In September last year, 21-year- old traditional singer Clarisse Karasira started a new chapter as a musician after three years working as a radio personality.
With three songs, Rwanda Shima, Gira Neza and Ntizagushuke, under her belt so far, the former Radio Flash news presenter, is being compared to legendary singer Annonciata Mutamuliza commonly known as Kamariza.
Karasira is also a poet and a dancer at Ikobe traditional ballet and was recently nominated in the Best Culture and Traditional Artiste category in the Salax Awards slated for next month.
She spoke to Sunday Magazine’s Eddie Nsabimana on her decision to quit journalism for music and the secret behind her fast rise on the local music scene.
First of all, why did you quit journalism for music?
I had to suspend practising journalism so I can focus on my music career. Journalism is too demanding while music also requires me to be focused everytime.
My focus is now on music but I can’t rule out returning to journalism. Yes, journalism is also my passion and people still want me to come back on air but I want to focus on my music for now.
Has working in journalism helped your music development?
Journalism helps the practitioner to think big and have an open mind. It helped me to study the society we live in and the kind of music I do is the one that basically draws inspiration from what is happening in society.
Thanks to journalism, I also made lots of connections with people who can help me in my music in one way or another.
What impressed you most after you released your first song?
The first thing that pushed me to shift my career to music was the feedback that I received when I decided to launch my music career. They were really motivating
When I released my first song, I was so excited that many people, especially legendary music figures like Kayirebwa, Alain Mukurarinda and other artistes, not only fellow culture traditional musicians but also Gospel and secular musicians quickly sent me messages of congratulations and encouraged to keep the good work I am doing and that came as a motivation for me because I realized that there are people out there who love what I do.
Your talent is getting a lot of attention. What is the secret behind that?
I don’t think there is a secret. I think it was God’s plan. It was the right time to embark on a new career because I tried it a few times before, but failed. What I do is to put in a lot of work and focus in what I do.
Besides, music is my passion and it would be a big mistake to let it go.
How would you describe your music style?
I like to do music that educates society with focus on culture and our traditional values.
What music figures do you draw inspiration from?
Any musician, local or international, inspires me. But Kamariza, Philemon Niyomugabo and Cecile Kayirebwa are my favorites. I like them so much and I learn a lot from their music.
Which music label are you signed to and why?
At the beginning, I was doing music without management. I was later approached by some record labels but decided to sign under Rwanda Music Production which is owned by Alain Mukurarinda.
You recently got nominated at Salax Awards. What do you think of these awards?
Awards like these are a motivation not only for me but the whole industry, because when you do things to people’s satisfaction and you get recognised, it gives you courage to do better.
The nomination showed me that there are many people around who appreciate my music, excited to recognize my work and ready to welcome me in the music family.