It is arguably the biggest event on the music calendar. The annual Primus Guma Guma music competition is back. Ten contestants have embarked on the journey that will end with one of them winning the coveted prize of Rwf24 million.
Sharon Kantengwa brings you the faces behind the competition and the odds at play.
Real name Yvonne Mugemana, this is Queen Cha’s first time in the competition. Her hit songs include Icyaha Ndacyemera, and Umwe rukumbi, among others.
Do men and women in the music industry have equal pay and opportunities? “We get equal pay and opportunities but our challenge is the low number of girls willing to venture into the industry. They let their fears take hold of them yet we have so many talented girls who are afraid to start out a career in music.”
Lambert Mugwaneza alias Social Mula is known for songs like Amahitamo and Humura. This is his first time in the competition.
If you were to get stranded on an island with an album, which one would it be? “2Face’s Face to Face.”
What makes you special as an artiste? The size of my audience has increased from time to time, thanks to the message in my songs that builds society. As artistes, we sing for the audience and not ourselves. We need to keep our public image right so we don’t fall short before our audience.
It’s Christopher Muneza’s fourth time in the competition. Last year, he came in second place after winners Urban Boys. He is known for songs like Ijuro Rito and Your body, to mention a few.
Who is your biggest competitor and what do you think is your chance in the competition? “All the nine artistes are good and are therefore my competitors but I believe that I am going to win this time round because of the experience that I have from all the other competitions.”
Three failed attempts at winning the prize money (Rwf24m) have not stopped Danny Ntakirutimana, commonly known as Danny Nanone, from taking part in the competition.
His hit songs include Imbere N’inyuma and Meze neza.
If you could start all over, would you still choose music? “I have no regrets in venturing into the music industry because my achievements have outweighed my challenges. Nothing comes easy, so yes, I would still choose music.”
Mico the Best
Faustin Turatsinze, also known as Mico the Best is also participating for the second time in this competition. His hit songs include Akabizu and Umugati.
What influences your songs? “I sing love songs mostly because love rules the world. I also try to blend in some aspects of real life experiences.”
Thierry Mugiraneza, Derek Sano and Olivis Mugabo make up the trio Active, a group that has captivated many people by their epic dance moves. Running for the third time, the group is known for songs like Pole and Active Love.
How did the group come together? “At first we were solo artistes until we made a collabo in 2013 featuring rapper Danny Nanone called Udukoryo which became a hit. We realized that our singing style and dance moves would blend and that’s how the group was formed.”
Malik Bertrand Ndayishimye, popularly known by his stage name Bull Dog is trying his hand at the cash prize for the fourth time in Guma Guma history. Some of his hit songs include Cinema and Umusaza
What influences your music? “The hurdles that people go through everyday motivate and encourage me to reach out to my fans through songs. Hip hop music is my style because I’m passionate about the youth learning from our experience.”
Pacifique Oda Uzamberaumwana alias Oda Paccy is known for songs like Nobody, and Rendevous. This is her second try in the competition.
What is it like being a female rapper in a male dominated field? “It’s not easy because people look at you from a different perspective but I try my best to be me and keep my personality true to myself.”
It is David Icyoshaka’s first time in the competition. He started out his music career in 2012 and some of his known songs are Biryogo and Mariya Kaliza.
Advice to upcoming artistes? “New artists should learn from the ones with experience in the industry and should not be shy to expose themselves in the industry. Humility is also key if they want to grow.”
Dream Boys consists of Platini Nemeye and Claude Mujyanama. The group was formed in 2009 and it is their sixth time in the competition. Some of their popular songs include Umucece and Mumutashe.
How did you get to where you are? Hard work, focus and prayers.
MUSIC PERSONALITIES SHARE THEIR VIEWS ON THE COMPETITION
Last year’s PGGSS competition saw music trio Urban Boys take home the prize. Humble Jizzo, real name, James Manzi, of the trio says there have been some changes in this year’s competition regarding the road shows, and contestants’ experience in the competition.
“This time round, the competition also favoured upcoming artistes as I have seen many upcoming artists participate for the first time,” he says.
He, however, believes that some of the highlights in the competition, like judges, should be different to give contestants and their fans a different feel of the competition.
In his opinion, Dream Boys, Christopher and Bull Dog have been the hardest working competitors and are thus his prediction for the win.
Martin Kasirye, also known to many as MC Tino, was part of last year’s PGGSS competition as a member of the TBB music group. He argues that the contest has lost the ‘super star’ concept and is more like an ordinary competition. This he blames on the organisers’ lack of creativity.
“Nothing has changed over the years. They keep bringing the same artistes, judges, and the stage is always the same. Fans in the end get bored, which is why the show is no longer as much anticipated as it was in the past years. Organisers should come up with something different to make the votes worthwhile,” he says.
Alex Muyoboke of Decent Entertainment that manages music duo Charly & Nina argues that the competition is not fair to the artistes in terms of pay. For him, the pay is not worth all their hard work.
“The money paid to the artistes monthly may seem like a good deal but if you compare it to the hard work, costs incurred during the road shows and costumes, it’s not worth it. The artistes are also required to sing live music which is not easy since they have to practice even harder. The management should improve on that,” he says.