Eddy Kenzo, Uganda’s first Grammy nominee, says his journey encourages those who struggle

"I try to use my culture and what I know to sell to the world," he said.

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Eddy Kenzo is the first Ugandan artist to be nominated for a Grammy award. He is nominated for the song, “Gimme Love,” a collaboration with American musician Matt B.

Kenzo noted that the message of the Luganda-English track, which is nominated in the Best Global Music Performance category, is “all about giving love. Nothing could be better than that,” he said.

For Kenzo, who was orphaned as a child and homeless, the Grammy milestone symbolizes the ultimate journey of triumph over adversity. “Being nominated in Grammy, when I don’t do English, when I don’t try to do that kind of music that is done there and here and be recognized in my own way it’s like crazy. It’s so so so crazy I can’t even express how I feel,”  he explained to Africanews.

Speaking about his collaboration with Matt B, Kenzo said,” I had to let him do what he does, but I had to make sure that I bring in myself in my own way. I started doing my Luganda and I taught him some of the pass, I told him to do it.”

The artist, whose real name is Edrisah Musuuza, is now on a mission to celebrate his culture with fans in the farthest parts of the world. “I try to use my culture and what I know to sell to the world,” he said. “I sell the language that I speak, I sell the music we do here locally and I modernize it and put out the sound that comes from where I come from and it goes global.”

Kenzo grew up in poverty but made a name for himself in the music industry with the hit single, “Stamina.” He rose to fame with the 2014 release of the single, “Sitya Loss.” The song’s video, showing Ugandan youngsters dancing to the track, was a viral hit. “I love who I am, I love promoting who I am,” the father of two said.

His record label, Big Talent Entertainment — through which he also mentors Kampala’s disadvantaged youth — is a conduit for promotion.

The “65th Grammy Awards” ceremony is scheduled to air live at 8 p.m. ET Sunday on CBS from Los Angeles’ Crypto.com Arena.

2015 BET Awards - Arrivals
Eddy Kenzo attends the 2015 BET Awards on June 28, 2015 at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for BET)

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