Tom Close and B-en are without doubt one of the most prominent musicians in Rwanda’s music industry. During the last SALAX Awards organized by radio Salus, Tom Close clinched the top prize when he was voted best musician 2008.
However, B-en beat him in the best RnB category. These two guys are not only blood brothers, but also music brothers. Tom Close was the first to join the music industry back in 2007, while B-en was still in secondary school.
After completing his education, B-en joined his brother and in fact sang in most of Tom Close’s many songs while he slowly found his ground in Rwandan music. Together they have been a promising music duo, often likened to American hip hop stars, Kci and Jojo.
In an exclusive interview with The New Times some time ago, Tom Close was happy to reveal that they were going to release a joint album some time in June. This would officially mark the beginning of their collaboration.
Unfortunately sources recently reveled to The New Times that there was an impending ‘rift’ between these two youngsters. Of course the best source of the true story would be either of them.
B-en’s phone has constantly been off, but we managed to reach Tom Close and asked him about the ‘rift’ and what life would be without B-en. Here are the excerpts.
What is the problem between you and B-en?
(Laughs) There is no problem, at least as far as I’m concerned. B-en just got himself a new manager. We’ve been having the same manager (Alex Muyoboke) since we started our music careers.
I don’t know if the problem you are talking about is us having different managers. You were supposed to be a duo in June, should we forget it?
For the record, there are no personal differences between me and B-en. We shall keep talking and even do music together if our managers agree upon it. The duo arrangement is not possible now that we have different managers but we shall definitely do some songs together.
Have you talked to him?
I failed to reach him, but I called his new manager (Olivier) who is also my friend and he sounded positive about everything we talked about. Let me also take this opportunity to congratulate B-en for getting a manager of that caliber.
What has he been to your music?
The time we’ve been together, we’ve learnt a lot from each other. He has appeared in most of my songs and I hope we continue working together despite having different managers.
What are your plans now that he has left?
I had plans of launching a new album in the first half of this year. Everything will go as planned. Hopefully it will be in Butare and Kigali on the 3rd and 4th of July respectively.
We plan to bring East Africa’s heavy weights like Juliana Kanyomozi, Chameleone, Blu 3, Professor Jay and Mr. Blue and a mammoth of Rwandese musicians not forgetting our crew, ‘ishuti z’ikirere’
What else is new?
Very soon, my website (www.tomclose.com) will be available. It will have everything about me, my music and the Rwandan music industry. I’m also set to sign a contract with a video-clip production firm called Iron Pictures.
They’ll make videos for all my songs in my upcoming album.