At a very young age, Marie Grace Imanariyo, commonly known as Gracious Gra3ce, liked to participate in activities associated with music or dance, and at the age of six, she joined the children’s choir at her local church.
She later became a member of Chorale Coeur Joyeux and Worship Team, of the English service at EAR Kacyiru parish, writing songs for the choir and other aspiring artistes, before she decided to start a solo career earlier in July this year. Her decision to go solo came as a way to exploit her talent in songwriting.
A student at Muhlenberg College, United States, pursuing a degree in Computer Science, Imanariyo’s inspiration in music came when she was playing drum in church and singing in a children’s choir. At age 22, her dream of becoming one of the most successful gospel artistes Rwanda will ever have is taking shape.
“I realised that I had a talent of writing songs. I am part of different worship groups that I compose songs for. Later on, I never felt it was something fair to keep the songs in my book, so I thought that my talent in songwriting can be an advantage for me as long as I start taking the written projects to the studio,” she said.
So far, she has written more than 15 songs. She released two gospel songs like, ‘No other God’, and ‘Wa musozi’, two months ago while she was on school holiday.
Imanariyo said she would have wished to continue doing her music while at school in United States, but revealed that it is so expensive to record songs there. The only option for her is to keep writing as many songs so she can release them when she returns to Kigali for holidays.
“I am a student and it is too expensive to produce a song in the United States. I am still looking for alternatives to keep doing my music while out here in US. It is not simple at all but the thing is that I am thinking of ways to grow my music and push it to another level,” she says.
Although she is building a solo music career, Imanariyo insists she does not plan to quit Coeur Joyeux, the choir she has belonged to since 2007, nor does she think of leaving New Generation Christian Ministries, and Kacyiru English Service Worship Team drama teams, which she says have been a revelation to her music in one way or another.
Imanariyo said she envisions her music to be on another level in the next three years as she looks to release more songs which can inspire and influence her audience.
“I still have a lot to learn to have a successful career but my dream is to one day become a gospel singer whose songs carry a message that can positively change those who believe in God,” she said.
“I would also be glad to see myself singing along with other great gospel artists, local and international, and I believe all is possible with Christ who strengthens me,” she added.