He is being referred to as Rwanda’s version of Neyo and so far he has proved to even the most defiant of critics that he is the best R&B musician Rwanda has ever produced. He is The Ben.
The Ben whose real names are Mugisha Ben was born in Kampala.
He was raised in Uganda and went to nursery school there and after the 1994 genocide, Mugisha’s family came back to Rwanda.
He continued with his primary school education at Petit Prince and after moved on to Gahini secondary school.
He is currently enrolled as a first year student at Universite Libre de Kigali (ULK) where he is pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Management.
All those years Ben was playing underground music to himself and to friends who would bother to listen to him.
He would sing R.Kelly and Usher songs, who are his favourite musicians, in the evening while going home, in the bathroom and even when he was hanging out with his friends.
Few, him inclusive, knew that the massive talent he possessed was actually waiting to explode.
In January 2008 he did a collabo with his friend Tom Close and from then he continued working with him and other musicians until August when he went solo with his song ‘Amaso ku maso’ which was a hit among the Rwandan youth.
The Ben has since never looked back. ‘My debut song ‘amaso ku maso’ proved to me and others that I can actually sing and that I do have the talent because every one loved it and felt connected to the song,’ The Ben told SundayMag.
‘People from everywhere started offering me deals and I deemed it wise to pursue a career in music,’ he said, adding that he got a lot of support from his friends and family at the time.
The Ben’s rise to star dome was remarkably rapid as within a year in August 2009 he released his debut album ‘Amahirwe y’ambere’.
‘I chose to name it ‘Amahirwe y’ambere’ because it is the first chance in music and my first album in many to come.’
The twelve song album has many popular songs including ‘Amaso ku maso’, ‘Rahira’ featuring Liza and ‘Amahirwe y’anyuma’.
The Ben’s talents have not gone unnoticed by the public as he has already started decorating his trophy basket.
He won the best R&B male musician at the Salax awards beating more established musicians on his way to winning the prize. His performance at the ceremony was also electrifying and showed just why he deserved the honours.
He has also won the Rwandair awards for the best male artist, best song ‘Rahira’ and best collaboration with Liza.
The awards included return air tickets to South Africa and Gisenyi.
However, his career recently went on a low when he was launching his album.
The show was suddenly stopped by police due to the erratic behaviour by the crowd that had gathered for his show.
‘I was utterly disappointed by the police’s action of stopping the show as there was nothing that serious to warrant such an action, the crowd was just excited which is the norm in such occasions,’ The Ben says.
He however, says that the enormous crowd that had graced his show was proof enough of his popularity and promises to make it up to them by organising a concert in November.
The Ben’s future prospects include going international and promoting Rwandan music.
‘We have proved we can compete favourably with the best in the region and I think it is high time we promoted ourselves and our music so that we don’t get out competed by foreign musicians in our own backyard.’
‘It is time we started going outside and performing in concerts and selling our music regionally and internationally,’ he notes.
The Ben, being a man of his words, has already gone regional and has done a song with Uganda’s Cindy formerly of Blu 3 and vows his best is yet to come.
His song ‘Amahirwe y’anyuma is at the top of the charts at the moment and was voted the most requested for song on the radio stations last month.
VERSE 1: Noneho, nkubwirukuri kubyabaye
Sibwari bwambere subwakabiri, subwagatatu
Hoya, hoya, haa....
Hashize ighe kinini mbiguhisha
Iminsi ibaye myinshi igahimwa n’umwe
Gusa, urampfashe unteye kwiheba
Nkabura uko ngira
Nkabira ibuya munoki
Kubera wowe... kutakubona
Ibyo byose nibihano by’urukundooo....
CHORUS: Mpamahirwe yanyuma
Umpe amahirwe yanyuma
Umpe amahirwe yanyuma
VERSE 2: Uruwa gaciro mubuzima bwanjye
Kukubura bisa nko kwibura
Ndagusabye hee, unyumve umbabarire
Umpe amahirwe yanyuma
Nongere nkumve, nkubone, nkukoreho
Numve ijwi ryawe umpindurire
Igihano n’ukuri mfite intege nyeya
Nkabira ibyuya muntoki
Kutakubona, ibyo byose nibihano by’urukundo
BRIDGE: /hohoho, hohoho,hoohoo/ mpamahirwe yanyuma...