Before moving to the UK, Olivier Nzaramba co-owned and ran a local bar and a night club. Today he is a gospel singer, having launched his career in 2014. He shared how his life turned around in the UK and his experience pursuing music abroad.
How did you know singing was something you wanted to pursue?
I realised music was my passion because even when I was running nightclubs, I used to organise music shows for students during holidays and I also got connections with artistes like The Ben. I managed him because he saw something in me that I didn’t. My wife is a devoted Christian and when I joined her in the UK, I received Jesus and joined a choir, which enabled me to realise my calling. With encouragement from people, I got to record my first song ‘Icyubahiro ni Icyawe’.
What inspires your music mostly?
The gratefulness I have for God in my life. Looking back at my previous life and seeing that I’ve changed and have peace, the songs are mostly appreciative to God which should be part of all us who have received salvation.
Share with us your experience doing music in the UK
My experience in the UK surprised me. I thought because I sing in Kinyarwanda, my music was going to have a limited audience but I was surprised that it was broad.
I remember my first CDs were bought by Americans while performing at a conference, when I explained to them the meaning of the song and they were touched. Music touches hearts no matter what language you sing.
Recently I was also invited to perform at a Commonwealth dinner and I was surprised because I didn’t think myself worthy. I was happy to represent my culture without being limited to my community. I’m also hoping to sing in English to broaden my audience but feedback from foreigners encourages me a lot.
Tell us a bit about your current song ‘Humura’
Humura’ means don’t worry. I composed the song before the Covid-19 became a pandemic but during lockdown I realised it was the perfect opportunity to release the song. The situation was challenging for everybody and no one expected everything would grind to a halt and that people would lose jobs. The song was an encouragement because I know that people react differently to difficult situations but they will have a season to be happy again.
What more should fans expect from your music?
I’m working on my second album which I hope to be finishing by the end of this year. I’m so excited to share my ‘Gakondo’ gospel songs because I believe they will be a blessing to many people.
I also want to stage a good concert here in Rwanda and I also want to collaborate with at least two Rwandan gospel artistes before I leave.Follow https://twitter.com/SharonKMugabo