Nine emerging Rwandan music acts to watch in 2020

Symphony band members. Courtesy photos.

Young and talented artistes made their debuts on the Rwandan music industry in 2019, making the year an exciting one. For some, it was a take-off year, while others saw it as a year to consolidate their  achievements.

This new crop of talent is leveraging on the use of streaming services and social media. Artistes like Nel Ngabo, Kevin Skaa, Kivumbi King, and music groups, such as Symphony band already had a footing in the industry, 2020 might just be a year of no limit for them and some other rising stars. The New Times brings you a list of Rwandan artistes to look out for in 2020 in no particular order.

Nel Ngabo

R&B singer Nelson Byusa Rwangabo, popularly known as Nel Ngabo, has not slowed down since he hit the industry with the song, “Nzahinduka”. The track went on to be played on several radio and TV stations in Rwanda.

After rounding off 2019 with a number of tracks to his name, 2020 will see the 22-year-old singer ascending to new heights. 

Like most aspiring artistes, Nel Ngabo’s journey into the entertainment industry has not been a walk in the park for him, but driven by passion and dedication for music, he is steadily making a name for himself. 

Nel Ngabo, who is signed to Kina Music label, is also a first-year student at the University of Tourism Technology and Business Studies (UTB), in Kigali. With a number of hit tracks such as “Byakoroha”, “Why”, “Gake” featuring Igor Mabano, and “Ya Motema”, with Platini Nemeye, one can say Nel Ngabo is a force to reckon with in the Rwandan music industry and a superstar already.

Alyn Sano

Her vocal abilities are impressive, and her style and stage presence can’t go unnoticed. Alyn Sano has been in the industry for a while, but her efforts in 2019 have had massive impact on her career after she dropped “We the best” featuring Yvan Buravani. Her other popular songs include, “None”, “Naremewe wowe” and “For us”, among others. 2020 will see the sublime singer rising to new heights with a strings performances.

Kevin Skaa

Kevin Skaa, born Kevin Shema Kananura, has proved to music lovers that he is a bag of talents with a melodious voice that is sweet to the ears.

With only two years into the music scene, the youngster has grabbed fans’ attention with his singles such as “Special”, “Medicine” and “Down Slow”, which are among the songs of 2019 with impressive airplay on the local radio and TV stations. With the above-mentioned singles and his upcoming musical projects, the newcomer artiste is one of the most talked-about names in the Rwandan music industry.

K1vumbi K1ng

K1vumbi K1ng is a talented young afro-pop singer, who hustled his way into the country’s growing music business. He has turned out to be well accepted by fans after he featured in DJ Toxxyk’s track, “Pull Up” that also features Angell Mutoni. He is also known for his single, “Fever.” 

K1vumbi K1ng joins our list of promising independent artistes, and 2020 will be a big year for him.

Calvin Mbanda

After Safi Madiba and Jay Polly left The Mane fell out with the owner of the label Ramadhan Mupenda, over what was described as breach of contract—the latter was left with no chance but to cling to his songstresses Queen Cha and Marina, and to outsource for new crops. That’s how Calvin Mbanda was discovered. He boasts of songs like “All I need”, “Aye” and ‘Nari High’. The youngster has a lot to offer his fans this year. 


Shaffy is an upcoming Rwandan artiste based in America, who rose to fame early last year after he was discovered by The Ben, also based in the U.S. The fast-rising talented vocalist and songwriter is another newcomer with impressive vibes. His two singles “Akabanga” and “Sukuma”, are enjoying massive airplay in the country. We can hope that 2020 will be a great year for this talented singer. 

Symphony band

They have graced several big concerts before, and by the looks of things, the band even aims for bigger events this year. The band consists of former students of Nyundo School of Art and Music; Ariel Uwayezu, Etienne Niyontezeho, Joachim Mugengakamere, Fabrice Irakora, Frank Mugisha and Jackson Cyiza. 

It took the band three years to make its presence felt after it participated in some of the biggest shows of 2019, from Iwacu Muzika festival to Kwita Izina concert that was headlined by American singer Ne-Yo, not forgetting the New Year’s East African Party.

Davis D

Lively afrobeat singer, David Icyishaka, commonly known as Davis D, literally sent the local music industry buzzing with his club banger, “Dede”. The song, which was released in October, last year, is currently one of the most played Rwandan songs on radio stations and nightspots. He’s certainly a must-watch act! 

Rita Ange 

Rita Ange Kagaju is one of the favourite emerging female artistes to watch out for in 2020 following the release of her 2019 track “No Offense”. The 18-year-old singer signed to IdA Record label, has convinced her audience that she has the power and what it takes to become the future of Rwanda’s music industry. Let’s have our eyes fixed on her.

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