In 2013, Igor Mabano got a scholarship to study music at Nyundo School of Music, where he formed a music band, Sebeya Band, together with other students.
Five years later, he is a teacher at the same school, a singer, song writer, producer and drummer. He had a chat with Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa about his growing musical career.
When did your interest in music start?
I started singing at 8 years in a church choir and was inspired by my mother who was a singer.
In 2012, I joined many music competitions, meeting several artistes and in 2013 was called for auditions at WDA (Workforce Development Authority) where I earned a three year scholarship to study music at Nyundo School of Music.
In 2015, I went to Canada for internship with the Sebeya Band. I returned to Rwanda with my friends and graduated in 2016. After school I started writing and producing my songs, ‘Ndagutekereza’and ‘Iyo Utegereza’. I have also been teaching drums at Nyundo School of Music.
About Sebeya band
We formed the band in 2014 and together with nine other students, we performed in bars, weddings, and earned some money. We created new vibes and sounds, different from other bands.
We have been together for three years performing at concerts and singing in studio. But at the moment I am not fully part of the band because I started my own career and I spend more time in studio.
What unique rewards come from working as a professional musician?
Before I joined Nyundo, I had the talent but did not have the money to go to a music school. It’s very expensive to join a music school and it didn’t make sense to study music because I was already doing it. After joining the school, I realised I did not know a lot because I had relied so much on YouTube tutorials.
My teachers’ experience was what built me and also the artistes that I worked with.
While many other artistes think that fame and lifestyle determines their musical aspect, the school helped me build my musical career to another level which might be different from other artistes who do not have this experience, because when you get the right knowledge, skills, discipline and attitude, it gives you a whole new perspective towards your career.
Do you think that the internet is affecting music in any way?
Internet is good but when you rely on the internet without knowing the basics, it might not be of help. If you want to do music professionally, you need to do more research.
Who are the biggest inspirations in your career?
I have so many artistes that inspire me both locally and internationally. In Rwanda, I love all the artistes doing RnB but the biggest ones are Cassanova, The Ben, Meddy, Bruce Melodie, and King James.
Internationally, I look up to John Legend, Jamie Fox, and Steve Wonder, because they are different. For the drummers, I’m inspired by Christopher Coleman and Taylor Smith because they play for different genres.
What are the tools of trade that you use the most and what is your favourite gadget?
My phone and the internet. I also use the electric drum pad, and of course the computer. Although I am a drummer, when I want to compose my songs, I use the guitar, so it’s hard to pick a favourite.
What are some of your personal and professional goals for the future?
I want to be a professional artiste both in Rwanda and internationally. As a teacher, I want to be an inspiration to other young talents.