Murekezi’s gospel music comes of age

Jackson Murekezi is a gifted gospel R&B artiste, famous for his hit songs Mundeke Nshime, Urakwiriye and Ni Yesu, among others.
Jackson Murekezi. The New Times/Courtesy
Jackson Murekezi. The New Times/Courtesy

Jackson Murekezi is a gifted gospel R&B artiste, famous for his hit songs Mundeke Nshime, Urakwiriye and Ni Yesu, among others.

He began singing at the age of nine and he is currently among the country’s renowned gospel artistes. Murekezi tells his story about his love for singing and why he chose to do gospel instead of secular music.

“I liked to sing and performed in different choirs but I didn’t know that I would be a musician some day. During my childhood all I ever wanted was to be a truck driver or a soldier, just like what I used to see in the movies,” Murekezi recalls. 

Despite singing in choirs at a young age, Murekezi’s parents were not regular churchgoers and he would often go with the neigbours for prayers.

“My parents were not Christians though my mother would sometimes take me and my siblings to church. But most of the time I would go with other children in the neighbourhood”.

In 2007, he became a born again Christian and started singing and writing songs for his choir.

“The more I sang in choirs and listened to the word, I decided to commit my life to Christ. I did not have a very crazy life as a teenager though I would drink alcohol sometimes,” he says.

Murekezi’s music journey started in 2008 when he started writing songs for the choirs where he used to sing. However, his solo career started in 2009 when he released his first song - Ubuhamya.

He draws his inspiration from local gospel songstress Irène Gaby Kamanzi, American singer-songwriter, pastor and producer of Christian Worship Music Don Moen and Hillsong Church Choir. He has seven singles to his name and his debut album will be launched early next month.

“I do my music to glorify the name of God and all money comes from him, so he will provide for me when the time comes. I want to nature my talent and glorify the Most High for giving it to me, money can come later,” he reveals.

Though Murekezi does not do music to make money, he faces lots of challenges in his music career; he decries of lack of sponsorship and support from the public.

“Gospel music is not well appreciated by Rwandans, even getting your song to be played on air is a challenge. The presenters prefer to play secular music and you can’t blame them because they also want to make their programmes popular,” he says.

Murekezi performed at big gospel concerts in and outside the country. Through his gospel music, Murekezi has managed to get sponsorship for his secondary education and is optimistic that more good things are to come his way.

Future plans

Murekezi is currently working on the videos for his songs Urakwiriye and Mundeke Nshime, due to be released this month. He is also preparing for the launch of his first album - Mundeke Nshime, in November. 

Murekezi was born on May 28, 1989, to Daphrose Mukamusoni and Célestin Sesonga in Burundi. He has four siblings. His family moved back to Rwanda in 1995, one year after the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

Murekezi’s stage name is Tona Jackson.