Growing up, Ariel ‘Wayz’ Uwayezu had her eyes set on becoming a great musician one day and when Nyundo School of Music held auditions in search of fresh musical talent to nurture back in 2015, the then ordinary level finalist never thought twice and jumped onto the chance. Now, at just 19, the young girl is regarded one of the most gifted artists Rwanda has, with potential to become even bigger. Indeed, for her, there is no life outside music. It is all about music. “Ariel Wayz is a young lady who is in love with music not because of what she wants to get in music but what music makes me feel. I love music, music is my life and I don’t see myself in another way. I see myself in front of people having my microphone there singing,” narrates the budding singer. Ariel is a member of fast-rising band, Symphony band, which is composed of Nyundo graduates. She is the band’s vocalist and the lone female member in the band. Born in Rubavu, Western Province, Ariel is the fifth child in a family of eight. She is indeed inherited to be a musician because her mother used to sing in orchestre Ingeri in the 90s. While other students picked sciences, literature and other sections that they wanted to pursue in senior four, Ariel was only focused on following music as a professional career and knew Nyundo School of Music would help her fulfil her dream. The following year, the school gave her a scholarship to study music and gave her a platform to discover the talent she has in herself musically. “I saw it as an opportunity that couldn’t hesitate for a second to jump on because I knew already that I wanted to be an artist,” she said. “The school really opened doors for me in music. It was like the sun into my eyes where I could see a lot of things ahead of me. I wanted to sing, I wanted to write and release my songs. I was willing to do anything for the opportunity,” she said. Besides doing covers for other artists, Ariel is also releasing her own songs. She recently dropped ‘The Boy from Us’, a collaboration with Jumper Keellu. She also featured in the New Generation’s all-star song ‘Ndaryohewe’. Ariel says that the music she does is music which speaks a lot about herself, what she’s been through, love stories, life stories, freedom and women emancipation. After just two years in music, Ariel’s voice attracted the attention of music critiques -from The Voice Afrique Francophone, and was eventually invited to participate at the continental music competition alongside other Rwandan young artists like Alyn Sano who recently qualified for the competition’s finals.“I didn’t believe in my talent that much to the level that I could be invited to participate at such a big music competition like The Voice,” she said. She believes Rwanda is home to a big number of music talents and can see a lot of potential coming in the young generation. Life with Symphony band She might sometimes produce her own songs but Ariel is among the founding member of Symphony, a household music band which has been dominating the big stage since it started in 2018. The band has been supporting artists, local and international, but it is now working on its own music and slowly transition from doing other people’s songs to their own. Last week they released their first ever song ‘Hey’ and they are committed to carrying on. Ariel knows being the lone female among the five members that comprise the band, is quite challenging because people rather jump to her social life than focusing on the good work she does in music. “Some are like ‘maybe she [Ariel]’s a prostitute, maybe she’s a wife of five boys’. They say so many things that can at some point discourage you. Though none told me that directly, I could hear friends telling me what people think about me,” a frustrated Ariel explained. She, however, insists she is part of the band on merit and is proud to be part of it with a common vision to become a great band like the likes of Maroon Five or Magic System. “I believe I deserve that and that is what really makes me work hard. I don’t just sit and say ‘I am the queen in the band’, instead it is like I have the band in my hands. I can’t just leave it and lose everything we’ve been fighting for,” she said. Though she sometimes drops her own songs, Ariel does not think of quitting Symphony as her heart is only set to achieve greater things with the band sooner or later than doing it alone.