to why in the video there was a race and at the end of the race there was a party celebrating my winning of the race. As I told you before, my music is inspired by my day to day life and at the time I was doing the winner song I felt like a winner and I think that was the time I had got the mother of my daughter and I had also cracked some deal that had given me some large sums of money at Sikia.
TVM: What would you consider as the challenges you have faced in the music industry?
Lary: The biggest is what we have been talking about, promotion. Promotion is hard and the fact that I love creating music, it hurts me that however much you keep creating I does not help. The truth is that even if you have the best song at the moment, it totals to nothing if you don’t promote it and that is what hurts me most. Nowadays no one cares about a good song, all people care about is a promoted song and a hit song is not a good song but rather a well paid for song. If you pay for power play, you get a hit song and because songs are so many now many people no longer associate with good songs, they just go with what is there or what the rest of the public is going with (Bagende nekiriwo). And this hurts me a lot because the industry will not grow because a fair musician who has money will make it way beyond a good and talented musician. So the talented guys that would have taken the industry to a higher level are left out and yet the world out there does associate with talent. A small percentage of the music that is representing Uganda right now is nice music and hence the reason as to why you will find people out there saying that Ugandans are not talented which is wrong because the truth is we are talented. I know many young talented guys of whom I have worked with that have good music but their music will never be out into the public and however much I would love to help, I don’t have a lot to offer.
TVM: What strategies as a concerned musician have you lain out to overcome that challenge?
Lary: There is not a big strategy apart from looking for the money to promote my music. I have actually realized that an artiste has to have side businesses which support their music if they are to create an impact. So I am into farming and other projects to support my music and family. If you have realized there is always a new kid on the block in the music industry and therefore when you are that new kid, that is when you make real money out of the music industry but when that time elapses, you will seize to make that much money and what happens if you have neither saved nor invested in other businesses like to keep the income coming in, you obviously will fail in the music industry because you will need the money for the next video and you will not be having it and you will fall out of the music industry which is evident to many artistes that have come and later faded out all a sudden. Yes, he or she is alive and may be well but not releasing music and so I would advise my fellow young upcoming and other artistes to have a side business that is stable and lucrative which will not only help sustain your life but also help improve on the kind of music that one does because it will give you time to work on your music because what most artistes nowadays do is that when they have succeeded in buying a song (because truthfully there a few artistes that actually release their own songs in the music industry), they come rushing to the studio to have the song done in one, two or three days not realizing that I the producer won’t have got enough time to put my best into producing the song because also music is about moods and therefore needs time because as we are human and we do have mood swings.
TVM: Talking of side businesses, apart from music and farming, what other projects have you or are you about to start?
Lary: I am working on having my own studio and so I am buying instruments one by one slowly and very soon I will have my own studio because I have dreams of creating and managing my own record label.
TVM: What is the most embarrassing moment you have experienced since you entered the entertainment industry?
Lary: I hate going to events when I am not invited and there was this one time when I went to a concert as a curtain raiser as I was not still an upcoming artiste but I was stopped at the entrance and I don’t know what really happened because I was on the list of the performers because they had actually sent me the list and since I hate side lining I just drove off and left the venue. I think that is the most embarrassing moment in my music career.
TVM: You know we have been exposed to scenarios of Ugandan artistes not knowing how to define an album in that a musician with one song can decide to launch an album. By the true definition of an album, do you have one?
Lary: I have four albums of which I consider each album to be having six songs and for me it’s the message in the songs that make up an album. My albums include: ‘Winner’ which is the latest, ‘Hossana’ which is a gospel album, ‘Seriously’ which is actually not the final name of the album and then ‘Okukula kunno’.
TVM: How many songs do you have under your name ever since you went solo that you have released?
Lary: I won’t count them but will rather mention them and these include; Winner, Babandule, Kibuubu, Winner’s anthem, Abazadde mwebale the one I did with Naava Grey, Take my hand a good nice wedding song, Pen and paper, Ekinkwenda one that has hit in Mbarara more though it is still in audio, Ole Uganda, Our Creator which I did with David Kisitu and then Sheri and Hossana which actually leaked out of the studio.
TVM: How many instruments can you play and dances you can dance?
Lary: I won’t say the number but I will just mention them. I can play a recorder, an accordion, a guitar, keyboard, base guitar, piano, tube fiddle, xylophone, any drum, adungu. I also do dance both local and international dances because I can dance; maganda, magisu, kinyarawanda, kitagululo, kizino, masoga and then these other dances apart from b-boy and break dance because they dance like they are pretending.
