She has captured people’s hearts with her music talent, her beauty and warm personality. Knowless Butera, real names, Jeanne Ingabire Butera is one of the music artists that has lingered on the music and celebrity scene for some time.
The Rwandan musician, songwriter and entertainer, already has four albums with themes such as romantic relationships, societal issues and daily life.
“It has been God’s favor upon my life but also my hard work. Not just music but also whatever I set my hands on, I make sure I give it my all because I do not like being failure in life,” she says.
Her music career that sparked off in 2010 as ‘joke’, would later turn into an award winning career. The once timid Seventh Day Adventist choir vocalist, turned out to be one of Rwanda’s female hit makers.
“Urban Boys’ Safi Madiba, as a longtime friend introduced me to the music industry. I started by escorting him to the studios until I eventually got to do a collabo with young Junior which we never released because I was in the choir and was afraid of what they would think of me,” she narrates the journey.
Knowless has been there and knows exactly what her fans want. She always gives the best.
“I’m inspired by the people I see around me and the people I meet on the roadside or anywhere and also the things that happen to me,” she says.
Towards the end of 2011, Knowles launched her maiden musical album, a year after she had joined the list of promising artists.
She describes her worst moment as the year when the media was awash with all sorts of wrong information with stories and photoshoped images about her.
“As a musician who had just risen musically, I felt tested by God and would feel so down and betrayed by people who were supposed to support me, but I became stronger. I knew all this would eventually end,” she says.
Courtesy of her amazing R&B tunes and magnetic voice, she is the first woman to win the Primus GumaGuma Superstar 5th Edition. The award was a life changing moment for her.
“It was another step. My mind was opened wide and opportunities came my way. I was able to release a song with Zambian artist Roberto, TeAmo, that is still a big hit back in Zambia, as well as other songs that are a hit in East Africa,” she says of her life changing award.
2016 was a defining year
She describes it as one of the best years of her life.
It came with the successful launch of her fourth album in July and several nominations from regional music awards.
She tied the knot with the love of her life, Clement Ishimwe, graduated in Finance at Kigali Independent University (ULK). She also gave birth at the end of last year to a baby girl, which she says was the best time of the year.
“I had always wanted a baby girl and that is what God gave me. I can’t explain the joy that I had upon realizing that I was going to have a girl. It was a dream come true,” she says.
I ask her how she wants to raise her daughter and she responds with a heavy sigh.
“I just want to be the support my daughter needs to become what she wants to be. Anything she wants to be as long as it’s of good benefit. I was liked by my guardians who raised me because I was unique and they gave me the support that I needed and this is what I want to do,” she explains.
It is out respect for her daughter that she has chosen to keep her baby off the public eye.
“I don’t know what my daughter wants to be. She might want to live a private life and posting photos of her will mean disrespecting her decision. If she wants publicity like her parents have I’m very sure, she will get as many followers as possible. Although my daughter is too young I can tell she is humble and who knows what she will be in future,” she says.
Despite being at the peak of her music career already, the 26 year old music super star chose to further her studies in finance, because, according to her, education is one of the essentials of life. She explains why:
“In this country, not so many people are not lucky enough to have inherited property from their parents. I believe, that what such people, like me should pursue to inherit, is educational knowledge. That has always been my motivation to complete my studies because even when I have a career, education will always be a tool to move with the fast growing world.”
She plans to pursue an online Masters course in Finance to upgrade her knowledge.
Clement, the love of her life and music manager
Knowless is managed under the label Kina Music that is owned by her recently wedded husband and best friend. Despite being her manager for a long time, their marriage has not in any way changed her career.
“Our relationship is more than just music, he is my best friend who listens to me and who means business where necessary. My music career of life has not changed because he still grants me the freedom I used to have before I married him,” she says.
The couple met in school choir which they both attended at APACE, where Ishimwe was the choir pianist and Knowless was a singer in the choir.
“That is when we became friends. I was in senior one and he was in senior five, and because of the class difference, we weren’t as close because I was a shy little girl, but we were just friends.”
After he returned from Costa Rica for his study tour to begin his record label, they reconnected and was signed under his record label. Their friendship and work relationship later turned into a marriage affair.
More this year
She attributes her career success to hard work and promises more this year. She sparked off the year with a release of her new song and lyrics video Ujya Unkumbura and is currently doing a video of the song.
“Because I had taken some time off to settle with my family, I came back with the lyrics video to give something to my fans, but another video will be released soon,” she promised.