Rwandan musician Beligne Bizimana who first set his foot on the Kenyan soil in 2004, did not expect to stay in the country for long.
But when he was impressed by the giant strides the local music scene in Kenya made to him, he decided to stay. He now lives in Kenya.
“I only travel to Rwanda when I’m invited to perform there,” he says. He enjoys playbacks.
“In Rwanda, we mostly use live bands for shows, but my stay here has made me more used to playback,” he explains. The music star claims that he has gained much while in Kenya where he exposed to the best talents.
He released his debut album in 2006. The seven-track collection, entitled (God is My Number One), earned him great acclaim. It is done in French, Kinyarwanda and English.
Buoyed by the album’s success, Bizimana is keen on making a follow-up later this year, a plan that he says is being held back by lack of funds. But when it finally comes out, he promises that it will be much more appealing than his first.
“My first album was primarily for my Rwandan fans, but my next album targets the East African market,” he says. He has already recorded a few songs for the upcoming album at different studios in Nairobi and Kisumu.
They include Crazy and Vitendo, which features Kenyan musicians such as Slim Killer and Nida. The two songs were recorded at Kisumu’s Sterling Studios.
“More joint projects with local artists are in pipeline”, he reveals. Bizimana has begun discussions with genge bigwig Jua Cali for a planned release. He has shelved plans to release a song he was doing with Lady S.
“Part of the song was ready and what remained was for Lady S to record her bit,” he says.
The 29-year-old crooner accepts that it has been a long and arduous journey that sometimes called for bold moves.
A couple of years ago, while still in Rwanda, he dropped out of school (KIST), a decision that was against family wishes, to concentrate on music.
He was then pursuing a degree course in mechanical engineering. While in Kenya, Bizimana made other equally tough choice of ditching gospel music for secular music.
“Secular music has more opportunities than gospel music,” he defends the decision.