Lionel Mugisha is an upcoming artiste, and first runner-up of the “I am the Future’’ competition held in December last year. He has since released his debut song ‘Mad Love’ that has received massive reception from his fans. James Peter Nkurunziza caught up with the 18-year-old who talked about starting out in music and plans for his career.
Take me through your music career. When did you know you could actually sing?
I started music at the age of three. My mother used to take me to church and I would join others as they worshipped the Lord. I stopped singing in the church at the age of around 10. I continued pursuing my dream in music when I joined Nyundo Music School. I am currently in level three.
When was your breakthrough into the spotlight?
Shortly after my Level one at the music school, I participated in a competition called ‘’I am the Future’’ organised by a famous producer called David Tuyishimire, where I emerged the first runner up of the competition. I was lucky to win Rwf7 million as well and signed a two year recording contract with Future Records which is currently managing me.
You said you won Rwf7m, what did you use that money for?
I used some of it to pay for my tuition at the music school and invested some of it in my elder brother’s business because I really never had plans for that money.
What have been some of the challenges you have faced as upcoming artiste?
Being tossed around by a number of media outlets that I think would have helped me push my music has been one of the major challenges I have faced. It really breaks my spirit seeing the way I am treated compared to the already established artists and this would break my spirit but I will not be deterred by anything.
How many songs do you have so far?
I have released one song so far titled ‘Mad Love’. It was released at the beginning of July this year and I have a new song that is likely to come out in a couple of days. I urge all of my fans to keep supporting me because I will keep doing what I have to do to produce quality music.
How did your parents react towards your decision to venture into music?
I am lucky to have had very supportive parents because it is unusual to have parents in Rwanda who would support you to go do music immediately after O level. My parents knew how much I wanted do music and I also explained to them, citing examples of the number of people that have really made it in life through music, they did not try to stop me when I said I wanted to be a musician.
What can you say has been the highlight of your music career?
Seeing already established artists such as Mani Martin and Israel Mbonyi coming out to credit my work was a really outstanding moment for me. I was really excited given the fact that I had no previous encounters with them but for them to come out and credit my work proved to me how good I was and I can never forget that.
What are some of your future plans as an upcoming musician?
I hope to have a number of collabos with different foreign artistes. I have always promised myself that the first collabo I will make will be with a foreign artist be it from the region. I also want my music to cross borders. I do not want my music to appeal to only Rwandans but to people from all walks of life in different countries.