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Imboni on expressing talent through covers

Melissa Imboni does cover versions for both traditional and modern songs and plans on writing her own songs. / Photo: Courtesy.

There’s something fascinating about listening to something familiar and classic done in a completely new version. 

A common way is through covers, which can be defined as a new performance or recording by someone other than the original artiste or composer of a song. Covers, which were originally done by famous artistes, are steadily becoming a trend, as more people are using social media to display their singing abilities. 


Melissa Keza Imboni, is among those who are using social media to showcase her talent. She spoke with The New Times’ Sharon Kantengwa about her love for music, making cover songs, musical influences,  doing her own songs and how the Internet has impacted the music industry among other things.




Who is Imboni?

Imboni is a young Rwandan woman, people lover, optimistic, intentionally choosing liveliness, on a daily pursuit of happiness and self-improvement very passionate about music and a student pursuing a degree in Humanitarian affairs and international development.

When did you discover you could sing? How did you start your musical journey?

 I can’t put a date and time on when I discovered I could sing, but I remember singing and dancing in front of  a television and my siblings at about age 7 or 8,  as soon as I was old enough to memorize songs and sing along I was doing it nonstop in school, at home and everywhere.

Who are some of my musical influences?

I absolutely adore Cécile Kayirebwa and Kamaliza (RIP). Their lyrical content is very rich and unmatched, a kind of its own. Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and Adele are also artistes I’d say have influenced my musical style.

How do you choose what you will cover?

I choose what I’ll cover by what and whom I’m feeling inspired by ... but sometimes it may be as simple as a friend requesting a certain song.

Are there any challenges since you started making covers?

I’d say consistency and topping my last performance, but I’ve been working hard on that one.

 Any specific song that you are itching to cover, and why?

Yes! Definitely a traditional Rwandan song. I haven’t chosen which one yet, there are too many nice ones to choose from. I love our cultural music. There’s just something about it that gives me goosebumps every time. It wouldn’t be odd to see me crying at a gusaba  (a traditional introduction ceremony) when I hear these songs playing.

How do you think the Internet has impacted the music industry?

 The Internet has made music more accessible to listeners, it has enabled artistes in the music industry to showcase their talent and market themselves in a matter of clicks. It has directly linked artists to fans and allowed them to build that direct communication online. 

The Internet has also connected labels to artistes. Many artists are discovered on YouTube and other platforms thanks to the internet! Though it does have some downsides, I think internet has revolutionised the music industry greatly.

Are you working on any original music?

 Yes, I’m working on writing my own music. I’ll be sharing it when I’m ready! I hope you are.

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