Hazel Taraji is a Ugandan musician whose work is deeply influenced by her homeland’s rich cultural heritage. Her passion for music was ignited early on by her late mother, a music teacher, and further fueled by a diverse range of idols including James Reid, Khalid, Tiwa Savage, and Justin Bieber. Hazel’s music is a unique blend of Afro pop and R&B, aiming to connect with listeners on an emotional level.

Her most important song, “WHAT I LIKE,” serves as a mantra for self-acceptance and individuality. It encourages listeners to embrace their unique tastes and desires, and to live life unapologetically. Hazel believes her music offers a unique blend of genres and emotional resonance, making it relatable to a wide audience.

Looking ahead, Hazel has several projects in the pipeline, including new singles, collaborations, and an EP. She aims to reach a global audience and make a significant impact in the music industry. In five years, she envisions herself touring internationally and spreading messages of love, unity, and self-acceptance.

A funny episode in her career occurred during her first performance at a Freshers Ball, where a combination of stage fright and technical difficulties led to a frantic search for a flash drive containing her backing track. Despite the chaos, she managed to perform, making it a memorable and amusing moment in her journey as an artist.

Interview with Hazel Taraji

Tell us about yourself, who are you and where do you come from?

“I’m Hazel Taraji, a passionate musician hailing from the vibrant and culturally rich country of Uganda. Music has been my guiding force, leading me on an incredible journey through the world of sound and creativity. My Ugandan roots have deeply influenced my music, and I’m proud to incorporate the diverse musical traditions and experiences from this beautiful country into my work. This connection to my homeland is at the heart of my artistic expression. In this interview, I’m excited to share more about my personal and musical journey, the inspirations behind my work, and what’s on the horizon. I hope you’ll join me on this exploration of music and creativity.”

How was your passion for music born? Who are your idols?

“My passion for music has been a driving force in my life for as long as I can remember. It’s a flame that was ignited during my formative years, thanks in part to my late mother, who was a music teacher. Her influence and the sounds that filled our home shaped my early understanding and appreciation of music. As I continued to explore my own musical identity, I found inspiration in a wide range of artists who have left an indelible mark on the music industry. Some of my idols include James Reid, Khalid, Tiwa Savage, and Justin Bieber. Their dedication to their craft and their ability to convey deep emotions through their songs have been a constant source of motivation for me. These artists have taught me the power of storytelling through music and the ability to connect with audiences on a profound level. They inspire me to continually push the boundaries of my own creativity and to create music that resonates with people from all walks of life.”

What kind of music do you do?

“My music is a fusion of genres, with a strong foundation in Afro pop and R&B. I believe in the power of versatility, and I let my lyrics and melodies flow naturally, adapting to the emotions and stories I want to convey in each song. This versatility allows me to create music that’s both uplifting and emotive, reflecting my personal experiences and aspirations. I strive to create a unique sound that’s both relatable and innovative, transcending genre boundaries to reach a broad audience. Whether it’s a soulful R&B ballad or an infectious Afro pop track, my aim is to connect with listeners on a deep, emotional level and to provide a soundtrack to various moments in their lives.”

What is the most important song for you? What message do you want to convey to the listener?

“The most important song for me in my music journey is ‘WHAT I LIKE.’ This track carries a message that resonates deeply with my beliefs and values. It’s all about embracing individuality and living life on one’s own terms. ‘WHAT I LIKE’ is a reminder to listeners that it’s perfectly okay to be unapologetically themselves, to celebrate their unique tastes and desires, and to fully enjoy the things and people that bring them joy. The chorus, ‘I like what I like, I like who I like, I like when I like, now let me live my life,’ encapsulates this message. It’s a mantra for self-acceptance, encouraging everyone to be authentic and to pursue their passions without hesitation. In a world that sometimes pressures us to conform or hide our true selves, ‘WHAT I LIKE’ serves as a beacon of empowerment. It’s a call to live life boldly, unafraid of expressing what brings us happiness and fulfillment, even if our preferences may seem unconventional to others. I hope that when listeners hear ‘WHAT I LIKE,’ they not only enjoy the music but also take to heart the message of living authentically and embracing their unique likes and desires. The song’s significance lies in its power to inspire others to be unapologetically themselves and to proudly express what they like without reservation.”

Why should a listener who doesnโ€™t know you listen to your music?

Listeners who may not be familiar with my work should consider giving my music a chance because it offers a unique blend of Afro pop and R&B, creating a sound that’s both captivating and emotionally resonant. What sets my music apart is its versatility. I aim to create songs that cater to a wide range of emotions and moods, so there’s something for everyone to connect with. My music tells stories, explores different themes, and carries messages of love, resilience, and self-discovery. It’s not just about catchy melodies; it’s about sharing meaningful narratives through each track. When you listen to my music, you embark on a journey with me, delving into my experiences, emotions, and the beauty of life itself. I believe that music has the power to transcend language and cultural barriers, and my music is a testament to that belief. It’s an invitation to explore, feel, and connect with the emotions and stories I share. So, even if you don’t know me personally, I invite you to join me in this musical adventure, where you can discover your own reflections in the melodies and lyrics.

What are your future projects? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

I’m excited about the future and the projects I have in the pipeline. In the coming years, I see myself continuing to evolve as an artist and pushing the boundaries of my creativity. I have several projects lined up, including new singles, collaborations, and an EP that’s in the works. My goal is to reach an even wider global audience and create music that resonates with people from diverse backgrounds. I aim to further establish my presence in the music industry, not only as a performer but also as a storyteller and a positive influence. In five years, I envision myself touring internationally, connecting with fans around the world, and spreading the message of love, unity, and self-acceptance through my music. I hope to have made a significant impact in the industry, inspiring others to follow their passions and be unapologetically themselves. I also see myself exploring new genres and collaborating with artists from various cultural backgrounds, expanding my horizons and contributing to the ever-evolving landscape of music. Ultimately, my journey is about growth, connection, and leaving a positive mark through the art of sound.

Tell our readers a funny episode that happened in your career as an artist.

One of the most amusing moments in my early career happened during my first performance at the Freshers Ball on my campus. Back then, I was quite shy and a bit nervous about performing in front of a live audience, so I decided to wear dark sunglasses to hide my stage fright. Little did I know that it would lead to a hilarious turn of events! As I was about to take the stage, I realized that I didn’t have a flash drive with the backing track for my performance. I was frantically searching for someone with a flash drive, but it seemed like a comedy of errors. My network signal was so bad that transferring the file wirelessly was out of the question. In the end, after some mad dashes and last-minute heroics, I did manage to perform at the Freshers Ball. It was a classic case of ‘stage fright meets technical difficulties’ in the vibrant atmosphere of the event. Looking back, it’s a story I can laugh about now, and it reminds me of how far I’ve come in my journey as an artist. We all have those hilarious hiccups along the way, and they make for great stories to share.