Musician P Fla opens up about life in jail


P Fla during the interview at The New Times offices in Gishushu. Photo by T. Kisambira

Last week, a high spirited P Fla gave The New Times his first formal interview since leaving jail in December, last year.

Now on the road to recovery, the 33-year-old who was jailed over drug abuse, said prison helped him to reflect on his life and music.

“I was jailed because I was doing bad things to myself, not anybody else and I regret that I deceived my friends and family,” the rapper said during the interview.

“I took enough time and thought about why I was there [in prison], and that was because of using deadly drugs. But I am convinced I would not have changed if I had not passed through that time. Now I am a changed person and I see myself and my music heading in another direction,” he said.

As a musician who has served jail time twice for drug use, P Fla says if he gets support, he plans to do upcountry awareness campaigns against drug use among the youth to testify about how dangerous they can be.

“As one who has experienced drug addiction, I want to use my music to educate the youth about fighting drug abuse. I take this past sentence not as a punishment, but as mercy from the Almighty God. I think it is time for Rwandan youth to learn what drugs are and how they can ruin their lives. Any support from the government or anyone else will surely help this dream,” he said.

“Drugs have ruined my life and my music career. I thought taking drugs would make me ‘cool’ and that I would achieve a lot of things and become a great rapper. But I got it wrong and I started to ask myself why I was in jail. That is why I want to sensitise the youth on drug abuse given how it almost destroyed my life,” he said.

In only a week, P Fla has performed at two major concerts, including Uburyohe Concert on Christmas day, during which Riderman released his latest mixtape Filime and the New Year’s East African Party which hosted Tanzanian bongo flavour star Ali Kiba and Ugandan dancehall artiste Sheebah.

He says he has not gone to a studio since he was released in December but he has fresh plans for his music.

“For now, I no longer want to do music in a disorderly way. I want a recognised music label to work as my permanent address where one can find me anytime in case they want to do business with me. Music without management is not in my new plans,” he said.

“I am in talks with different music labels to see whether they can match my demands and if I am satisfied with their terms and conditions, I will sign a contract,” he added.

P Fla writes his own songs and said that he wrote songs while incarcerated that can make two albums once he starts to record.

“Normally, I write my own songs and while I was in jail, I was busy writing a number of songs that can fill two albums. I want to do the kind of music that every generation can relate to and possibly even buy a CD,” he said.