‘I am the Imperfect but most loved child of God’ ― Gospel singer, Renez.
Written by Derrick Asaba on November 2, 2021
Gospel Singer Renez, alias Meble Kyakoba, is one of the vibrant female musicians on the Uganda Gospel Entertainment Scene. Managed by 1TedMusic, she was once nominated as one of the breakthrough artists in the VIGA awards 2019.
The name Renez is an acronym meaning Re-assuring, Exciting, Natural, Eager, Zeal. She was born on November 30, 1993, in a family of four girls and raised by a single mother the Late Sarah Magezi in a God fearing family.
She attended schools like Penstar Primary School, Light Secondary School, Margret Secondary School, St Mary Reparatrix Girls SS, Entebbe and graduated with a Diploma in Telecommunications Engineering from UICT, Nakawa. DERRICK ASABA talks to her to find out how her journey has been like and what she is up to lately.
You identify yourself as the ‘Imperfect, but most loved child of God’ ― more of a prodigal daughter. Why this, for an identity?
That’s who we all are. We are not worthy to be called God’s children and yet He still loves us. Being that we were born sinners from our forefathers, we do so much. Personally, I have been on and off the road. I once messed up in my life, did certain things and felt like God couldn’t love me. For a while, I even stopped having my faith. It’s been a process and He teaches me every day that I am still His and calls me His own. Because of the things we want to do in life, we run off to what we think is what we want. We end up messing up our lives and regret what we have done and find ourselves returning shamefully to the throne of God. The word says, ‘Let’s approach the throne of grace with boldness’ because He still loves us, He welcomes us. When we confess our sins and repent, God is always willing to welcome us back.
This provokes inquiry: Some of the things that would pull us away from God are widely known but what would this be that had drawn you away?
I lost my mother when I had just finished campus. It was a tough one because my life evolved around her. I used to have statements like, ‘Now, where is God?’ For a moment then, I believed that God wasn’t for me. It didn’t make sense for me to stay in faith. I moved in whatever way I thought was good for me and not for God. That drew me away from God but with time, He brought me back. It has been and is still a process but I love where I am with God because there is nothing greater than the peace He gives beyond human understanding. Despite what people say, what the past tries to hit on one’s door; what God says is always greater.
That was quite saddening… But, how do you thereafter get back to God? Someone offered a hand, or you took a personal initiative?
There was a voice in me that kept on pushing me to go back to church. There was a church next to my home which I walked in to, one day. There are certain things we do but also know that they are not what we are meant to do ― Things that one can’t openly wake up and feel proud of. Such things tire out and make one feel disgusted. It was the same kind of feeling I got. Much as I was doing what I was doing, I wasn’t comfortable ― I wasn’t proud of it. It’s not the same thing that I would wake up and spend my life on; in a club or something like that. I just knew that I had to stop. After a year or two, I woke up and went back to church.
Just like that?
I thank God that wherever He has positioned me, He puts the right people to move the journey with me. I had a spiritual parent who moved with me, pastors at Watoto Church and my spiritual mentor who helped me to get to sing the ‘Daddy’ song that I officially started with. He believed in me, prayed for me and pushed me to go to the studio. That’s when I committed to serving God through gospel music.
But you started out singing secular music…
Actually I didn’t even know that I would sing. While at my sister’s place in Tanzania, our neighbours used to listen to me singing while doing house work. They gave me that belief in myself that I could sing. They took me to the studio and that’s how I recorded my first song which wasn’t gospel. With time I had to come back and do campus so I was no longer in contact with them. That’s what I knew how to do. I tried to push through doing secular music. I was around Grace Nakimera all the time because I really wanted to pursue it. I remember there is even a time Grace wanted to sign me but my mum urged that I first finish school.
What finally pulled you out from secular music to singing gospel songs?
The Bible says no one can brag about their salvation. It’s only God who has that timing. He knew, that’s why He didn’t let all these things go through (For some reason that’s what I believe). The transition is God’s deed not mine. After we had done the song, ‘Daddy’ with Holy Keane Amooti, we sat down and he gave his testimonies why he chose gospel over secular music. I put all that together; the way I was welcomed without judgement and it gave me some embracement. I started asking for God’s wisdom on how to serve Him through music. He put people in my ways that eventually provoked this whole transition, made me want it even more.
