Anthony Jermaine is a Jamaican born artiste and guitarist who began doing music at a very tender age of 15. That was also the time he left Jamaica for the United States of America where he went to settle with his family. Although he was living a good life in what they call the Land of opportunities (America), nothing deterred him from his dream and love for Africa especially Uganda.
It’s of no surprise that after many years of following his dream, in the year 2012, Anthony found himself coming to Uganda and currently he is putting up in Jinja district where he is even planning to host a mega fund raising concert dubbed ‘Sheets For The Street’ that will go down at The Bourbon in Jinja on Friday the 19th of February 2016.
Lots of things will happen at the concert like live musical performances from headlining artistes, break dancing but the main one is buying blankets for the homeless people in Jinja. Chano8 caught up with Anthony for a question and answer interview and he had this to say.
Chano8: Tell us about yourself.
I do many things and I see I do them well but one of my biggest passions in life is music and I really love music. I didn’t grow up in a musical family but when I was like 15, I stated to play music and realised I had a gift so I kept at it.
I grew up in Jamaica and moved to the US when I was 15 and I have lived there for like 18 years and I have seen allot, so my music is now reflecting my entire life experience.
Chano8: Tell us about your background, growing up in Jamaica and spending 18 years in the US.
That is so interesting, off course I love life in Jamaica, it’s just like here except the weather and when I went to America it was completely different but luckily I was young so I had time to adjust my culture. Growing up in both places is just like night and day. Where I grew up, we didn’t have electricity but in America it was different. I also taught myself how to use a computer. It’s weird living in 3rd world and developed countries.
Chano8: How did finally become a musician?
I was in high school and one day I passing the auditorium and I heard a live Piano. I don’t know whether music speaks to you but I swear something spoke to my ears and I was frozen for like two hours and I went inside and said to guy that ‘teach how to play music’. He began teaching me a few codes and then I moved to America but it was actually better because I was able to develop more opportunities than I had in Jamaica.
Chano8: How did you end up in Uganda?
When I was five In Jamaica I saw this crazy thing on TV ,I saw African kids who were starving and I felt like am supposed to be in Africa, and in my entire life I was living I knew I was supposed to come to Africa. I even went to America where my Family settled but I just felt like this is not my place so in 2012 I just took a plane and ended up in Jinja because there is a pastor friend of mine who loved my music so we connected and he brought me to Jinja and that was history.
Chano8: So what are you doing in Jinja?
First of all am following my purpose in life, am supposed to be in Africa. I don’t know too much of it but I have this thing in me that am supposed to be here and I just know it in my heart. I teach, am an entrepreneur. Am actually teaching in Jinja. When I came here, I started a school but I quickly learnt it was not where I wanted it to go. I work with creatives and live musicians, so we have two networks going on, one for creatives and one for musicians so that is what am doing primarily.
Chano8: Tell us about the charity music concert you are organising, why are you buying blankets for Jinja?
One day I was walking from a gig and I almost stepped on a homeless person who was lying on the street and I felt it is crazy. I noticed that it was actually cold that night. I don’t have money to buy houses but as a musician, you could do your staff. I figured out that if I buy blankets at least I could help, it’s not going to solve the situation but a blanket would help people sleeping in the cold on streets. That’s where the idea came from, I shared it with a few of my friends and we are doing a concert of February the 19th.
Chano8: What should people expect that day?
Nothing much apart from music. We have the concert at The Bourbon in Jinja from 7 to 10 Pm. It is pretty much an awesome live show, we were thinking of having some charity stuff but again we decided to have a concert where people pay. We shall have KS Alpha, Josh B, my band named Collective and we have other surprise guest artistes and break dancers so it’s going to be amazing.
Chano8: How much do you know about Ugandan music?
Am studying, I like it. When I came here, I rested the music because I wanted to integrate in the culture first. I haven’t really connected with much people apart from KS Alpha and I talk to Maurice Kirya a few times.
Chano8: How long are you staying here?
When I came here, I got a one way ticket. For me I want to live here. If I can get a residence now I would take it but I plan to stay here definitely. This is the land of my ancestors and I have no plans of going anywhere else.
Chano8: Are you married, single or are you going to get a Ugandan woman?
Smiles. I am single. I love this country, the food, the culture and the people so am very open for anything. The next five years, I plan to settle like fully.
Chano8: Any challenges you have faced since you came?
Everyone asks the same thing. For me, I just look forward to each day. Am sure there are challenges but that is part of life. Off course some people complain but am always like people, this is my dream come true.
Chano8: So what do you plan going forward?
I want to just settle here, get a plot of land, wife, car and whatever this country has to offer me or Africa in general. Music is one the biggest things in my life so I would like to see the music big but am just taking it one day at a time ‘mpola mpola’ .