Why Yvanny Mpano chose music

Yvanny Mpano during the interview at The New Times on Wednesday. / Sam Ngendahimana

Yves Mutangana, better known by his stage name Yvanny Mpano, is one of the most talked about new artistes in the music industry.

The 30-year-old attended Nyundo School of Art, where he graduated in 2018, and began to immediately pursue music professionally. However, before joining the school of music, Mpano was already singing, but took a break to study music only to bounce back on the scene bigger and better, releasing hit songs like ‘Mama Lolo’ and ‘Sinarenzaho’.

Unlike some artistes, Mpano does not have a songwriter working around the clock to craft catchy R&B tunes for him – all of his songs are self-penned tunes. Now he even writes for some other Rwandan artistes.

Running his fingers through his short twisted hair, the ‘Ndabigukundira’ star told The New Times in an interview that his ‘romantic sound’ has been years in the making.

When growing up, Mpano was never told he could sing. He would go to the choir in his neighbourhood Church, but the conductor would always give him a hard time, and this made him decide that he was going to be a solo artiste.

When he was in his final year at Ecole Secondaire Saint Joseph Le Travail (ESSJT) in 2011, he attended a competition dubbed ‘Talent Detection’ which he did not win. However, he earned favour from one of the judges, Patrick Uwimbabazi, also as Lick Lick, a then local producer who pledged to make him his first song, ‘Wagiye he’.

In 2012, he released his second and third song. Mpano was working at Cercle Sportif, Kiyovu, where he would make money to support his projects. His family also would support him in a way.

“Passion is amazing. It can make you lose track of where you got the money, and you don’t regret the money you spend on your music, even when your song doesn’t get popular,” he said.

In 2013, Mpano auditioned for a scholarship to go to Nyundo School of Art, and he got it. He then took a break on his projects.

“I didn’t resign from work. I wanted to go there (Nyundo) for like two weeks and see how it goes, and just in case it didn’t work out, I would go back to work.”

“We said, ‘we are going to learn recitation?’, but when we reached, even what we thought we knew, we were completely wrong.” Mpano then spent three years at Nyundo.

Before he left for Nyundo, his aunt, who raised him had told him that he was then grown, and should do more productive projects than singing.When she saw him perform at Nyundo sometime later, she made up her mind and told him to go ahead and sing, because it looked promising.

When he started singing, he thought he would shine immediately, and this was his first challenge. Financial support was also tough to get.

He likes football, and used to play in a junior football academy as a goal keeper. He quit because of a knee injury, but he still plays for fun.

Mpano is usually impressed by how people welcome him. When he resumed his music, his fan club organised a surprise party for him, and this is something he had never dreamt of when he just started music.

He dreams of building an empire, where many young talented artistes will be facilitated to make their music.

He has been part of some bands, like Sebeya Band, which comprises of the first promotion of Nyundo School of Art students.

He is gearing up of the release of latest single, ‘Venti venti’ on December 1, and plans to launch his debut album early next year.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com