Joe Christian Irankunda,is a live band artist from Burundi currently living in Rwanda, who usually sings in the company of his mother, and is known by his stage name Kiki Toure. Besides singing, he is a budding entrepreneur and student. The 24-year-old had a chat with Sunday Magazine’s Sharon Kantengwa on his music career after Tusker Project Fame Academy.
When did your singing career start?
I grew up watching my mother sing and perform in live bands. She is the one who introduced me to singing. I was inspired by the fame that came with it. Having started off as an amateur my audience taught me how to sing and with experience my talent was nurtured. However, the academy at TPF had a very huge impact on my singing career.
How was your experience like in the TPF Academy?
I had the best experience in the academy because my primary intention there was to develop my skills and I can say I really learnt a lot. They treated us like superstars yet we weren’t and that also affected me negatively.With a mindset that I was already a superstar, I thought that I was already successful and was not ready for beginner lessons. I thought everything was rosy. I cut off all my singing gigs back home thinking I had outgrown them until I became so broke and let go of my pride. I chose to get back up slowly.
Many of your peers in the academy are successful recording artists. What stopped you from hitting the studio?
Singing live music and combining with recording is not an easy task because a recording artist is focused on the commercial aspect. These days artists want to go commercial but fitting in is not that easy because you have to think beyond your local audience. I am however trying my luck and have some songs already in studio. I’m also venturing into business because I believe that people should not depend on one source of income.
How can you describe your experience working with your mother?
It’s lovely. Back then I didn’t realize how talented she was because we sing together, until I arrived late for a wedding party and watched her perform. I was astonished. I’m lucky to have been introduced me to this career because breaking into the industry, where western music in Burundi is popular is hard but she gave me chance to grow. I’m now assisting her because she’s aging even though she still sings karaoke.
Tell us about your singing career in Rwanda
When I came in 2014 mainly for studies, I realized that live music wasn’t working here and so I invited the band that I performed with in Burundi to introduce theirs here. It was difficult in the beginning but now people are getting used to it and I find it becoming more popular in weddings. I actually think that recording artists should learn to adopt the norm of singing live because it adds value to one’s singing career.Follow https://twitter.com/SharonKMugabo