Rapper Uwineza on why she turned to gospel music

The Pink has been in the music industry for a long time. Born Clarisse Uwineza, the rapper has been singing since 2007, doing mainly secular music. “I have brothers who loved hip hop and were conversant with most hip hop songs and the artistes,” says The Pink, adding that: “They influenced me, often likening me to female rappers like Nazizi from Kenya and Missy Elliot, and that is how I picked interest.”
Singer/songwriter The Pink visited The New Times' head office at M&M Plaza located in Gishushu early this week, and talked about her budding career in gospel music. (Timothy Kisambira)
Singer/songwriter The Pink visited The New Times' head office at M&M Plaza located in Gishushu early this week, and talked about her budding career in gospel music. (Timothy Kisambira)

The Pink has been in the music industry for a long time. Born Clarisse Uwineza, the rapper has been singing since 2007, doing mainly secular music.

“I have brothers who loved hip hop and were conversant with most hip hop songs and the artistes,” says The Pink, adding that: “They influenced me, often likening me to female rappers like Nazizi from Kenya and Missy Elliot, and that is how I picked interest.”

She began rapping freestyle at home and one day performed with the KGB’s Mr. Skizzy during his concert, surprisingly the crowd was thrilled. “I picked more interest and began downloading hip hop beats for fun in the club,” she narrates.

Her major break into the local music industry came in 2009, when she featured in Ciney’s debut single titled, Game of Love, together with Paccy and Knowless. The song became an instant hit and a stepping stone for both Ciney and Paccy, who had joined the music industry that year.

But the young rapper felt it was not her path. After listening to different styles of sacred music, as well as a strong presence in the church, it helped to shape her career into gospel music.

The Pink propelled herself into the gospel music scene in 2010, when she gave her life to Jesus Christ as her personal savior.

“I chose to put music on a halt to focus on my new salvation journey, for five years, until 2015 when I decided to use my talent for gospel music,” she says.

Her first track, Nyongeye gutakamba, as a gospel artiste earned her recognition from many fans of Christian music, and she later joined the group Christian Rappers that was headed by Bright Patrick.

 “That is how people recognized my talent and I began taking it to another level. I did a song last year with Gaby Kamanzi called Ikiganzacy’ Uwiteka a lady from Uganda loved the song and invited me to perform before a congregation of more than 10,000 people.  I was impressed to see Ugandans sing along in Kinyarwanda.”

When asked how she acquired her stage name The Pink, she said it’s a nickname she got in High School; and thus decided to keep it when she started singing.

Aside from music, her other passion was basketball and was always among the top five basketball players throughout her school years.

She says her long term goal is to use music to inspire and educate the youth on drug addiction and indiscipline. She also hopes to release an album of all her compositions, and work with some of East Africa’s most experienced gospel artistes to expand her music beyond borders.

She says her biggest challenge is people’s misconception about rap music, especially as a female rapper

“I sometimes get invites to perform in school but I’m often turned down by the school heads when they realize I sing hip hop. Rap music is mostly associated with drug abuse, which is contrary to what I believe in,” she said.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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