Get a little closer

BRYAN KIMENYI gets to know rising star Tom Close He is without doubt, the biggest voice on our airwaves. Your children and house maids probably sing his songs. That is Tom Muyombi, a.k.a Tom Close.
Close at his album launch at NUR (Courtesy photo)
Close at his album launch at NUR (Courtesy photo)

BRYAN KIMENYI gets to know rising star Tom Close

He is without doubt, the biggest voice on our airwaves. Your children and house maids probably sing his songs. That is Tom Muyombi, a.k.a Tom Close.

Many of you will be wondering how Tom Muyombo becomes Tom Close, never mind, I found out. Apparently towards the end of his primary school days, Tom and his friends did not think of life without another.

They then decided to add “close” to every ones’ name, so that they don’t forget the good times they shared. Unsurprisingly they are still close friends.

“Friends are the best assets anyone can have, you turn to them in times of trouble and rejoice with them when every thing is going fine.”

Tom Close was born on October 26 1986, in Masindi district of neighboring Uganda. His parents died at an early age, leaving behind a number of children. He last heard of his mum in 1995.

“My mother always encouraged me to do something with the abilities God gave me, I do every song remembering these words” says Close..

He received his primary school education at La Colombiere, and later joined Kiziguro Secondary school and Lycee de Kigali. He is currently studying medicine at the National University of Rwanda.

Just like many other musicians, Tom Close begun developing his talents in church. At a tender age, he was a member of the church choir at Saint Etienne in Kigali. And he can still be seen singing in the choir though his studies make it hard for him to be there as much as he’d like.

Being an ardent Christian, Tom Close’s life revolves around the teachings and ways of Jesus Christ. Apart from praying for guidance every morning, he says, “I’m also fond of asking for God’s direction whenever some thing is going on during the day’s activities.”

After his morning chores which include cleaning his room and himself, he heads to class for his ever demanding courses. You will wonder how he manages combining music and the six year medical course he is doing.

He says, “music being my love, I’ll always get time for it. I take it as a life time hobby.”

Despite being an aspiring doctor, Close is a comic artist. So far he has three books attributed to his name. They were published with the help of the Diocese of Gahini, to whom he is grateful for transforming his life.

Since he stormed the music scene, he has performed in more than ten concerts across the country. He is so thankful of the support fellow musicians have shown during the short time he’s been on the music scene (less than a year).

His most memorable performance was in Gisenyi on New Year’s Eve along side notable musicians like, Lolilo of Burundi, and Rwanda’s rap star Riderman.

“This was my first professional concert, after the show my fellow musicians encouraged me to give it a hard shot, and I’m doing exactly that.”

In May this year he received his first recognition as a musician when he won a Rector Excellence Award for Best NUR musician in the year 2007. His heart he says is set on winning many mire - locally and internationally.

Being an ardent R&B fan, he is an admirer of U.S musicians Chris Brown and R. Kelly. In Rwanda, he confesses his respect for Rafiki, and admits that many of the musicians in Rwanda are improving.

“Musicians in Rwanda have done what they have to do. In order to develop our talents, promoters should emerge and together we shall take Rwandan music to another level.”
He also advises corporate companies to increase investment in music as it has proved a success in many other countries.

His first album, “Kuki” (Why) hit the airwaves so hard, that you would think has been on the music scene for some time. It had eight songs, a feat that very few Rwandese musicians are yet to achieve.

Tom Close is now working on a new album; so far half of it is done. He has included couple of gospel songs that are a tribute to God’s mighty guidance and love. He is determined to produce at least one album every year.

So many prominent people live their lives by philosophies, Tom Close takes life the way it is. “I know that God has prepared some thing for me, he will guide me as long as I don’t part from his ways.”