They say life has no formula, that is why someone will go to school for many years to study electrical engineering and then end up doing music. Such is the case for Andy Bumuntu, whose love for music from childhood surpassed everything he studied in school and ended up doing music, and now nurturing a career in radio. The New Times recently caught up with the 27-year-old singer and songwriter who released his latest album ‘De Javu’ last month to hear what he has been up to over the past two years or so and what he is cooking. Bumuntu, who broke out on the music scene in 2016, says it was just a matter of time for him to follow his heart and do what he loved, music, despite having an educational background in electricity and engineering. “I decided to really follow something that I’ve loved so much from childhood which was music and arts. And that’s how I found myself into music,” says Bumuntu, adding that though his first known song came out in 2016, he had many songs from the past which were unknown. The decision was also for very personal reasons. Growing up, Bumuntu had a brother who was a musician and liked to sing, and show off, always challenging him in terms of who is a better singer. It was some sort of in-house competition. Seeing his brother perform and how he expressed himself through music made Bumuntu want to follow in his footsteps. He was also a good writer. In 2012, while pursuing his course in electricity, Bumuntu met a friend who told him that they had a band and they go somewhere to play every evening and those who want to learn can tag along. “I was like, why not? Let me just pass by. So, when I got there, I got caught up and that’s the moment I said this is the place where I find myself. “I started learning how to play guitar and how to sing and I went to YouTube to find out how big artistes make it,” the ‘On Fire’ singer recalls. Dealing with parents To change track, Bumuntu says he had to strike a deal with his dad, also a chemist, to take up science courses, ace them and then he was free to do whatever he wanted, which was music. “I think it was more of a deal, you know. I made a deal with my dad, he is a chemist so he was like you’ve got to do science or technology, find something that’s better than music,” he says. Bumuntu points out that there is always an unending fight between parents and children, where children want to do what they love but the parents want them to do something else. On his part, he struck a deal with his father to get good marks in science courses to do music in peace thereafter, and that is exactly what he did. There were no qualms with his parents when he met their expectations. “I went and worked hard to give him the marks in the subjects he wanted me to learn and then after that, he also had to respect the deal,” adding that it doesn’t mean he abandoned his profession. Though he is doing music for now, Bumuntu believes he studied electricity for a reason and who knows, in the future he might get back into it as an investor or something because of his love for electrical technologies. Since graduating in 2018, he enjoys doing consultancies here and there, helping young people seeking to learn a few things. A tough journey to music Bumuntu describes his journey into the music industry as ‘unforgiving’ in the sense that he was doing a different kind of music from the kind of music produced these days. “My music is very different from the music you will hear around because I do not like to follow the rules. I like to know the rules so that I can break them,” he says with a chuckle. The singer says that when he creates music, he wants to feel like the music and message connects to the person listening and also wants people to feel like this something they’ve not heard before. It has been unforgiving in the sense that it took a while for people to warm up to the type of music he was doing but slowly by slowly, they started really connecting with the message and connecting with him personally. As they say, the rest is history. Bumuntu says he produces music for all age groups, young and old, as long as you relate to the music. “I like to see myself as an artiste of the people and I don’t target any age group, I target hearts,” he points out. Composing music, not yielding to pressure Bumuntu says that he writes or composes music depending on how he feels or what other people feel and it has to be natural, nothing forced. He observes situations and goes in for a deeper understanding, whether it is love, pain or a celebration. As such, he doesn’t consider himself to belong to any particular genre of music though back in the day he used to love doing blues, jazz and liberal soul music but normally his music comes from how he feels. “Who knows? My next album after this one could be a rap album,” he jokingly says, adding that he likes challenging himself, doing things that scare him. “If something doesn’t scare me, I don’t do it,” he adds. Bumuntu, who joined local radio station Kiss FM in May this year, joining Sandrine Isheja Butera on the breakfast show, says he has also been creating music at his own pace. Joining radio as a presenter is one of those things he did to challenge himself and face his fears and he has never looked back. As a perfectionist, he wanted to do something that speaks well publicly and connects with the masses. “I have been taking my time to create and sometimes with the fast music industry that’s happening, it will push you to release music almost every day to keep up with the pace,” Bumuntu says referring to the pressure artistes face. He challenged himself to take time off and get off the scene, approached different producers and worked on his latest album named ‘Pain and Pleasure’. “We started creating and the rule was, if there’s any sound that you’ve ever heard from another song, we’re going to exclude it. We’re going to bring something that has never sounded like this before. “We created 10 songs and each song is in a way different from the other,” he explains, adding that this is what makes his current album unique. “The album was called ‘Pleasure and Pain’ because it has it all. It has the message of hope, love and comfort if you have lost your loved one,” he says of his new album, adding that it touches all aspects of life. ‘Nzagukumbura’ and Yvan Buravan One of the songs on Bumuntu’s album titled ‘Nzagukumbura’ has been linked to the passing of singer Yvan Buravan who died on August 17 and happened to be his close friend, but the singer says it was a mere coincidence. “I had written it before, for everyone, but then nature has its own way of connecting things,” he says in reference to the timing. Bumuntu has a lot of fond memories of Buravan, whom he describes as a down to earth person who always comforted others going through difficulties. “The thing that gives me a lot of peace is that I had time to tell him how much I loved him and how much I respected him,” he says. The song ‘Nzagukumbura’ is the second on his new album, following ‘De Javu’ which came out earlier. The plan is to release one song at a time, the third being ‘Igitego’. He says it is important to give people time to listen to a song so that they can digest it before you release another one. Other songs on the album include ‘Bahige’ and ‘Woman of my dreams’. He plans to release the whole album next year on May 14, which happens to be his birthday. After that, he will tour the country, finding his fans where they are in all provinces of the country. The album was inspired by his own experiences, what he went through, the pandemic, loss of lives and many other events that dominated the past two years. For Bumuntu, his philosophy is, whatever you are doing, take your time, follow your heart, perfect the art and deliver when you are ready, rather than succumbing to pressure. He speaks highly of his co-presenter Isheja, describing her as one of the presenters he admired before and now works with, something he considers a privilege. “Not only is she a hard worker, she is also the kind of person who will let you experience your potential and push you to do your best every single day,” he says, adding that the connection with her was really quick. His parting shot? Parents should let children explore and do whatever they want, as long as they ensure that they don’t stray and get distracted from their education or life in general. It is possible that they can excel in both if given a chance.