Innocent Nyarwaya, better known as Yago, has undergone transformation from being a popular Rwandan content creator and TV show host to venturing into the world of music. At 29 years old, his journey has been nothing short of captivating. After gaining fame for his entertaining shows on Rwandan TV networks, Yago made a career shift, transitioning into YouTube content creation, where his popularity soared even higher. However, the most unexpected twist came when he dropped his debut song seemingly out of nowhere, leaving many in awe. In an exclusive conversation with The New Times, Yago opens up about his career transition, upcoming projects, the reception he's received in the music industry, and his ambitious long-term plans. Excerpts: Can you tell us what you’re up to these days and share the story behind your new song Naremeye featuring Bushali? I'm currently working on my debut album, and what's important for people to know is that it's deeply personal. Each track is inspired by true stories that hold great meaning to me. The song 'Naremeye' holds a special place as my new signature song, featuring the talented Bushali. The title itself, 'Naremeye,' means surrender and confirmation that you're the one and only. Collaborating with Bushali, an artiste who transcends the label of a rapper to become a true musician, was a privilege and an incredible journey. His work resonates with me, and I believe that's why people are loving 'Naremeye,' along with its captivating melodies. I am truly a believer in this project. The original Naremeye was supposed to feature a female musician. What happened? I'm a firm believer in not settling or staying in my comfort zone. I've never reached a point where I feel like I'm done or satisfied. If I approach someone in the music industry, and they decline to collaborate, I respect their decision and see it as a sign that it wasn't meant to be. I'm always ready to move forward and explore new opportunities. How did your experience as a school deejay at Saint Aloys Rwamagana motivate your music career? I had the opportunity to be a DJ at St. Aloys Rwamagana, a fantastic school that played a significant role in my journey. They had a radio station called Vision, which had a profound impact on both my mass communication and music careers. Being a DJ at that time was instrumental in shaping my music career. I learned essential skills such as mixing, curating beats that resonate with the audience, and this knowledge still benefits me today when I collaborate with producers. I'm grateful for the experience and want to give a shout-out to all the students over there. You mentioned working on your first album earlier this year. Can you update us on its progress and when fans can expect its release? For my upcoming first album, I plan to release around 13 songs. You can also look forward to some exciting collaborations from East Africa, including Uganda and Rwanda, as well as something special from Nigeria. While I won't reveal the names of the artists I'm collaborating with just yet, I can say that you're in for a treat. As for the release date, it's likely to be next year. We've noticed your recent trip to Lagos on social media. Could you share the purpose of your visit and any sneak peek into upcoming collaborations? It's important for people to understand that I consider myself a student, a life-long learner. I have a strong desire to acquire new knowledge and skills. I'm not one to imitate others, but rather, I thrive on learning. I avoid staying in my comfort zone because I believe that's when growth happens. That's why I embarked on a journey to Nigeria – to learn. Nigerian musicians are excelling in the industry, and they are making waves globally. Their impact is undeniable. When you're in a place like Radisson Blu, you can't leave without hearing Nigerian music. So, my trip was all about gaining insights and lessons from the best in the industry. I believe that what I've learned there will not only benefit me but also those around me. Your YouTube channel, Yago TV Show, is very popular. Has slowing down on interviews affected your content creation and its impact? As I approach 30, I've realized that it's time to pursue my dream of creating music. I'm not concerned if people are not immediately drawn to my music or my new path. What really concerns me is not creating and staying stagnant, as that would be detrimental to my growth. So, I'm following my passion and pursuing what I've always dreamt of. Some may wonder why I've shifted away from philanthropy and YouTube interviews, but I have my own aspirations. We all have our own wishes and desires, and I believe in chasing my destiny. I'm striving to make my mark in the industry, and I'm determined to follow my vision. So, why do people question my choices? I'm just on a journey to realise my dreams, and I won't let others dictate my path. You invest significantly in your music, working with expensive producers and video directors. What's the most you've spent on a track, and are you starting to see returns on these investments? I've faced criticism and negativity on social media, with some people claiming that I can't sing or that I'm not capable. There have even been damaging rumors that could tarnish my reputation. It's disheartening to see individuals who don't support my pursuit of what I'm passionate about and what I've always dreamt of doing. However, I believe it's just a matter of time and mindset. I'm committed to investing more in my music career, and while I may not disclose specific amounts, streaming platforms are starting to generate revenue. I'm focused on the bigger picture and the potential for long-term profits.