Although calling himself International Hit has not made him an international icon, Afro Beat artist Eric Senderi Nzaramba has established himself as a household name and is now plotting to take the region by storm.
From soldier to musician, Senderi started his musical career when he was still serving in the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF) and is also known for fighting genocide ideology through music.
Some of his songs include ‘Abanyarwanda twariboheye’ and many genocide tribute songs, like, ‘Intimbay’intorey’Imana.’
But Senderi is no ordinary artiste. Over the recent years, the singer has made it a point to learn at least more languages more than just Kinyarwanda, his mother tongue. To emphasize his point, he insists on responding in Luganda, English, Kinyarwanda and Swahili during this interview.
“I have learned and have been speaking Luganda, and many other Ugandan languages, for the last three years, and Swahili as well because it was also made an official language,” he says shrugging.
“I am now going international and learning these languages for me is essential and although I learned Luganda, I don’t want to sing in Luganda.”
In 2016, he composed and released ‘Je suis là’, a French song, and ‘Mapenzi ni somo’, a Swahili Song. He has also performed at some concerts in Kampala, Uganda and Geita, Tanzania last year.
His reason: “Swahili and French are very rich languages and love languages to explore but even though I want to reach East and West Africa, there is no language better than Kinyarwanda. But I was always curious to know what people meant and I always wanted to learn the languages. I already have a huge fan base in Rwanda and now I want to make a mark in other parts of Africa.”
The ‘Aragiye’singer has already made plans for this year and one of them is to work harder than he ever has.
“I will release few songs this year. I will also work on some collabos with artistes from Tanzania and Uganda and venture into gospel music because my experience with God is a story to tell, he says.
If there is an art that Senderi has mastered, it is how to stay on people’s lips, especially those of his fans amusing his fans with unanticipated comments and stage behavior.
He even went an extra mile and made declarations and proclaimed himself ‘King of Afro-beat’, ‘Mayweather’, ‘Ask tomorrow’, ‘Harvad’, ‘Inkeragutabara’, ‘International Hit’, ‘Tuff Hit’, ‘Intarey’Umujyi’, ‘3D’, and urged his competitors in the music industry to address him as such. At some point, this behavior led him to feud with some of his fellow artistes.
“I chose all these names because I have made a name for myself already with God by my side. I have made a big audience upcountry where I perform mostly because that is where people are genuinely excited. I think people residing in the towns have many problems and debts to deal with. They are just trying to live but they are not as happy,” he says.
He, basically, has embraced a showbiz approach, reaching out to as many potential fans as he can while off stage. He treated his fans to free food and drinks during his album launch, at Ubworoherane stadium in the Northern Province in 2015.
“I always perform upcountry every weekend. I staged a concert in Rutsiro at the stadium and it was fully packed. My fans paid Rwf100 to enter and I got money.
Last year I got an accident and my car was damaged beyond repair but this year, but I assure you that I will stage a concert this year and buy a new car,” he says.
Senderi has participated in the annual Primus Guma Guma Super Star music completion, but to no success. In what looks despair, he took to his social to appeal to the organizers to consider him this year.
“I enjoy the PGGSS competition because I know my upcountry fans yearn to see me perform. Even when people make fun of me, because I carry baskets of potatoes on my head, I don’t care because I am relating with my fans and it’s a platform for me to perform before my fans and save money,” he says.
Several of his fans and artistes, such as rapper Ama G the Black, have raised concerns over the 39 year old’s intentions and plans to settle matrimonially.
Asked about his marriage plans, Senderi notes: “I am not seeing anyone yet because I am not fully prepared financially. When the right time comes, I will tell whoever cares to know. People make it sound like I just don’t want to but you see, it’s no use rushing off for marriage when you are not prepared,” he says.