Fatuma Nina Muhoza was in Tusker Project Fame (TPF) 4. The upcoming singer, who was uncomfortable to say her age during the interview, is a member of the new girl group Charly & Nina which is currently taking airwaves by the storm. She says she is single and finally searching. Below are excerpts.
TNT: TPF participants usually dive into oblivion when you get out of the Academy. What have you been up to?
Nina: I currently perform with Sound of Hills Band at Hotel des Mille Collines. Besides that, I teamed up with another singer, Charlotte Rulinda to form the girl group Charly and Nina. We were both backup singers for different musicians but most especially we are known for backing up singers in Primus Guma Guma Super Star shows. So far, we have seven songs, three of which have videos and we are producing more.
TNT: Describe your experience in TPF
Nina: I learnt a lot in the Academy, for example stage appearance, vocals… the whole package when it comes to the nitty-gritties in music.
However, it’s a different world out here. The basics one learns in the Academy have little impact in the (music) industry. Practically, it’s not about who has the best voice becoming the most successful musician. Music has nowadays gone commercial and talent is either dead or unappreciated. In my view, TPF should focus on training how to become a commercial singer, how to earn a living and survive as a musician.
TNT: But many say it’s an Academy with basic principles and does what is expected of it...
Nina: But that’s almost impossible in reality. Look at the musicians we have in Rwanda or even in neighbouring countries. Are they really the best vocally or otherwise? No. There are many who are better but lack exposure! Internationally, where are the products of American Idols like Fantasia and Jordan Sparks?
TNT: At least those two had a song each that became a hit (When I See You and One Step at a Time, respectively).
Nina: Past tense. Where are they now? They are certainly struggling, trying to produce a new hit song in vain.
TNT: Ok… you’re saying that music academies are irrelevant and useless, right?
Nina: Not at all. I was sharing my experience in TPF. My point is that what is taught there is less applicable in the real music world. The dynamics are so challenging. The audience has its taste and expectations that totally have nothing to do with what’s learnt in academy. It’s a jungle with diverse survival instincts.
TNT: So how would you like to see all that change as a singer?
Nina:Rwandans should first appreciate their music. If they do, others will also appreciate.
This can be achieved if radio and TV stations promoted local artistes. I surely don’t understand why Katy Perry or Miley Cyrus should dominate our airwaves when there are lots of Rwandan songs!
TNT: You started singing in 2009 and released your first song in March 2013, as a duo (after pairing with Charlotte Rulinda). Where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years?
Nina: We will be big and go international. Some of our songs like Mapenzi, Turambarana and Bye Bye are already doing well. If Kidum sings in Kirundi and is popular in Kenya and all over the region, and Diamond is big as far as West Africa yet he sings in Swahili, this means that everything is possible. So I will keep singing in Kinyarwanda and break the barriers. But like I said before, it all starts with change of attitude back here at home. Nevertheless, we have also done collaborations with Social Mulla, Burundi’s Big Furious, and Sizzaman from Uganda.
TNT: Will you be backing up singers again in PGGSS?
Nina: With our own music career taking shape, I don’t think we will be backing up other musicians but instead we will focus on how we can take part (in the competition) ourselves, if given an opportunity.