2 November 2017

Rwanda: Meet Uwizerwa, Nyundo's Blossoming Songbird

Tabitha Uwizerwa is a final year music student at the Nyundo School of Music and Art in the Western Province. She joined the school in 2015, and explains that before that, she was "just singing from home."

In December this year, she will be graduating with a diploma in music. However, the budding singer has not had to wait to complete music school before hitting the musical turf.

Not only is she a member of the Symphony band, which comprises her classmates in music school, Uwizerwa has also had her fair share of live music gigs, courtesy of her powerful vocals.

Her first major break came at the KigaliUp Music Festival last year, when she sung backup vocals for American musicians Skyler Jett, formerly of the American funk/soul band, Commodores, and Joey Blake.

It was a dream come true and an eye opener for the 18-year-old.

"It was so challenging and sweet at the same time. I had to learn so many songs in a short period, but I think it was good for people listening to it. On my side the experience I had was that I should work harder than I already do," she explains.

This dream was only possible because she is a student at the Nyundo Music School, for which she is all praises.

Her next major gig came in August last year, when she performed as a backup vocalist for U.S-based Rwandan musician, The Ben at the RDB gala dinner at the Kigali Convention Center.

In September this year, she was at it again, backing up female duo of Charly and Nina, and Nigerian singer Seyi Shay at the Kigali Jazz Junction.

It is the skills acquired from these big stage appearances that have helped her settle in with her school band, Symphony, in which she is a vocalist.

The six member band also has a drummer, lead guitarist, base guitarist, acoustic guitarist, and a pianist. Though a school band, members occasionally meet outside school for gigs and for practice.

Though with a band, Uwizerwa also harbours ambitions of becoming a solo artist.

She is in studio at Future Records where she is recording two songs Inside I'm dying and Twarabamenye.

"For now I'm doing pop, but I also love jazz. In future I hope to explore more genres like jazz and blues. My vision is to be a successful solo artist and I really want to represent my country.

For Symphony band of course we want to be successful and after school we will start playing at gigs doing covers of other people's songs but also our own."

Musically, she draws inspiration from Alicia Keys and Aretha Franklin, while locally she looks up to Ben Ngabo Kipeti.

"His music is so unique -it mixes jazz and Gakondo and it's so sweet," she says of Kipeti's music.

About her own musical style she says;

"My pop music is different from others because I try to mix it with Gakondo style so that I can always represent my country because I think that can make me go far."

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