Marina on crossing borders with her music

Marina is relatively new to the music scene, having embarked on the journey at the beginning of 2016.
The artiste and her manager and promoter, Ramadhan Mupenda, during the interview. Photos by Nadege Imbabazi.

Marina is one of the three artistes currently signed to The Mane Music, a new music record label in Kigali. The other two are cousins, Queen Cha and Safi Madiba, formerly of Urban Boys.

Unlike her label mates, Marina, real name Marine Uwase Ingabire, is relatively new to the music scene, having embarked on the journey at the beginning of 2016.


In just two years, however, she has amassed a huge fan following both in the country and beyond. Her deep and sassy voice is her artistic signature, and in her music videos and at stage performances this is complimented by the dancer in her.



Presently, she has nine singles to her name, and some of the more popular ones include; “Byarara Bibaye”, “Love You”, featuring Tanzanian Bongo flava star Harmonize, “Like That”, “Decision”, featuring Papitto, “Impano” and the self-titled “Marina”.

At the moment, “Marina” and “Love You” are her biggest hits. “Marina” is a self-love song in which the songstress flosses about being the object of attention of all the boys, yet she opts to ignore them and love herself instead.

“It is not a true story but the song is about me,” said the beautiful and soft-spoken singer during an interview with The New Times on Tuesday.

Marina is known for her sultry vocals.

Starting out

Marina’s musical journey started from childhood, in various church choirs and in school music contests.

Early in 2016, she tried her luck at a music talent competition dubbed “Sing and Win” on one of the local FM stations. It involved calling into the radio and singing a short acapella. Unknown to her, it was the beginning of a music career.

“That week, Uncle Austin called and told me he wanted me to become a professional artiste because I had the talent,” she explains.

“I went to the studio with him and recorded a demo and everyone who was in the studio said I was talented.”

By the time she walked out of the studio a few hours later, she had recorded her first single, “Byarara Bibaye”.

A while later, she was offered the opportunity to feature on a Rwandan All Stars song titled, “Too bad”. The song featured artistes Jay Polly, Urban Boys, Bruce Melodie, Uncle Austin, and Khalifan. Being the new kid on the block, fellow artistes on the song were impressed and encouraged her.

“They asked me if I needed someone to help me with management and I said yes,” she says.

Similarly, one of her friends told Ramadhan Mupenda, the owner of The Mane Music about Marina’s talent.

“We met and talked, and later decided to work as artiste and manager,” says Marina.


On Friday the wait will be over#love you by @marinadebol @harmonize_tz ?????

A post shared by Marina (@marinadebol) on

The two inked a management deal at a time when Mupenda was actively recruiting artistes.

“When I started my label I wanted it to grow as big as Wasafi (Diamond Platnumz record label in Tanzania) because I’ve heard their background. They started from zero and are now on the top. So I got a lot of inspiration from Wasafi,” says Mupenda.

At the time, he had already initiated a collabo between Safi Madiba and Tanzanian musician Harmonize from Wasafi.

Harmonize was later flown into Kigali as a guest artiste at two shows to officially launch the label.

After watching Marina perform, Harmonize’s manager immediately asked for a collaboration between the two, and they hit the studio the next day to record “Love you”.

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