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NEZA MASOZERA: I give to my fans the real me
Neza Patricia Masozera is a Rwandan Afropop singer based in Canada. Recently, she’s been making waves in the Nigerian entertainment scene. She’s known as girlfriend to Nigerian rapper and singer, Skales. In 2017, she bagged the All Africa Music Awards “Most Promising Artiste in Africa. In this interview with Yetunde Oladeinde, she opens up on early life, passion for music, inspiration, why she sings about heartbreaks and more.
HOW did you get into music? What are you working on at the moment?
Music has always been part of my life. I grew up in a home full of music lovers. My mother used to play music around the house when I was a little girl and my siblings are also huge music lovers, so that’s how I was first introduced to music.
Professionally, it started when I recorded a hook for a local rapper in Toronto and the song got massive airplay on one of Toronto’s major radio stations, that’s when I realised that I wanted to pursue it as a career.
Right now, I released a single titled “Killa” Prod by Pimp. The video is out now and it’s available on all good digital platforms. I also plan on releasing a body of work early 2020.
What gives you inspiration to do the things you do?
I get inspired by everyday life; what I go through and sometimes what people around me are experiencing. Wether it’s relationship or just life in general.
Most of the songs I sing about are about love, especially heartbreaks. My best songs came from pain I’ve felt in my past relationships.
Let’s talk about some memorable moments as a singer
Going on my first US tour in 2017 was definitely a highlight. Also performing in different cities around the world, like Haiti, Mayotte, Uganda, Ghana, just to name a few, is a dream come true. I’ve recorded music with some of my favourite artists which I can’t disclose any names at the moment. But as soon as they are released, I’ll be able to share the good news with my fans. Be on the look out!
How did you get into Nigeria?
I was offered a record deal early 2017 from a label that is based here in Lagos. I left my full-time position working for a government agency in Ottawa, Canada, called OSFI (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions) and relocated to Lagos to pursue my music career full time.
What are your memories growing up in Rwanda?
Unfortunately, I only lived in Rwanda for three years when I was a little girl. My family relocated to Kigali after the Rwandan genocide that happened in 1994. I attended different schools (primary and secondary), then moved to Canada in 1998.
What were some of the challenges encountered on the job?
Getting my music to reach a wider audience. Not having a big budget to help fund some of the projects. Being in a city that isn’t my home and not having my support system around can be hard sometimes.
Tell us about your career. When was the turning point for you?
It would have to be coming to Nigeria to pursue my music career. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I’m creative and sitting at my desk from 9-5 was the hardest thing for me. I felt like my life was passing me by and I was missing out on my true calling (making people feel good through my music). I wouldn’t change the life I live now for anything in the world. I feel fulfilled!
What lessons have you learnt on the job?
To trust my own instincts and stay true to myself. When I moved to Lagos, almost every decision with regard to my music was made for me. From the type of music I should make, down to my image and it did not work out well. So now that I’m independent I’m in charge of what I put out and so far, the feedback has been great. I get to give my fans the real me.
Let’s compare when you started and now; what has changed?
I would say what’s changed is the people behind me now. When I first started, I didn’t have much support. I pretty much did everything myself. I juggled a full time job and pushed my music career on the side. There was management or PR team, but now I have a wonderful team that’s dedicated to help build my brand and take it to the next level.
What are some of the changes that you would like to see in the entertainment sector?
More women being celebrated, there is room for so many more queens to shine. But it’s either no one wants to invest or not enough light is being shone on them.
What is your definition of style?
Style to me is another way I can express myself. As we all know, fashion and music go hand in hand. I enjoy creating looks for my stage performances, the red carpet and everyday life.
How would you assess Nigerian designers?
I strongly believe that Nigeria has some of the best designers in the world and they need to be more celebrated.
What are some of the items that you treasure most in your wardrobe?
My shoes! I have been collecting shoes for a few years now. Love me a cute pair of heels. I’m a short girl, so cute heels are a must-have for me!
How do you relax?
It’s a mix of Netflix, documentaries on YouTube and my favourite TV shows: Flat mates, Real housewives of Atlanta, Love and Hip Hop Hollywood and sometimes Keeping up with the Kardashians).
What are the other things that occupy your time?
I’ve recently joined a team of people who are building a primary school in Makoko (a community in Lagos that lives on top of water). They need funds to finish building the school and they are also in need of uniforms for the kids, books, pencils and other school supplies, so I’m helping to create awareness and raise as much funds as possible for the community.
Let’s talk about the people you admire and role models
My older sister is my role model. She brought me to Canada at a young age on her own and taught me that in life you must always progress and I try my best not to let her down.
I also admire Beyoncé’s work ethic. She is what a lot of us strive to be like and she’s such a great humanitarian.
If you had to advise young people, what would you tell them?
Have faith in yourself and trust yourself. Do something you love. If you are doing something you are passionate about, you are just naturally going to succeed, and a lot of other things will happen that you don’t need to worry.
NEZA MASOZERA: I give to my fans the real me