November saw several awards given to 2009’s most active local artists. The Sunday Times’ EMMA PRINCE linked up with Aimable Kubana, the organizer of the event that turned out largely controversial. Excerpts below:
Qn: How did you come up with the whole idea of awarding artists?
Kubana: I wanted to support Rwandan talent in anyway possible to me and came up with the idea of giving awards to achievers. I also had to find a way of making this happen financially, maybe with the help of sponsors.
Qn: I may say that the awards turned out as controversial, what can you say about that?
Kubana: I understand some local music fans were not contented with the event. But honestly we considered SMS’s sent to us and professionals on the jury. I believe everything was fair.
Qn: Did you select the categories of artists to award yourself, or it was also by SMS?
Kubana: I was helped by the people I believed knew music and award preparation, in particular. We hardly needed the public on that.
Qn: How did you come up with categories like ‘the artist who helped youths to love music’, which are generally rare in music?
Kubana: Remember, we took music to be for oldies in the past. But when KGB (the group that won the award) came into the industry, many youths were inspired to sing.
Qn: Artist of the year award was shared between Meddy and The Ben. How did that happen?
Kubana: Well, most of The Ben’s songs have been on the top throughout the year, but Meddy had more SMS votes. So we decided to let them share the award to avoid bias or even chaos at the venue.
Qn: So, don’t you think you would have nominated Meddy as ‘best new artist’ in the first case? Or given him the award since the public voted him in?
Kubana: (laughs) Somehow, we intend to make some modifications in next year’s awards. We shall also hold a press conference on December 18, this year, to confirm to the public on who really is the best artist of the year.
Qn: Naming Clement, ‘the best producer’ also became a centre of debate. Has he really beaten the rest in 2009?
Kubana: He produced many songs for the likes of Miss Shanel, Faisal and many others. We also use most of these songs on the focus ‘Ijoro Ry’urukundo’ a programe on ‘City Radio’. He deserved the award though I believe other producers like Lick Lick are also good.
Qn: How good was the organization of the whole event, according to you?
Kubana: At some point, it was lacking. Sponsors like ‘Zebra Tours’ promised to see me through the whole organization but let me down at the last minute. I had trouble trying to settle finances and overseeing the whole thing at the same time.
Qn: And, do you have one last word you would like to send to the fans?
Kubana: I thank them for the support they gave via voting and coming for the show. I also apologize for anything that did not go on well in their eyes. And, I would like to promise them that next year’s awards will be fitting.