Hope Irakoze is a talented musician. He was the winner of Tusker Project Fame in 2013.
The Rwanda based Burundian artiste, has climbed the ladder to success with his latest popular singles, Tabia mbaya, Honey and Kemea usingizi. The 25-yearuuuuuuu-old opened up about his musical background and future plans.
When did you discover that you have an interest in music?
I was only 10 years old when I first played a guitar. At the time, I felt something special in music. I guess it was a calling because I have since invested much effort to learn more about music. Today, I can play most music instruments like a guitar and piano.
Describe your family’s musical interests and abilities?
Though my family loves and appreciates music, it is only me and my young brother who display musical interests and abilities. My brother won Primusic 2 competition in Burundi in 2014.
Do you think winning Tusker Project Fame opened some doors in your music career?
Definitely! Tusker Project Fame gave me a platform to show the world what I am capable of. My concerts are well attended because I got fans during the competition.
Recently, I did a concert in Dar es Salaam and Mombasa, and they were both successful. I am now organising a concert in Dubai and I believe it will be a success as well.
Do you only perform your own songs?
Usually I perform my own compositions, but sometimes I fuse with other musicians’, such as, Johan Legend, Barry white, Luther Vandross, Michael Bubble and Franck Sinatra, among others.
How would you describe working in Rwanda?
I enjoy working in Rwanda. It is really amazing. Rwandans love me and appreciate what I am doing. I think my penchant for Rwanda dates back in Tusker Project Fame competition. Rwandans voted for me, which was a blessing to me. And I am here to give back to them.
Do you have current projects that you wish to talk about?
I am shooting a video of my song Kaguru kamwe that will be recorded at Tahkis record in Bujumbura. I am also organising a concert in Dubai this month.
How do you balance your music with other obligations?
I have no other obligations at this point. I am only into music. My daily life is all about music.
Compare and contrast Rwandan and Burundian music industry?
I think in Burundi we have talent, but the environment is not good enough for a musician to grow professionally. On the other hand, the Rwandan environment is more conducive for music as a business. We organise more concerts in Rwanda than in Burundi, which is what helps Rwandan musicians to move forward. But both industries are growing and need a couple of twists, to speed their growth.
What are some of those twists?
I think both Burundian and Rwandan musicians need to work with international artistes, alongside featuring lyrics in regional and international languages, in order to promote their music. We have started doing this already, but we need to keep it up until we get the results that we all want.
What are your future plans?
My future plan is to make my music career grow. I am planning to release my debut album in June this year. It will comprise 10 singles. I am also trying to do collaborations with local and international musicians, in order to be able to promote my music internationally.
I’m in talks with Tanzanian Bongo superstar, Diamond Platinumz and Kenyan afro-pop band Sauti Sol.