By Todd Travis
On March 21, NBC will launch its show, “American Song Contest,” featuring Snoop Dog and Kelly Clarkson. Representing Indiana is Center Grove’s own Joshua Kimbowa. He is one of 11 contestants that will perform on the season premier. Overall, there are 50 competitors from the United States and overseas. Kimbowa will perform his original song, “Crush.”
Kimbowa is originally from East Africa; he was born in Uganda. His parents are missionaries, so he traveled with the ministry Campus Crusade for Christ. He was homeschooled by his mother Alexandra before coming to the United States and moving to the Center Grove community. Unfortunately, while in the states, Kimbowa’s dad Samuel became ill and needed a liver transplant. The treatment available at IU Health brought him and his family to Indianapolis. His father has since passed away but has left a lasting impact on Kimbowa which has helped him achieve what he has today.
Samuel was a musician and actually met Alexandra through his music. Alexandra is part of the royal family in Uganda, and Samuel performed at a party for them. He introduced Kimbowa to music from a young age, and Kimbowa has continued to love it ever since. Kimbowa sang in high school but started to find his way at the University of Indianapolis. He took advantage of the university’s program which gave him access to their recording studio. He continued to collaborate with a producer he met while in school and eventually produced the song that got him recognized for “American Song Contest.”
About a year-and-a-half ago Kimbowa released an album that got him recognized. One of the recruiters for NBC’s “The Voice” reached out after hearing the album. “When I first got a message from them I thought it was spam.” Kimbowa explained. “They continued to reach out to me and seemed to know a lot about me and they even reached out to other people at my studio to get in touch with me,” he added. When Kimbowa finally talked to the recruiter they mentioned the show they were doing. This show is an American version of Europe’s famous show “Eurovision.” The contest was advertised during the Super Bowl earlier this year. Soon there will be more advertisements released with the 11 artists, including Kimbowa, highlighted as the premier approaches.
Outside of his music, Kimbowa is also a family-oriented person and an entrepreneur. He has a wife and four kids and his own business called Fair and Square. “We do full home remodels, builds, anything to do with homes. I started as a landscaping company but now I’m a general contractor,” he said. Kimbowa went to Center Grove High School and played football and basketball before going on to play football for University of Indianapolis. “I love the community, the Center Grove Trojans – that’s me, I’m a Southsider at heart.” Kimbowa stated.
Before this big break, Kimbowa kept himself focused to continue the difficult road of being a musical artist. “I believed in myself for a long time, and now people are starting to believe in me too,” he said. “Now that this show is attached to my name people are starting to see that this is serious.”
NBC will feature a home story on Kimbowa as well that will air the night of the show. In addition to the show, he will also release another single with Atlantic Records on March 21.
Kimbowa has big plans for the future as well. “I want to tour, I want to drop music, put people in the spotlight who have been on the grind with me. I want to go back to Africa and build and give back,” he said. In addition to music, his dad instilled a desire in Kimbowa to make a difference in the world. “Helping people has always been a part of the plan,” he said.
Kimbowa offers advice for those with big dreams and goals. “You can dream big, and as long as you’re consistent you can make it happen. That’s a very cliche phrase, but I’m living it so I can say it. Just stay consistent and you can make it happen.” He stated that he is proud of his community and that he wants to represent Center Grove well.
You can find his music by going to unitedmasters.com/ug. (Parental advisory: explicit content)