Karaoke is a form of interactive entertainment in which amateur singers mime along recorded music using a microphone and public address system.
The music is usually well-known pop songs without the lead vocal. Lyrics are usually displayed on a video screen, to guide the singer. In most cases points are awarded depending on the way one sings.
Carolyne Nyakairu Nderitu is the mastermind of the spreading craze of Karaoke in Kigali. Born and bred in Kenya, she came to Rwanda in September 2006.
She is part-timing as the Managing Director of Tri-one Creations Limited, a graphic designing and advertising company. She was once President of the Association of Kenyans living in Rwanda (AKR) in 2008; and today she takes on a full-time job as a Karaoke host.
“I can’t believe I’m doing that something which started as a joke, as a full-time career. I used to go with my friends at CarWash Bar and Restaurant, Kimihurura and we would start entertaining ourselves by miming favorite songs until one day the owner proposed that we use the Karaoke files he had on his Computer, and that is when the craze started,” Carolyne recalls.
She said: “I’m passionate about music, if you are passionate about something; you do it regardless of what is involved.
For instance, I get to go back home in the wee hours of the night after the show. I set up for the show at around 7:00pm which at runs through 2:00am.”
The renowned ‘Carol-ok’ has picked momentum in the entertainment business; she hosts Karaoke at different spots in town. On Tuesday she is at QuelQue Part Bar and Restaurant at Rubagura’s building, Wednesday at Virunga Bar (MTN Center) and due to high demand, she also hosts Karaoke at The Grill and Barbeque Bar and Restaurant in Kacyiru on Thursday nights and Captain’s Lounge in Giporoso on Sunday.
“I took up the full-time host Karaoke business last year with the support of different people especially my fans who thought I have a fabulous voice.
Wahome, the owner of The Grill and Barbeque Bar and Restaurant as well as James Onyango former host of Karaoke at Virunga Bar and Restaurant at MTN Center gave me the platform to fulfill this new found passion,” Carolyne expresses.
Unlike other kinds of entertainment, Karaoke involves the participation of the audience.
“I’m impressed with the way people enjoy the show because music is food for the soul. Karaoke is quite entertaining after a long day from work. It tends to spice up the evening and you become your own star since you get to sing your favorite songs. Karaoke is singing for fun,” She explains.
Besides sole performances, people get to form groups and sing with the fun that comes with it. Carolyne created books which she passes across her audience to select their favorite songs.
Regarding her public speaking skills she said: “I didn’t acquire any public speaking professional training. It’s a God given talent and the way I connect, I will say it’s a gift. People just love my voice and many have encouraged me to join the music scene.
I’m planning to go to the studio after my son goes to college.”
In an interview with Joe Oginga, Architecture, also a fan of Karaoke and a friend to Carolyne, he said that Karaoke is a different way of having fun.
“Besides Carolyne being an outgoing person, I’m impressed with her skill of innovativeness. Something that started as a joke in one spot, is now taking Kigali by thrill. If one is a party person they are able to enjoy the different style of fun thus killing the monotony of entertainment,” Oginga expresses.
Carolyne also gave her ordeal on how she is able to balance her work and being a single mother. In 1994, she was married to the late Joe Mwenda, a musician in Kenya who he passed on in 2001.
“I’m lucky my 16-year-old son Calvin has been supportive all the way. In fact he is one of my greatest critics, he tells me where I have gone wrong and also advises me on what to do. During holidays, he joins me for Karaoke since he is also passionate about music. He is a guitarist,” Carolyne explains.
Her future plans in the Karaoke business are to localize it.
She said: “I’m trying to create software with a friend where I can be able to acquire lyrics from our local artists and blend it with their instrumental. God willing it will be done by the end of this year.”
She further adds that this will be a way of promoting local artist.
“Usually my audience is a cross-metropolitan therefore, they will get sentimental attachment to the local music and end up buying albums of the local artist,” Carolyne discloses.