Rwanda’s Mico working on debut album

Rwanda’s Afro-pop musician Mico Myiza is working on a ten-track debut album.

Mico Myiza during a video shoot. Photo courtesy of Mico Myiza
Mico Myiza during a video shoot. Photo courtesy of Mico Myiza

The artist, who fuses traditional Rwandan music styles to create a unique Afro-pop sound, has already recorded six songs. His album will also feature some of the popular singles he has released in the past year.

One of   these singles is ‘Mwita Mama’, which he wrote to commemorate Mother’s Day celebrations. The song praises mothers for their love and care.

“I already had an idea of recording a song for mothers but I hadn’t planned when I would do that,” said Mico in an interview with Music In Africa.

 “This changed when a friend of mine invited me to his mother’s birthday celebration that was also on Mothers’ Day,” he added.

While rehearsing Boyz II Men’s ‘A Song for Mama’ for the function he got new ideas and decided to surprise his friend with his own composition and later recorded the song.

Mico says his aim is to create music that educates people. A talented performer, he has always been passionate about music, starting out at the age of nine in a traditional dance troupe. As his musical tastes evolved he fell in love with pop music which was becoming popular in Rwanda. He then co-founded a dancing troupe called G.N Family with his brother. They worked together until 2008 when he took a break to focus on his studies. In the same year he won a songwriting competition organised by the Heza Project and the Kimisagara Youth Centre.

In 2015 Mico ended his hiatus, releasing two singles ‘Uwimicomyiza’ followed by ‘Igikobwa which earned him a mark on the country’s music scene. This saw him landing a “Video of the Month” nomination at the September 2015 TV10’s Iwacu Night video awards.

Mico has also won many fans’ hearts with a love song titled ‘Igikobwa’.

“The song is a result of a debate I had with my colleagues about different special titles we give to our lovers,” he said. “I was insisting on the fact that the word is more expressive than other words we use such as baby, cherie, chouchou or sweetie.”

In July this year, Mico showcased at the sixth KigaliUp Festival in Rwanda where he performed alongside Cameroonian singer Kareyce Fotso and  American acts Skyler Jett and Quantum Split. He says the event further motivated him to improve his craft as a live performer.

KigaliUP Festival was the first big event I have performed at since my return in 2015. This was an opportunity to showcase my music to a big audience and show them that I can do better,” he said.

About the Rwandan music industry

Commenting on the country’s music industry, Mico said that he believes there are signs of progress, particularly in the quality of production, music education, infrastructure development, policies and business orientation. He however, noted that such developments are only found in Kigali.

“Extending music as a profession outside the capital appears to be a huge challenge. Nearly 99 percent of music activities in Rwanda are held in Kigali. Thus everybody who wants to venture into music has to move to Kigali to access better facilities and opportunities,” he added.

Despite the challenges, Mico is keen to break into new territories through collaborating with artists from other African countries such as South Africa’s Zahara and Kenya’s Sauti Sol.

Besides music, Mico is an Editorial Manager at Bakame Editions, a non-profit publishing house that strives to promote the publishing of children’s books in Rwanda. In future he plans to invest in art for social and economic transformation.

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