Besides the fact God put people in your ways, is there something else that could have pushed you into gospel music?
One of the things that made me run away from secular music, was the threats I encountered as I tried to promote my music. I remember there was one who wanted to manage me and asked me to first stay in his home to get to know me. I wondered how that was meant to do music. I thought in the gospel way it would be different but to be honest, it’s even worse. That’s how I got the statement of ‘Us who are in church are sicker than those in the world’ that’s why we are in God’s presence trying to cry out to Him every day to deliver us.
How has it been for you on the Gospel side?
After coming to the gospel side, I thought it was going to be more of a silver spoon, easier; unfortunately music is music. You need to make the same commitment. The only thing is that we are preaching (telling our testimonies and giving what God has blessed you with) We need to give it all the sensitivity it needs, be careful, watch what we say, pray and surrender our projects to God. After a process, you get to know that it is not just music but you are doing it for God. The pressure of ‘Where has my song reached?’ ‘How many people know me?’ ― all that pressure dies because now one knows that they are doing it for God. God will always put this music to whoever is need of it and who He needs to be touched by it. No matter how much money we invest in and promote, if it is not yet God’s timing, it will never yield but rather get stressed more and more.
What lessons has this taught you?
I have learnt to work at God’s pace and believe when I can’t do certain projects. There are times when I felt pressured to do a great video, music, work with ‘these’ people, but probably I couldn’t. Spiritually, this was God saying it was not my timing because He is a God of all possibilities. In the right time, He will make that road smooth, and I will get to where I want to be. I have learnt to trust and commit to Him wholeheartedly with the little He has blessed me with.
I believe you have encountered many challenges. What has kept you grounded and soaring on high?
It is God’s love. Every time I wake up and am reminded of how far I have come, how my journey is, how peaceful I get, how the Bible keeps pointing out everyday ‘I am loved’: who wouldn’t want to work for such a person? Who wouldn’t want to give their all to someone who doesn’t look at one’s filthiness? Who doesn’t look at one’s past but accepts them for who they are and sees them as precious… The fact that I never want to lose God, yearning to be His friend and remain in His presence, keeps me going every day.
What has been the underlying achievement you want to register while serving God through music?
It has been God’s calling. If I would wake up and I am a platform to very many young talents, it would be an achievement. There are so many young people I see who have talent but because of a few limitations, they can’t make it. I have been through the process and I wish that many don’t go through the same. If God gives me the ability to save as many as I can from going through what I have gone through like the hustle, people talking down on you, failure to push good work, lack of connections which makes all that they do lie in waste somehow somewhere. I pray every day that God could lift me and give me the grace and ability to help those who have the talent so that they can worship God.
It’s hard for a gospel song to trend so much here in Uganda, what do you think ought to be done?
That happens sometimes but we need to push and help each other, have people to stand and believe in us. If secular musicians can have videos with a million views, we who praise God should do even better because we are worshiping God. He deserves everything. Besides, everything in the world is His; why would we limit ourselves, performing at events for free, low quality things ― it nags me. We need to do better.
What are your plans for the next few months? Any artistic collaboration plans?
I move at God’s pace but we are working on a lot of projects. At the right timing, they will start dropping. Hopefully, an album should be out in the near months. When it comes to collaborations, I let God’s will be done. It is different when you call someone to work together from when the both of you meet and feel the urge to work together. For instance, the only collaboration I have is with Holy Keane and it just happened. He heard me sing in the studio and then we did a song together. Maybe there are people that inspire me and would love to work with them. But at the end of the day, wishes are not horses. Even such a person, God needs to speak to them such that there is reason for us to collaborate. There must be a similar spirit ― both of us wanting to head in the same direction. I really don’t want to say I have plans because I don’t.
If it wasn’t a music career, what would you be doing?
I would pursue what I studied ― Telecommunications Engineering. I would have stepped up to look for jobs, and be in the field most probably.
How about the media and the ushering company you managed?
I started my TV career at Gugudde but like God does, He went on lifting me from one platform to another. I have been on rest since December last year but I’m still in it. About the ushering company, it is no longer operational but I would love to do something like that. I enjoy serving.