MC Tino, real names Martin Kasirye made a name in the entertainment industry as an MC, artiste, comedian and a radio Presenter. The entertainment bit of him began manifesting in him as a primary school kid while in Uganda, where he was born and raised.
Being the most talkative and the funniest in the family, he made his class very ‘interesting’ although he believes comedy wasn’t his calling.
His family soon relocated to Rwanda and joining high school he ventured into music, often performing at his school’s entertainment shows.
He soon found a new niche in emceeing during his ‘A’ level at Nyarugunga secondary school in Kicukiro District, doing different gigs at his school’s functions as well as several Anglophone schools around Kigali.
Tino, became a popular MC in events around the country especially the Primus Guma Guma road trips.
“I love making people smile and I hate being around people who are sad which I think has enabled me to a good MC.
My Kinyarwanda and English were not the best but somehow I managed to pull it off because emceeing is more than just knowing a language. It requires engaging with your crowd and knowing your audience,” he says.
In 2010, he began singing professionally with his brothers Benjamin Kagorora and Bob Steve.
Together they formed TBB, with each letter being an initial of each of their first name, and recorded their first song ‘Mbilaba’ featuring Jody and was produced by Pastor P at Narrow Road Records.
“It was a great song that put us in the limelight and, from then on, we have tried to grow and here we are now. We have worked with artistes like Davy Ranks, Riderman, Jay Polly and Jody.”
“The funny bit about TBB is that coming from a staunch Christian family, my mother had no idea that I had ventured into music because she never wanted it.
That is why I always avoided appearing in our videos. She found out recently during our first appearance at the Primus Guma Guma competition,” he reveals.
Parting ways with TBB
“We didn’t actually break up. We just decided to give it a break of two to three years to see how concentrate on our solo careers. We had our differences, that happen to every music group and some of these differences can make or break a group. We were not contributing equally to the group and it became a burden to me.”
“TBB’s position in the Primus Guma Guma competition only made it worse because we were disappointed and discouraged.We could see the signs coming already, so we decided that splitting up was the best way to express ourselves individually and even allow us to grow.
The group parted ways in July last year, but Tino has been able to release a song every month. His first song, which he released immediately he embarked on his solo music career journey, ‘Umulima’ received fair airplay not only in the country but also both in Uganda and Tanzania.
He then wrote and released Mula, Mama Rita, that he featured Gabiro, ‘Ibanga’ and his latest song is ‘My time.’ He will soon release another collabo with Jamaican dancehall and reggae artiste Javada.
“My music is the reason I reduced my time in emceeing because it is not about the money. I want to be known more of an artiste. Radio presenting is what I do for my daily bread but even if I have not started reaping from music, it is my passion and I treat it like my child because music is therapy,” Tino says.
Actually, the loud mouthed Royal FM presenter is one of the oldest in the business.He joined radio in 2005 after his senior six exams, starting out as a radio DJ with Radio Flash FM.
“It was kind of tricky and scary because that was the first time I was going on Air, and I did not know what I was going to talk about in a very long time while on air even when my boss and manager believed in me, surprisingly being on air came to me naturally,” he recalls.
After six years with Radio Flash FM, he left and looked for greener pastures and was employed by Nation Media Holdings Rwanda under 98.7 KFM in 2011 where he worked as a breakfast show presenter, from 6am-10am in the morning, before finally moving to Royal FM, also for the breakfast show.
The 32 year old reveals that he is in a serious relationship, with a girl who happens to be his diehard fan. They first met through social media a year ago and have since been dating for six months.
“I’m a grown man now and the responsibilities I have are increasing. I decided after meeting her to begin a serious relationship with her. We are happy but at the same time giving it more time and space to see if it works out and studying each other. If all goes well, we will make our relationship official,” he says.