Crezzo G Samuelo is a Rwandan artiste who sees music as a way to help himself and other people. Crezzo G Samuelo, real name, Habimana Crezzo Samuel ventured into music in 2010. He says he chose his stage name, a play on his real name, to stand out. "To me a stage name is like a title, like the Pope's, he has his real name and a title for work.Today, he has eighteen songs including his latest hit "Never Give Up" featuring Soma Bond. Brenda Barungi spoke to him about his music career.
How did you get into music?
I started out as a poet back in secondary school and I would sometimes write songs just for fun. In 2009 I got expelled from school over something that wasn’t my fault and I got bitter. I was popular because of my love for music and as a result I got unfairly accused of starting a strike, which got me expelled. I started to write songs to make myself feel better and deal with the anger. In 2010, I produced my first song for the presidential campaigns at the time and then made my debut as a real artiste in 2011.
Which challenges did you meet starting out?
When I started out I got a lot of backlash from my family and society in general. They thought I was just being arrogant. On some days I had to sleep outside the house after performing. I also didn’t get enough promotion when I was starting out because the media wasn’t interested in upcoming artists.
You sing about various issues like drug abuse and staying hopeful in your songs. Why do you choose those topics and not love like most artists?
I think there is a lot in life and it’s easy to lose focus. I want to encourage people to keep working hard and being focused because there are people who have achieved activity. That’s the reason behind most of my songs. I also sing about African society, how to live together peacefully. I believe in working together because everything we have achieved as Rwandans came from working together. In a way this is love, I cannot encourage people to be hopeful and avoid evils like drugs without loving them.
What has been your biggest accomplishment as an artist?
Music has helped me pay for my education. I paid for two years of my secondary education and I’m now paying for my college degree. The money I have got from music has also been able to sustain me and help me live in Kigali since 2009. Lastly music has helped me network and get to know so many people. If I decided to quit music right now it would be easier to get a job due to these connections.
What are your future plans?
I want to be known as a good Rwandan artiste both here and internationally. I want to advance my career, join management and music production so that I can help other artistes. I want to be remembered as an outstanding Rwandan artiste, one that is known both locally and internationally, as an artiste influenced by Rwandan culture. One that worked to change the lives of people through music and one that supports other artists.
What is your take on the rising industry?
I would like to ask the media to support upcoming artists. I would also advise event organisers and music promoters to think about the future. It is very hard to get people to pay for your concert when there are events where they can see you perform for free. It’s good for a while, you will get paid well, but then what happens after that? They need to remember that music is a business like any other and we need it to sustain us even after these events.