Rwanda Tusker Project Fame stars: Where are they now?

AFRICA HAS seen its fair share of talent search shows and East Africa has not been left behind. Kenya has plenty, Uganda can claim a fair share too but Rwanda is yet to come up with a home based reality show. Primus Guma Guma Super Star (PGGSS), Braliwa’s annual reality singing competition, is hardly a talent search seeing as it only targets musicians who are already established.  However, of all East Africa’s talent shows, none has been more famous and dramatic than Tusker Project Fame (TPF). Maybe it has something to do with the participation of all East African countries; or its main characters such as the ‘no-nonsense’ judge Ian Mbugua or dramatic coach Kavutha Mwanzia-Asiyo. Well, whatever the reason for its popularity, TPF is still under a lot of scrutiny from the public about its contribution to the development of talent and music in general. 
Diane Teta and Christian
Diane Teta and Christian

AFRICA HAS seen its fair share of talent search shows and East Africa has not been left behind. Kenya has plenty, Uganda can claim a fair share too but Rwanda is yet to come up with a home based reality show. Primus Guma Guma Super Star (PGGSS), Braliwa’s annual reality singing competition, is hardly a talent search seeing as it only targets musicians who are already established. 

However, of all East Africa’s talent shows, none has been more famous and dramatic than Tusker Project Fame (TPF). Maybe it has something to do with the participation of all East African countries; or its main characters such as the ‘no-nonsense’ judge Ian Mbugua or dramatic coach Kavutha Mwanzia-Asiyo. Well, whatever the reason for its popularity, TPF is still under a lot of scrutiny from the public about its contribution to the development of talent and music in general. 

Rwanda joined Tusker Project Fame in its third season in 2009 and Alpha Rwirangira went on to win the coveted prize of 5 million Kenyan shillings (Rwf 35million). He went on to win TPF all stars with Davis (Uganda) and Peter Msechu (Tanzania). Many aspiring young Rwandan artists have taken a shot at this chance and many have succeeded in going to the academy, however none have gone as far as Alpha; some of the previous participants have taken up music seriously while others have completely fallen off the radar even after all the mentoring they received. 

Fresh TPF talent 

Diane Teta

The 21-year-old songstress is churning out hits and making good on her training from the TPF academy. Already among the contenders of this year’s PGGSS 4, Teta has so far recorded hit singles that include, Canga Ikarita, Call Me, Undi Munsi, Kata and the highly successful collabo Fata,Fata. The young musician was among the few artists that graced Kwibuka20 with a commemoration single Ndaje which she explained calls on Rwandans to hope for a better future.

Alpha Rwirangira

He is arguably one of the most successful Rwanda music exports to talent shows. Having won the competition twice, Alpha was part of the contest that brought together former contestants, including past winners. He won the competition jointly with two other contestants. After TPF 3, Alpha had no time to sleep as he immediately hit the studios to record a successful duet with Uganda’s Bebe Cool, ‘Come To me’. 

However due to educational obligations, he has not been able to concentrate on his music career but he has managed to find time to record some songs such as ‘She Doesn’t Know’, ‘Mo Money No Love’, ‘Heaven’ and ‘Amashimwe’. He is actively involved in organising annual children Christmas parties. 

Peace Jolis

Although controversially evicted from TPF 6, Peace Jolis remained defiant and did not cry foul at how he had been mistreated. Rwanda’s second evictee at the show praised the show’s organisers and all his fans that supported him during his stay at the academy. After his elimination, fans took to social media protesting his elimination, but their complaints fell on deaf ears as the decision had already been made.

However, Peace did not let that set back hinder his ability to a successful musical career. Instead, he used it as a platform and his previous music success to stand firm and record more songs. He has several songs he recorded before going to TPF 6 that include Nakoze Iki, Iherezo and Mbwira. He also has another song, Nguhisemo, which was produced by Lick Lick. He recently featured alongside Alpha in a collabo titled Beautiful.

And the rest?

Nina Bola

No one has ever left the TPF academy with more determination to build a music career then fizzle out faster than men’s checkered trousers. The 28-year- old mother first impressed audiences with her impeccable French when she was auditioning. However, Nina did not have much luck with TPF 3 as she was evicted early in the show. So, you may ask, what happened to the determination? 

No one can say for sure but sources tell us that she is a resident in Nairobi, married to a one Omondi and raising her child. Over the years, she has diversified and is now a film production assistant in Nairobi. She was the casting director behind Coco-Cola’s highly successful commercial “Africa Let’s Go Crazy” that debuted in 2013. 

Gael Atete

There must be some ‘juju’ (witchcraft) working on some of our musicians here. Although our counterparts are not all together better off but that is their battle to fight. Gael Atete came back from TPF with passion and determination to release three singles according to an interview in The New Times, August 15, 2011. Three years down the road, not a single track has been released by the musician whose looks and warm personality did more to push her further during the contest than her voice, according to critics. 

The talented singer, songwriter and composer, was born June 17, 1989, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The born-again Christian who sings at Restoration Church fuses Rock, Country-music, RnB, Jazz and Zouk with RnB genres. 

Christian Robert Rwirangira

This is one guy who dons many coats. He is a musician, actor, model and teacher. Christian, 27, comes from a family of dancers. His grandfather and father were both very skilled in the famous traditional Kinyarwanda dance but that is where it seems to end. He was comfortable singing in French in TPF but had to adapt to the Anglophone audience. By the time he joined, he knew just five English songs. 

He has tried to record tracks but none has done well. Some of the songs include I’m wondering and My Girl. To these he added Amarira y’umugabo atemba ajya munda and Reba Sinzi impamvu. His acting career saw him feature in three movies The Power of the Message, Ibanga and Chora Chora. He is currently a music teacher in Dubai. 

Nevertheless, the above is not an indication of TPF as a failure although critics have questioned its role in grooming musicians. Alpha Rwirangira and Peter Msechu (Tanzania) are some of the former contestants who have voiced concerns about the mistreatment of winners. After all is said and done, it is worth noting and should be appreciated that such a show exists; with all its flaws, it has managed to create a whole new category of artists and most of them credit their success to the competition. 

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