In a world where branding is increasingly becoming very important, countries, individuals and corporations are capitalising on it to market themselves.
The press, social media users, storytellers, filmmakers, fashonistas, and musicians, are all stepping up efforts to change the way their countries are viewed.
In Africa, these efforts are growingat a much faster pace than anywhere else.
K-Rollz, a young Rwandan based in the United States of America, is among the people using music to influence change and perception people have toward Rwanda.
K-Rollz, real name Charles Niyobuhungiro, is a 21-year old whose music has begun taking the Diaspora by storm. His name is slowly becoming a household name among the youth and other music lovers.
He is a recording artiste, song writer, vocalist, performer, video director, and entrepreneur, currently based in Los Angeles, California.
This year, he became the first Rwandan to land an invite to the prestigious Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards.
The BET Awards are among the leading awards that recognise outstanding achievements in the entertainment industry. It recognises African Americans and musicians from Africa and it brings together the biggest entertainers in the industry.
“The BET Awards was a night I will probably never forget, I got invited early this year and I was extremely excited because it was confirmation. Confirmation that dreams are a reality,” the seemingly excited artiste notes.
This is quite extraordinary for a fast rising artiste who reveals he used to watch BET Awards on a laptop from his room back in Kigali when he was young, and longed to be on such a platform one day. It is definitely a dream coming true.
But that’s not all. His name is now being associated with the likes of Rihanna and the late rapper Tupac Shakur.
“I am currently working on Rihanna’s album and it is truly exciting. But due to a non-disclosure agreement, I am unable to disclose any information regarding this project,” he says.
The Rwandan musician is also working with Kenny McCloud who was among the producers of Bone Thugs music group. Bone Thugs is the only group that has worked with 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G, Eazy-E, and Big Pun while they were still alive.
Poetry was the beginning
Even though the Rwandan native is a music artiste, his career began in poetry way before he dived in the music business.
“I began writing poetry at a young age and later moved into song writing and singing,” he says, before recalling that his music career could have been started at the early age of nine.
K-Rollz, however, indicates that he wrote his first song at the age of fourteen, though he fancied becoming a professional basketball player.
“I went to school at Green Hills Academy. But I grew up around Kisimenti before I went to the U.S. to further my music career and studies,” he recalls.
The articulate rapper has previously written a number of songs, and since last year, he released songs like All Chozen, One Time and the most recent being Poppin whose video clip was shot in Los Angeles.
His mission is to make uplifting music, solely based on the fact that there is so much negativity in the world, he says.
Like widely known, music has power to impact lives and people. For him, he wants to use it as an international platform to impact how people perceive Rwandans and how far theyhave come.
“I don’t want to brand Rwanda because it is already a brand. I want to add to its branding and rebrand it in my own way and show the world the beautiful side of our home,” he says.
K-Rollzalso wants to create music that inspires a lot of young people.
“I want it to inspire them to chase their dreams no matter what. I want to build confidence in my people and show them that it’s love that wins and unity, and not bashing each other down but raising each other up,” he adds.
The musician is planning to release a collective of singles this year including visuals and collaborations, highlighting that “Living in North Hollywood you never know who I might be with and what I might be doing but it’s always exciting”.