People may have thought she won last year’s ‘I Am the Future’ music competition by accident, but fast rising female artiste Marie-France Gusenga’s talent has earned people’s admiration and applause ever since she was young.
While persuing her secondary studies at Lycee Notre Dame de la Providence, Karubanda in Huye District, Gusenga, known by her stage name France, liked to be seen on stage performing live for the audience songs from her favourite musicians.
“I liked to perform at whichever events at the college where I was studying because music has been my passion since I was young and my colleagues would admire my voice and performance in general whenever I performed,”
“I can say their admiration plus my passion pushed me to accepting my aspirations to become an artiste. Since then, I gave it a try and here I am,” she recalls.
However, she admits people would not be recognising her if it weren’t for ‘I Am the Future’ music competition which gave her the breakthrough into the industry. Lack of resources to spend on recording music has been a challenge which affected her potential.
“I thought my talent would quickly push me into the spotlight but it is far different from the reality because it was so expensive for me to record a cover song because I had to pay the producer the money which seemed a lot to me,” she said.
The 20-year old singer says ‘I Am the Future’ music competition opened her doors to embark on her lifetime dream. Upon winning the competition in December last year, she never looked back.
She won a cash prize of Rwf15m and was signed under Future Records management, the competition organisers, for a period of two years.
Besides cash, the prize package also included the label’s commitment to introduce the rising music star to the world of music by supporting her music development, through song recording and talent exposure as well as doing the promotion of her music to an even bigger audience.
“When I was announced the winner of ‘I Am the Future’ music competition, it opened up my career as a musician. I decided to use the opportunity I got as a platform to launch my career as a professional artiste,” she said.
Though she got management in January, France has just released two songs including her first song ‘Sinabirota’ she dropped in July and her latest song ‘Bitwayiki’ that she released last week.
The singer explains she had to spend ample time with her management recording songs, understanding the local music market, and get training on playing some musical instruments which can help her during live performances.
“I have got to know that you need to be ready before starting to do music professionally. That’s what kept me busy until I released my first song. I am now well settled under my management and I am ready for the challenge. It is not easy at all but, with the talent I have, I believe I can do it and reach the furthest possible,” she added.
The two songs were enough for Godfather Productions’ CEO Mike Ogoke, to make France his first pick among ‘big’ local artistes he plans to work with on their music promotion throughout Africa and beyond, before he concluded his business trip in Rwanda two weeks ago.
For her, it’s an opportunity she can’t take for granted.
“I have to work hard to win their [Godfather Productions] trust and show them that my music and Rwanda’s music in general deserve credit at the international scene,” she said.
Apart from music, France is now doing her first-year ‘Leadership and Business’ studies at the African Leadership University (ALU)