Mike Kayihura is a Rwandan soul music artiste who started singing at the age of 13 at Christ’s church’s choir in Gacuriro.
In an interview with Sunday Magazine’s Joan Mbabazi, the 25- year-old talked about his music journey, inspirations and challenges. Below are the excerpts
Who is Mike Kayihura?
I am a musician, aged 25. I love singing and playing piano. I have about ten songs; however, I am working on a new album. Music is my life; it gives me a chance to speak what is on my mind. Music is both my profession and passion.
My parents played a very big role in motivating me and supporting me into singing.
How did your journey into music begin?
It was not so hard like I thought it would be. I met a producer called Barick, in 2014, who worked on my first song, “Let your worries go.” He never charged me any coin. We worked on friendly terms.
I was privileged to go study music in Ethiopia. I was trained to sing, write songs, and connect emotionally through music.
Which musical instruments do you play?
I play the piano; the youth pastor at the time, in Christ’s Church always encouraged us to pick one instrument and fall in love with it. I am still learning the guitar and I have a long way to go, with the piano. I learn every day.
How many collabos have you done and with who?
I have collaborated with a few artists like; Kanaka, Angell Mutoni, Eric one key, Eloi el, Mucyo, but the most amazing collaboration for me was with “The kingdom choir” in the UK.
It was about a song I wrote in high school, which they were interested in and we sang it together. It was a dream come true for me. They are amazing. I am looking forward to having more collaborations with great musicians.
Do you write your own songs?
Yes, I compose and write my own songs. I always have, and will always do. It is what frees my soul. I try to release my emotions through writing. It makes me feel alive and fresh. It hurts when you cannot let out your pain.
Which musician inspires you most and why?
Stevie wonder is the best vocalist I have ever heard. He doesn’t have to see it. He feels it. He is a musical god to me. I want to feel music just as he does. I know he feels something outside this world. “He’s Misstra Know-It-All” and “isn’t she lovely,” are my favorite songs of his.
Take us through your day’s schedule
I start my day listening to music, be it in the bathroom or bedroom. I head to the studio in the morning, train my vocals for some time, meet with other artistes and plan for gigs.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow in your footsteps?
They should have fun with music, listen and be mentored by people who know how to sing. Music is a journey and you must fall as many times as possible, but what is most important, is standing up firm and strong, knowing that you will be better someday.
I also think parents should let their children sing if they have the zeal for it. Why do they have to do medicine if art is what they want?
If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose this career?
I would definitely do it all over again, I would be harsh on myself and practice vigorously as though it is the last chance I have. I would also focus more on the quality of the songs and the videos.
What is your view of the music industry in Rwanda?
Rwanda’s music industry is growing; the young artistes are getting together, thus producing better music. The country is waking up to music and it is a great feeling.
Any challenges you encounter as a musician?
Sometimes we are not paid on time. You can also not be sure whether your fans will love your song, however much money and the time you put in. But hey, no road is smooth. Challenges make me stronger.