10,000 Euros, a ten nation musical tour across Africa, and a live concert in Paris, France. The year could not have ended any better for local R&B crooner Yvan Buravan, winner of this year’s Prix Decouvertes RFI, an annual musical competition.
On November 8, Buravan became the first Rwandan to win the award that was in its 38th edition.
“I first heard about this competition way before I was a musician, but back then I couldn’t be interested because I wasn’t a musician. So I had to wait to become an artiste, and then I saw my fellow artistes participate in it, and that inspired me to do the same,” said Buravan in an interview with The New Times yesterday.
It was the third time that Rwanda was taking part in the competition. The first time was in 2013, when Afro soul singer Mani Martin represented Rwanda and was shortlisted among the top 10 finalists. In 2016, Rwanda again returned to the competition, this time represented by Angel Mutoni and The Ben.
By his own admission, it is Buravan’s biggest musical accolade to date.
“We had to wait 38 years to win the prize and bring it home. We did, and we are thankful.”
This year, Buravan had to tussle it out with 1,500 artistes from across the African continent that applied for the contest.
“The competition is about scouting, but they scout from those who applied. You send your songs, your stage performances, and bio. Out of the 1,500 artistes that applied, they had to keep reducing the number at different stages. I got to the Top 10 finalists after passing four steps, and that’s when voting was opened for the public to choose their favorite artists. There is a panel of judges that also voted and the winner was chosen.”
Each contestant had to submit four of their songs, plus some video clips of their live stage shows.
Buravan submitted Just a dance, Malaika, Oya, and Garagaza. He also sent video clips for three different stage performances he held previously in Rwanda.
Surprisingly, none of the songs he submitted had French lyrics, as the competition has no language restrictions.
“The win definitely affects the direction my music takes, but in a positive way because this is a French audience that I’ve gained. I have to make sure I feed them as well. But then again, that won’t make me forget about my fans from day one, and that is my Rwandan people, my English people and my Swahili people.”
The Love Lab…
Although his win was announced on November 8, in Paris, France, Buravan is yet to travel to the country to pick his award.
“I haven’t travelled to France yet, because I have my album concert coming up,” revealed the Garagaza crooner, who will hold a concert to unveil his The Love Lab album on December 1, at the Kigali Conference and Exhibition Village. It will be his first solo concert. He insists that the show is not an album launch, “because the album will be out two weeks before the concert”.
The singer revealed that he has been rehearsing for the concert for the last two months.
Early next year, he will embark on a musical tour of ten Francophone African countries as part of the deal for the winner. He will travel with his band and manager. The singer will crown it with a performance in Paris, before picking his award.
“It’s a huge platform that I got, and with this award comes everything that an artiste would wish for in terms of professionalism. I’m having a tour across Africa with my band, and we’ll be travelling with a team dedicated to production of our shows. That’s a very good experience that I would really wish for any artiste to have. It will open my mind and my eyes to this market to see how things are done. I would advise other artistes to apply because you never know, it may come to Rwanda again.”