Many know her by her stage name-Davilla. But Ainee Kamikazi Ishimwe one of Rwanda’s upcoming stars is the artiste to watch out for. Her uplifting music and hope-filled stories based on relationships have made her a house hold name. She appeals to all audiences-the young, old and people from all walks of life.
Davilla was born on July 17, 1992, in Gikondo to Josephine Mukandekezi and Anaclet Ntazinda. She is the first born and the only girl in the family of three. She lost her father at the age of two during the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, and she was raised by her mother.
She started her education journey at Gisozi Primary school before enrolling at Groupe Scolaire APE-Rugunga secondary school. While growing up, she wanted to be a nurse but that changed in S.2, when she realised her passion for music.
She says her teachers and fellow students encouraged her because they would enjoy listening to her sing and when she joined Stella Matutina secondary, she became the entertainment prefect and was in charge of organising school events.
She actively participated in all the school drama events. She used the opportunity to perform her own compositions before her fellow students. She however took a break when she joined A’ level to concentrate on her studies. Her study combination is physics; mathematics and chemistry.
Despite doing sciences in her advanced level, Davilla does not intend to pursue a science course at university. She wants to take a management course as she also focuses on her music career.
She draws her inspiration from American recording artiste Brandy Rayana Norwood and dreams to be big like her someday.
The young upcoming star started her professional career in June 2012, with the help of producer David and Sam Ryan. She used to visit their studio and would see them produce songs for other artistes and would sometimes rehearse her own compositions.
Producer Ryan got interested in her voice and requested her to compose a song which he recorded.
“I wrote my first song called Ikirori and that was my first recording in studio. However I did not promote it because it was really funny. I put it on city radio but it was never played because it was funny and everyone who I took it to would criticise it,” reminisces Danilla.
Despite massive criticism of her first song, it attracted the attention of Tom Close who called her and offered to help her write a song called Ntituzatana. It was produced by Chris Chetta.
“It was really a nice song and I really tried to promote it on all radios but it was only played on one radio. This discouraged me a lot because I had a lot of hope in this song that it would be a hit, because it had been written by a star but it was not being played on the local airwaves.”
Very discouraged, Davilla went back to producer Sam Ryan, her childhood friend to seek advice from him.
“Sam convinced me that I was good for the industry because he was seeing a talent in me which somehow encouraged me. And that’s how I ended up composing a song called, Sinakumenye. It is based on a real life story of girl, who was heartbroken by her lover.”
Happy with her new hit, Davilla narrates that Sinakumenye was a success. She went on and released another song titled, Garuka. She sings Zouk and Afro R&B.
The upcoming artiste desires to work with Miss Shanel and King James given the opportunity.
Just like any other upcoming artiste in Rwanda, Davilla’s road to stardom will not be a smooth ride.
“There are so many challenges we face as upcoming artistes, I have a very big financial problem because recording songs both audio and video needs a lot of money.”
Promoting her music is another challenge Davilla faces as it requires paying some money to the radio producers and presenters for her songs to be played on radio. She also decries lack of support from artistes who have made it, “I would wish to make a collabo with big artistes here but getting them is not easy. Even when you call them they will not have time for you not because you’re not good but because your music is not popular.”
Exploitation by the big artistes is another issue the young artiste is not happy about. “Artistes will call you to perform at their launch but they will not pay you arguing that they are giving you exposure forgetting that you spent money to record that song.”
She narrates that some upcoming artistes are sexually abused by promoters who in turn don’t even promote their songs.
Davilla is currently working on the video for her hit single sinakumenye and is grateful to her mother and producer Ryan for the financial support in building her music career.
Her future plans are to grow in the music industry and become someone recognised on the continent. Apart from music Davilla also wants to complete her studies and will be starting her management course in September this year.
She likes hanging out at club next and bourbon coffee with her friends during her free time.
Davilla appeals to the public to support upcoming artistes. She also urges on the promoters and presenters to promote people with talent rather than promoting those that have paid.