Rwanda: Singer Kushe On Kigali Trip, Pan African Collaborations and New Music

22 February 2023

Yvonne Kushe is a Canadian based singer and songwriter, who has been doing music for the better end of 10 years and just made a trip to Rwanda, after booking a gig.

Kushe is Rwandan-Ugandan, and shortly visited Rwanda for the first time in December, and very recently this month, after booking a gig to perform on Valentine's Day at Lavana Restaurant.

One of Kushe's biggest hits "Don't Tell" also debuted a music video on Valentine's Day, needless to say, that was a big day for her.

Lessons she's learnt from music

Having started her musical journey in Uganda, Kushe attests to how overly saturated the music scene there is and how hard it could be for people with her kind of music to break through. Kushe's need to prioritize authenticity with her music comes from having been stifled to fit a certain narrative, and she now only wants to make music that she's inspired to create.

She shared that becoming mainstream is not a goal she is actively pursuing because rather than that, she wants to connect with her audiences and people that understand the music and let the clout be an afterthought.

Rwandan experience

Kushe has enjoyed her time in Rwanda and her visit can best be described as one of splendor. One of the biggest takeaways from her visit is the peaceful and stress-free way Rwandan residents carry themselves, and the "good" weather is a bonus.

"There's something so relaxed about people here, they don't look stressed out. It's a beautiful thing, I aspire to live like that" she says.

Recalling the process of putting a performance together and networking with Rwandan based artists, Kushe has developed an appreciation for how momentary and organised the creative aspect of the music industry runs in Rwanda, and would like to get more acquainted with it. She's most interested in working with visual artists, rappers, poets and live bands.

Additionally, one of the creative's that has captured her attention is Bill Ruzima, because the "out of the box" way he approaches his art is eclectic and that speaks to the notion that artistry is allowed to lead its own path in Rwanda

One of the things that stands out most about the industry in Rwanda is that "people get to sit at their own tables and still get support rather than fight to get a seat at the table" she observes.

Kushe has listened and enjoyed music made by Rwandans and would love to collaborate with a few for different reasons. Bill Ruzima appeals to her for his elaborate out of the box approach to music, Mike Kayihura for the incredible storytelling he embeds into his music and Andy Bumuntu for the charisma his voice carries.

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