Rwandan artist Bruce Melodie was chosen to represent Rwanda in the Nairobi based Coke Studio Africa 2017 to sing alongside several other African artists. It is the first time that Rwanda is participating. Coke Studio Africa 2017 is expected to air in East and West Africa in September.
The 'Ntundize' singer had a chat with Sunday Magazine's Sharon Kantengwa on his experience in the music collaborative show.
How did you feel being chosen to represent Rwanda for Coke Studio Africa?
For a long time I had tried to join Coke Studio Africa through Coca Cola Rwanda in vain. The invitation surprised me because I had anticipated it for 2019, but it came this year. I have been garnering for this opportunity since 2014 but then I came to realize that for one to be invited for Coke Studio you had to be so hardworking and popular amongst the youth, which I actually was doing.
The Coke Studio Africa organizers did their research amongst Rwandan youth, asking them their favorite and most popular artist and it happened to be me, which is why I was selected. I didn't know about all this until I joined.
Can you say that you made your country proud?
Yes, I think I made Rwanda proud. You know when you're in coke studio, you are paired with another artist to work with. Rwandans think that it is a competition like Primus Guma Guma. For my case, I was paired with Kenyan rapper Khaligraph Jones who I collaborated with very well.
For the week that I was there, I recorded a song and shot a video at the same time, and was interviewed for about 40 times a day. It was hard work but I managed to cope because I realized that the artists there work tirelessly and swiftly compared to Rwandan artists who take their time. Being the first Rwandan to join Coke Studio is a big opportunity and I made sure my performance was worth it. I am sure Rwandans will like my song when it is out.
Tell us about your collabo with Kenyan rapper Khaligraph Jones
Jones is a superstar in his home country and Kenyans love him so much. He is a rapper while I on the other hand, an RnB artist. He sung my song 'Complete Me' while I sang his 'Yego'. Rapping wasn't easy for me but I did my best.
Which of your songs is based on your life experience?
The song 'Ndarangjije'. It wasn't so popular but that's okay because I had sung it for myself. When one listens to it they might think it's about the city and the village life but that's not, there is a way we artistes format stuff. I won't mention the story behind it but it's a song that I treasure.
What projects are currently in the pipeline?
I am soon releasing my third album, although I haven't fixed the exact date. I also have a gospel album I want to release, and I have a tour in Canada this September, I hope to have a number of shows in Canada. Back home, I have so many concerts and songs that I am recording, that will follow 'Ikinya'. You know this song became popular in a short period of time, and widened my fan base.
How can you say you are shaping your music career?
I recently went to Nigeria to visit their media houses, to see for myself what is really required for your songs to be played on international TV channels. I also want to go to Maputo Mozambique to see how my music can be popular in those areas.
I have also done so many collabos with Congolese, Ugandan and Burundian artists so that my music spreads across borders. When my songs are released, you will know why I focused on musicians from other countries. My music is famous in Kenya, Burundi, Congo, and still picking up pace in Uganda. I am determined to see my music famous in these other countries.