Madoxx was born David Amon Ssemanda Ssematimba in Kampala Uganda, to Ananias Ssematimba (RIP) and Ephrance Nalwanga.
“My father passed away when I was only three years old. So, we were brought up under the watchful eye of our mother.”
Ssematimba reveals that he was one of the pioneer students of Makonzi Boarding Primary School when its doors were thrown open in the mid 70s. After his Primary Leaving Examinations, he joined Busoga College Mwiri.
“From college, I got a teaching job with a small primary school in Kabuusu (a Kampala suburb) that was one of those funded by Christian Life Children’s Fund. From 1989 to 90, I taught science, mathematics and music to P2 and P3 pupils.”
Madoxx says it is not surprising that he chose to take the music path.
“Music flows in our family. My sister is a choir mistress, singer and instrumentalist with Jesus Worship Centre. A brother called Alex Kaweesi leads a Gospel band. I used to startle Kampala suburbs playing my accordion, mouth organ and guitar.”
Today, no body can refute this. Sweden-based reggae singer Madoxx Ssematimba is one of the Ugandan mavericks under the sun whose heart-on-the-sleeve style of singing has won him a devoted following, both in Uganda and the diaspora.
This explains why Hope Mukasa’s Bava Promotions brought him in 2002 for the Kabaka’s (king of Buganda) birthday celebrations and he filled up Nile Hotel Gardens and Nakivubo stadium. He is a hot-selling ticket!!
But there is more to Madoxx’s popularity in the country than just having a good voice. It is the style of music he chose to pursue – reggae. When he breezed on the local scene in 1998, with the single Tukolagane (Let’s join hands and work together), unfortunately dancehall reggae, or ragga had taken its toll on the locals.
The entire country was listening to fast-paced Congolese Soukous, new age cross-fertilized Kadongokamu, Ugandan and western pop. Ugandans were also listening (and still listen) to a new brand of Ugandan ragga, where the young heathens don’t praise Jah, all they want is sex and vanity. Thus, when Kasiwukira Studios released the entire Tukolagane album in 2000, it was hardly noticed as a jewel. It stayed on the shop shelves for almost a year, yet it was moulded in the classic roots reggae of the Bob Marleys and Gregory Isaacs (his idol).
However, the beautiful and optimistic sound of reggae, and the fact he had pushed its boundaries a bit far by infusing it with a local flavor, was a winning formula that proved very hard to resist.
After spawning mega hits like Namagembe, Munnakyalo, Ddembe, Omukwano, e.t.c thousands of copies were sold, it became the most popular album of the year 2002 where his Namagembe hit was dubbed song of the year.
But who is this Madoxx who delivers intoxicating, cooing ballads wrapped in bouncy roots reggae music that has made him fabulously popular in the country and the Ugandan community abroad?
Living abroad for over a decade often makes many people very pompous. They also tend to acquire a velvety English accent. Sorry. No fanciful airs with Madoxx Ssematimba.
He is a down-to-earth dude who loves to make every one around him happy. Asked how it feels to be a super star, he shoots back almost angrily: “I don’t know what being a star means. Yes, it might feel good to show off as a star, but who am I to show off?”
All the humility has to do with his strict upbringing.
He flew to Sweden in 1991, it was a journey that would change his life forever. On arrival, he picked his guitar and started performing in night-clubs to earn an extra Swedish krona and pay for his computer studies. He met Mafo Magoye, a fellow musician then, who introduced him to a brother Aggrey Ssembatya who ran a music production studio (Small Axe Productions) on the west coast of Sweden. Madoxx embarked on recording songs and was introduced to a variety of musicians some of who he still works with to present day.
He has also toured Europe playing rhythm guitar with a Swedish-based reggae band (NAZARENES) for some time until he released his solo album Tukolagane. Since then, the world has never been the same for Madoxx and his peerless ten man band. They have performed and rocked big crowds.
His second album “Abato” (The youth) is a 12 track reggae album no reggae fan should miss!