Chart-topping Ugandan Jazz Vocalist and Songwriter Somi Signs to Major Label Sony Music

Posted August 28, 2013 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Jazz Music ~ 3,570 views


"Ingele" by Somi (Music Video) from Joshua Atesh Litle DIRECTOR on Vimeo.

New York, NY – August 26, 2013 – Last week, internationally acclaimed soul-jazz vocalist and songwriter Somi signed to Sony Music’s newly relaunched historic jazz imprint Okeh Records, making her the first East African artist to join the major label’s roster.

This news follows the ambitious singer’s recent return from an 18-month creative sabbatical in Lagos, Nigeria. Originally from East Africa, Somi was raised in Illinois, USA and currently resides in New York City. Driven by her own curiosity and the fiery energy of the West African metropolis, Somi’s first release on the major label will be an album she calls “The Lagos Music Salon” – a collection of profound story-based songs inspired by her time in Nigeria.

Sony will release the new album in early 2014 as the highly anticipated follow up to Somi’s critically-acclaimed last studio album, If the Rain Comes First (ObliqSound, 2009) which featured her legendary music mentor Hugh Masekela as a special guest and which both debuted at #2 on the Billboard World Music charts and landed in the Top 20 Soul/R&B albums on

Not only an accomplished musician and performer, Somi is an arts scholar and cultural activist who holds a Master’s Degree in Performance Studies from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and who has earned the distinction of being named a TED Global Fellow, an inaugural Association of Performing Arts Presenters Fellow, a recognized songwriter at the American Society of Composers and Publishers, and a recipient of numerous international arts grants. She is also the founder of New Africa Live, an award-winning non-profit organization committed to “carving out a cultural space of belonging for contemporary African artists through events that entertain, educate, and create awareness of the value of African culture in a globalized world.”

Somi’s full name is Laura Kabasomi Kakoma. She is the daughter of the late Dr. Ibulaimu Kakoma and Mrs. Elizabeth Nyarubona Kakoma; Somi is half mnyarwanda, half mutooro.

High praise for Somi

“Superb!” – Vogue Magazine

“All elegance and awe…utterly captivating!” – Billboard Magazine

“[Somi] glistens with the sheen of an almost impossibly perfect cosmopolitanism!” – The Boston Globe

“At the forefront of a new roster of African artists … effortlessly blends her global and sonic experiences.” – Essence Magazine

“Prodigious musical chops employed in the service of some savvy songwriting. [Somi] unites the familiar with the exotic… A potent brew from the first sip to the last drop!”– NPR All Things Considered

“A world music luminary!” – The New Yorker

“One of the most promising voices of emerging African artists.”
– New York Daily News

About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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