Bill Ruzima is living the moment right now. The singer launched himself into the Rwandan music scene as a solo artiste early this year, and already has a number of singles to his name including, Imitoma and Imana y’abakundana.
In September, Ruzima was among local artistes who opened for Nigerian singer Johnny Drille at the Kigali Jazz Junction.
He began his music career when he joined Yemba Voice in 2016, but the group broke up last year—that’s when he decided to go solo.
The 21-year-old artiste does more than just sing— he is a talented guitarist and writes his own songs too. He is currently working on his debut album. Ruzima believes people should focus on spreading positive messages and be themselves by following their passion.
The New Times sat down with Ruzima to discuss his music, inspiration and new album.
Who is Bill Ruzima?
Bill Ruzima is a singer and guitarist, born in Gatagara, Nyanza District. I was born in a large family, with 14 siblings (laughs), of which I come as the second last. I graduated from Nyundo Music School last year, with a background in construction.
What got you interested in becoming an artiste?
I’ve always loved music, it’s like therapy to me and I can’t imagine life without it. I started singing when I was 6-years-old. Also, growing up in family with very many children played a big role in my career. I remember when I was a kid, my siblings and I formed a choir (which had no name), and we would perform in churches— people actually enjoyed our performances. I also used to listen to traditional music on radio and would sing most of the songs by our local artistes.
What was the experience like when all Yemba Voice members decided to part ways?
It was horrible, especially when you have been singing in groups all your life. In my case, from the family choir, I joined African Boys, which also ended drastically. Then we formed Yemba Voice, thinking it would last longer, unfortunately things didn’t work out and we had to go our separate ways.
After that, I decided not to join any other group, but instead embark on a solo career. It was hard in the beginning, and at some point I became little bit skeptical whether I could make it, but I had to take a bold decision, which motivated me to stay on the right track.
Do you think that experience has influenced your song writing?
Absolutely! When you are in the process of healing, you reflect on a lot of things, and that’s where I get most of the inspiration when composing my songs. Most of my lyrics describe the situation I’m in, and issues happening in our society.
Is there anything else that you want people to know about your music?
I just want to give my fans good music and to produce unique compositions. That’s what matters most to me. And I hope people can relate because all my songs come from a place of sincerity.
What advice would you give an upcoming artiste?
If music is your passion, my advice is to just keep doing it and not to fear failure or to be criticized, because it gives us a new perspective and motivates us to work harder to become better artistes. From personal experience, it is also very important for experienced artistes to mentor and support upcoming artistes, because it motivates them.