I haven’t done any special vocal training...
Social Mula is loved by many thanks to his singing and lyrics that touch our hearts. His real name is Lambert Mugwaneza, which is where his stage name comes from: Mula is a combination of the two first letters of his first and last names. The “Social” part comes from his friendly attitude. Speaking to Ni Nyampinga, the 25-year-old shared how he discovered his talent, and how he continues to hone his skills every day.
NN: Social Mula, paint a picture of your musical journey for us.
SOCIAL MULA: When I was a kid, I really loved playing music and dancing. In primary school, I started writing songs. I was around 13 at that time, and my friends helped me discover my talent. When they saw me composing songs, they read and loved them. They were a real source of encouragement for me. My mother also loves to sing traditional songs.
NN: Wow! And when did you start doing music professionally?
SOCIAL MULA: I was in Senior 5. There was another student at my school who also happened to be a music producer. I used some of my pocket money to go and see him. I had a notebook full of my songs, and I chose one called Ijoro ryiza (Good Night). This is the song that got me to where I am today.
NN: Is there anything you’ve done to develop your talent?
SOCIAL MULA: I haven’t done any special vocal training, but practising with other musicians has really helped me.
NN: How important has it been to keep developing your skills?
SOCIAL MULA: Developing my skills has been really rewarding, and I’ve learnt something new every day. Today, I’m seeing the result of my efforts because I get paid every time I perform.
NN: Who is your favourite female artist in Rwanda?
SOCIAL MULA: My favourite artists are Charly and Nina because they’re such good vocalists. There’s also Knowless who is one of the top music performers in the country. But being an artist isn’t just about singing, it also requires you to be focused. It couldn’t have been easy for Knowless to be on top for so long. She must have had a solid foundation.
NN: There are only a few female singers in the country. Why do you think that is?
SOCIAL MULA: I also ask myself that question, and it’s not only in Rwanda. But it shouldn’t be that way, everyone has a talent. Girls should share their talents with the world. They should believe in what they can do, explore new things, and ask for advice. People in the industry should also be supportive of upcoming female artists.
NN: Tell me, are there any challenges you met along the way?
SOCIAL MULA: When you are a novice, you come across people who don’t want you to succeed. I also felt down when the songs I’d taken to the radio station didn’t become hits. There will always be obstacles, and you just need to find a way to overcome them.
NN: Are there people who supported you along the way?
SOCIAL MULA: So many! Music producers, journalists, fans, and, particularly, my parents who believed that my talent would take me far without distracting me at school. My mum told me to work hard and reminded me that music shouldn’t get in the way of my other responsibilities. To this day, she is my biggest fan and is always telling me to compose more inspiring songs. This kind of support is really motivating.
NN: What message do you have for young girls and boys who want to develop their talents?
SOCIAL MULA: Getting a good education is so important when you are young. That’s when you develop the skills you need to make the most of your talent. We now have schools for music and anyone who is interested can go there to study performing arts. There are also music groups, choirs and other ways young people can meet. If you’ve already started but haven’t yet seen results, hang in there – it takes time, passion and hard work.