Spotlight on Aime.M
Happy Sunday dear reader, today's CMB spotlight is on a talented Burundian singer and songwriter based in the United States. He shared his story and his own secret to success in the music industry.
Please introduce yourself.
Hello readers; for those who may not know me, my name is Aimé Mugabonihela although I'm well known by my stage name "Aimé. M." I'm a musician from Burundi, but in between Burundi and Chicago where I currently reside, I've been an immigrant to few refugee camps in several countries.
Tell us how your music career started and what inspired you?
I believe that I was born with music. I am 7th child in a family of 8 children. My father was a pastor and involved my older siblings in the church choir with most rehearsals taking place at our house. My life story is very long but after immigrating to the USA, my siblings continued and formed the Gospel Sound System choir and recorded an album and one video which had remained unreleased to date. Since I was the youngest one I pretty much had no say in the choir. With untrained vocals most of the time I was left behind when it came to studio times. In 2006 that when I left high school on to college and at that time Akon was a main stream artist and for some reason everyone though we looked alike. Strangers would ask me to sing for them to be sure I wasn't the man himself. Once in college I met Ade-Ade who was at the time a junior student, but being that he was an African brother like myself we connected even though I was a freshman. In his freshman year he was also into music although he didn't pursue it more like me because his Nigerian parents were very strict. We later teamed up on a song a called "Chill with you" which ended up becoming the campus anthem, you would hear it play at least once a day. It was on the campus radio and TV station and was even played more on YouTube. That is how "Aimé. M." Was born as an artist.
What were the challenges you encountered?
Anyone in music will tell you that music is the most expensive drug out there or hobby. As an independent artist it's very difficult to get anywhere without a major support. Let alone being a student on top of that. Also every DJ who wants to play your record and wanting to get paid for it, those where the most difficult challenges I faced. Then I started to educate myself on networking and understanding the importance of having a pool of people that can support you for being you.
What has been your greatest accomplishment as an artist and African performer in the US?
Being able to touch people with my music. I have done festivals, clubs, parties but what really moved me the most so far is when my friends and I went on a road trip to Tennessee to visit our friends. They took us to several houses in the Burundian community there. Once we got to the third house I believe I was the third to enter. When I got to the door there were two of her little siblings seating on the couch, when she saw me, she screamed "Aimeeee" then ran to her room crying everybody was shocked. Then her sister went to check on her and she replied to her "that's Aime oh my God''. On hearing that , I went to check on her and we talked and she was okay after that. That moved me. Her sister had heard my music but wasn't into it as much. Therefore, I started watching what I say in my music for the fact being she was 8 years old and there could have been many like her.
Making a song is not easy project. How do you deal with the complexity of music creation?
Good question, its indeed hard to craft a song let alone a great one. I have different talented producers a work with, once I get a melody in my head I know who can perfect it better since I know what genre each producer is best at. Sometimes a song can take me 2 or 3 days to develop in my head. Just like the feeling you get when you are full but the food it's still good, I hate being in the studio and forcing myself to come up with something.
How do you encourage aspiring artists?
Great question, just like them I was once there. You have to crawl before you walk. But these days it's up to the artist to come up with a brand, create that brand and market that brand. As I tell all the artists who seek help from me, making a great song is 30 percent of your work, now you have to put that record into the right hands and make sure the world gets a chance to hear it. That's when networking becomes a great tool. So as long as you believe in yourself you can do everything yourself, I'm a proof of that practice.
Please can you share your latest projects?
Yes, Nduwawe is great love song written in Kirundi, my native language and was produced by Master Musik. Nduwawe means "I'm yours" and it talks about how after breaking up or separated from someone physically or just emotionally and how you can allow it affect you.
At the moment I'm also working on my 3rd album titled "From Africa With Love" I feel like when we Africans get to this country or any other countries outside of Africa we adopt weird behaviours. I come from a place where any elder is a parent figure to any young individual. That's just one of many examples, but here even African parents at times they don't related to one another they can walk pass you on a street and not greet you etc..
What is your favourite place to visit?
It's a toss between South Africa and Nigeria, I haven't been to either of them but pretty soon I shall make my way back to the motherland.
Do you have a personal or favourite quote?
"Anything is possible and everything happens for a reason" I would say I live my life 85% to that. I pushed me to think and question myself when things are not going well. And try to see good in every bad situation. That way my mind stay focused.
Please watch Aime.M's latest music video (Ndi Uwawe) on YouTube