When Charlotte Rulinda a.k.a Charly and Fatuma Muhoza a.k.a Nina met in 2010 at Hotel Milles Collines, no one knew, not even them that they would achieve what they have achieved today.
The two first met during Kitoko’s concert where they were performing as backup singers for the performing artists, they exchanged contacts that night and could always catch up for gigs.
As time went by, they grew from being just friends on stage and started meeting for coffee, lunch and got to know one another better.
“We had so much in common regarding music career,” Nina said adding that as the bond between them grew; they developed the idea of starting a music duet.
The singers confess that it was difficult to realize this dream. When they started singing together Charly was still in school and Nina was working, their schedules could not easily meet.
In 2011 when Primus Guma Guma Super Star started, they wanted backup singers and Nina would not think of any other person but Charly.
“I remember when they called me for that gig, I turned it down and suggested them Charly for I knew she would fit in,” Nina recalled.
Charly backed up the PGGSS artists but later she convinced Nina who later joined her on the third edition of the show in 2013.
Speaking to KT Press, Charly and Nina shared the journey of their music career which is not an easy one but again a journey full of milestones.
“After we had backed several artists mostly the top artist in the country, we thought we could be able to become artists on our own and even do better than them,” Charly said.
“We did not want to become artists like them, we wanted to do better and be on top of the game,” Nina adds.
In 2014, the two decided to stop backing up artists and took the high road to the journey of their dream career.
Unlike many artists, these two ladies confirm that they had no challenge of money when they started their music journey.
“We paid Rwf60, 000 for our first audio and paid $1000 for our first video,” they said adding they had been saving for it since they began harboring the project in their minds.
Music is not a straight journey
Apparently Charly and Nina have been in the music industry for the last 5 years.
One of the rough moments they faced was taking their music to radios and getting trashed.
“We would spend like a whole day running up and down trying to promote our music but the reward was trash bin,” Nina said as Charly recalled countless times they were asked by different people in the music industry to have sex with them so that they would breakthrough.
After that bad experience, Charly and Nina sought help from Alex Muyoboke who became their manager since then to date.
In that entire struggle, the duo had released six songs but none of them had aired, they felt discouraged but kept pushing.
In 2015, Charly and Nina released ‘Indoro’ which became a bridge to their success.
“Our song Indoro can be called our first born. It branded us and opened so many doors that were closed for long,” Nina said.
Charly jumped in and said that one of their thrilling moments so far is when they sang Indoro at Remera Stadium during CHAN 2016.
“The whole stadium sang with us and I personally had a flood of emotions that very moment,” she said adding that it was all God’s timing.
After ‘Indoro’, they accumulated more strength and belief that the future could be brighter.
Many more songs like Face to Face, Mfata, Agatege, Owooma were released, and none of them went without being a hit.
Charly and Nina on a way to Success
From 2015, the songbirds have gained local and regional fame through their different songs. The secret has always been breaking the boundaries.
Singing in several languages like Luganda, English, Kinyarwanda have given them room for various collabos which has been an advantage to them.
“This has been one way we use to take our music far. We have also done a collabo with a famous Nigerian artist, the song will be released early December,” Nina said.
“We do not want to do music for only Rwandans, we want to attract a global fun base,” she added.
Today, Charly and Nina are some of the leading female artists in Rwanda.
They do not only perform in concerts but have also engaged in performing in weddings and dinners.
On a monthly basis, the duo can perform in more than 5 concerts or even exceed 10 depending on the season.
After going through a lot, they are releasing their first album titled ‘Imbaraga’.
“It is our greatest achievement and we decided to dedicate this album to all women out there, encouraging them and telling they are strong people,” Nina said.
“We went through a lot but we came out strong. We are spreading that message and showing young girls that giving up should never be an option,” they say.
Their first album ‘Imbaraga’ will be released in December; it is composed of 10 songs with videos.
Inside Charly and Nina home
Besides music business, Charly and Nina have a normal life just like any other person.
Their week days are always busy with meetings, rehearsals and shopping but on a free day they spend all day home resting.
When KT Press visited them at their home in Kicukiro, we found them sleeping .
Although they spend more time at Charly’s place in Kicukiro, the two do not stay together although they do sleep overs frequently.
“We stay together depending on the schedules. It makes our work much easier when we are in one place. Nina lives in Gikondo,” Charly explained.
For example when they have a TV interview, or make up appointment finding them in one place becomes easier than travelling to Gikondo then Kicukiro.
While home, they spend most of their time sleeping although they can’t sleep more than 5 hours a day.
“Our bodies have got used to sleeping fewer hours, even when we have time we don’t sleep much. Instead we take time to talk to our fans,” Charly said.
Talking about their personal life, the two say they are single and have no plans of marriage anytime soon.
“We want to first make money. That’s what is important. Marriage will come later,” Nina said as she sipped on a cup of tea.
One of the things they miss includes riding on motor bikes, eating Nyamirambo food and going to local markets to buy clothes.
“When you become famous, there is a type of life you cannot live anymore,” Charly said with a sad voice emphasizing how much she misses Nyamirambo food especially Ugali.
And their funny childhood memories have been their love for music.
According to Nina, she grew up enjoying music as a young girl and at an age of 10 she had a small radio that she would carry around listening to music.
The two are inspired by Maria Yohana and cecile Kayirebwa all local artists.