TVM: What bad habits have you as a musician seen in the music industry that you would like waved out?
Lary: I think it is extravagance because I do think that however much you are an artiste you have a life to live, responsibilities to uphold. So being an artiste does not mean you have to blow money just show you status because at the end of the day it is your music that people are interested in and so in the end if you are taken by show business then it will take you down in the long run. Secondly, every musician or artiste has admirers and it is very wrong and a very bad habit to get intimate with your admirers just because you know they admire you and you can use them because trust me one day you will get what you don’t really want or desire. I know at some point it gets hard to resist but we really need to do try because one can never satisfy all their admirers and even if they did, what is the point at the end of the day?
TVM: What is your current relationship status?
Lary: Am in a relationship with a beautiful woman that also happens to be a mother to my kids.
TVM: How did you meet your “Baby Mama”?
Lary: Through music still. I remember Silver Kyagulanyi had an operations manager called Emma and this babe came to visit him because they are cousins and so when she came around, she actually caught my eye. The first time chemistry between us was not that much but on the second time it started growing and things went on like that. So that is generally how I came to meet her.
TVM: Should we expect wedding bells soon?
Lary: Yes, you should and if it were up to me it would have happened long ago but I guess some things are just beyond our control. So God willing by the end of the year we shall be happily married.
TVM: What would you consider your dream wedding?
Lary: I won’t call it a dream wedding but rather a wedding that am planning. It will not have two venues that is church and reception but it would be a one venue wedding with mass first because I am a catholic and then change the setting to the reception and the venue will most probably be a beach. I won’t do buffet as the meal because everyone does buffet but will rather do a barbeque of all kinds of meat, other accessories that go with meat and all kinds of drinks. My entourage will most probably have horses because I love horses. So majorly that is what am planning and the people I have talked to about the idea say it is indeed cheaper and a bit classy though.
TVM: What is your message to the teens out there and those that admire and want to be like you?
Lary: I always tell them not to look at today and yesterday only but rather tomorrow. So use yesterday and today but mostly today to build a better tomorrow for youself.
TVM: Any last comments to your fans?
Lary: They should await more and more songs because I have written songs in stock that I am yet to release and promote and may be to watch out for a launch or concert that is if I do get that song that hit song latest early next year.
Favourite meal: Mine is a complex meal and it is mashed irish potatoes and sweet potatoes served with fish in g.nuts.
Favourite hangout place: I love beaches and not any specific kind of beach but just beaches because I love the fresh air and serene environment which actually is one of the many places when I get in song writing and composing moods.
Any celebrity crush: Please quote me very well “I used to but as you know crushes fade and so did the one I had on “Grace Nakiimera”. Yes I know others had or have crushes on those international figures but I am practical with life, I don’t have those childish and imaginary beliefs.
Hobbies: Playing the guitar, playing music with fellow musicians, watching movies while sipping bottle of wine.
Favorite pick up line: I do not have a specific pick up line.
Favorite T.V show or programme and why: Oprah Winfrey Show because it gives hope and I love shows that give or raise hopes of other people.
Favorite movie or serie: I don’t have a specific favorite movie but I love adventure and detective movies and series.
#10ThingsToKnow(TNK) about Lary Chary Challenge
1. I am a farmer for example I do poultry, I have a sugar cane farm and I do seasonal growing of beans and other seasonal crops.
2. I am shy but if you don’t know me well, you cannot tell.
3. I am an artist. I do paint.
4. I do model but I only take a deal that is worth the exposure.
5. I have travelled in a plane once and I have never been outside East Africa.
6. I once rebelled against my parents because they wanted me to go to university and pursue any course but I refused because I wanted to pursue my music career and spent six days without anything to eat the time after I had rebelled against my parents decision.
7. Am a good cook and also good at house chores.
8. I have ever taught in a school and that was in my form six vacation when I was starting my struggle of being a somebody. I did teach Music, Dance and Drama and so I have ever been called a master.
9. I am attracted to small but not too thin (portable), shapely and light skinned girls.
10.I have ever been involved in an accident with Range Rover that was caused by me staring at a girl.
FACEBOOK: Lary Chary Ug (A musical instrument) or LARY CHARY which is the fans