With only three songs to their name, gospel duo Nelson Manzi and Eunice Irakiza are already becoming popular on the gospel music scene.
The couple has been on the gospel scene for quite some years, with Manzi having joined Ambassadors of Christ choir as a teenager in 2005, and Irakiza as part of the Epee du salut choir since 2009.
It was their marriage union in 2017, however, that further brought the couple to stardom, after their wedding video and pictures garnered so many views on social media, even to their surprise.
The couple had known each other for a long time. Their marriage, Manzi shared, sprung from a long-term friendship.
Starting a YouTube channel
Despite being a celebrity couple, a YouTube channel had never crossed their mind. It was false news about them that propelled them to share their truth.
“Some tabloids shared some wrong stories like; the birth date and name of our daughter, and they were getting many views. We thought to ourselves, ‘why not start our own channel so people can get the truth about us,” Manzi tells The New Times.
The duo has since been sharing videos about their family’s musical talent, and in just 10 months, the channel has attracted over 19,000 subscribers.
Still part of their respective choirs, music has been part of them for the longest time. The lockdown earlier this year, however, had them stuck at home, but they received several requests from churches outside Rwanda to participate in worship sessions of their virtual services.
“We received positive feedback from many people who also requested us to upload our compositions on YouTube so that they can access them. The lockdown took the time we reserved for our choirs and placed it in our hands was an opportunity for us to compose more gospel songs and minister the world,” Manzi says.
They composed their first song The Prayer together, and it was recorded long before they knew they would end up together. The couple has since gone on to release two more singles "Ubwogamo" and "I just want to be where you are."
They have also recorded a couple of other songs "Kua MuKristo" and "Ahora hafi" with Manzi’s sister and fellow choir vocalist Sarah Sanyu.
“I never really knew how social media works. So getting so many views at once, at first got me worried. We don’t know why we are getting many views and thousands of messages of positive feedback, but we consider ourselves as vessels of God, and where He leads us we follow,” he says.
The couple says that they consider themselves more evangelical than musical, saying that their future plans involve founding a philanthropic activity to become a blessing to others. They also say that they have more uplifting gospel songs, composed and recorded as a duo that will be released anytime soon.
“Times are different now and it’s easy to drift away from salvation, and our prayer as a couple is that God gives us the strength to stay in salvation,” he says, and Irakiza chirps in; “Our ministry for us is about the gospel of salvation we share and how our audience will benefit from this message. As Christians, we are not called to live a selfish life but have a heart of compassion for the broken-hearted and pray for them, and that is what our songs are really about.”