By Ange Theonastine Ashimwe

We make music for a few reasons; in life, we experience so much fragmentation of thoughts and feelings. For Rita Ange Kagaju, creating music brings things back together.

She is among a couple of new promising musicians – a great guitarist with a flawless voice in the local music industry. She refused to be signed by IDA Record Label in 2016 because she needed to first graduate from high school, and IDA finally signed her in 2018. 

How it all started?

She loved guitar from a young age. So, she started watching YouTube tutorials on how to play it and eventually knew the basics. Then, she started playing, recording herself, and posting videos on YouTube in 2014; mainly cover songs by other artists.

When “I Am the Future” talent competition started happening, she participated in it and emerged as the second. That is when the manager of IDA Record Label first heard her, he was amazed by her talent and said he wanted to sign her.

She recorded a tryout song called “A Song to Him”, and it became a hit, with massive positive feedback. Later on, she started recording professionally. Her first song was “Jamaa”, followed by “No offense”.

Ever since then, she has been making people talk in tongues.

How she sees East African Music

Kagaju explains how East African music is quickly growing and how there is so much hope, love, fun, and creativity in it. And she mentions how we still need to work with our culture.

Kagaju says of her career trajectory: “We have to inform the world about who we are through our songs. We, as artists, can still achieve money, fame, and fun without completely losing our identity.”

She wishes that East African artists can blend the cultural and local vibe with the modern style in a way that satisfies all generations while keeping the uniqueness of East Africa alive.

Ntibikonjyere, Rita Ange Kagaju song, cover photo | Courtesy

Music discovered her

She discovered her singing talent by playing guitar. She never knew she can sing, or at least not the way she does sing. As Kagaju sayss, “I began rhyming melodies with the codes and that is when I realized that I could actually sing.” No wonder she took the judges and audience by storm the first time she set her foot on the stage during auditions for the ‘I Am the Future’ music competition, a local talent search project.

An amazing vocalist, with remarkable guitar skills, the 19 year old Rita Ange Kagaju is a young woman whose talent is to look for years to come.

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