Tusker Project Fame 3 winner Alpha Rwirangira seems unfazed by his new found celebrity and riches. Alpha, whose name means first, walked away with a Ksh 5 million cash prize, a Ksh10 million medical cover and a one year recording contract with south africa’s Gallo Records. In this exclusive interview, he talks about relationships, life as a millionaire and the future.
How does it feel to be a five-millionaire at 23?
A lot of people have asked me that question (smiles). I do not change periodically or because of seasons. That is something that came and I thank God it happened to me. I am planning for the money now. I will store the money somewhere then sit down and relax, breath in and out then decide what I am going to do.
Did you ever dream you would be a millionaire at 23?
No. I never thought I would get this money. I do not like to be spoon-fed. I thought I would work hard and make something of myself. But, what we think is not what God thinks. This was the right time for me to get this money. I am still working hard. This is not the end of getting money. It is just the beginning. I thank God.
You come across as a very spiritual man. Are you born again?
Yes, but I do not like to call it born again. I am just a Christian. I am in touch with God and sometimes people take it in another way. There are a lot of articles that were written judging me for being on Tusker Project Fame; that I am a Christian and I was advertising Tusker. You have to give people freedom to talk. Who said a Christian should be poor? Should Christians then not work at EABL?
Are you still the same, or have you changed?
I am not changed by seasons. I remain the same. However, I have to accept there are some things that change in life, but I am never changed by seasons. The situations have changed. The period has changed but not me. Alpha remains the same.
What has TPF done for you?
TPF has done great things in my life. Now I can say something and I will be heard. It has opened many doors for me. I have gotten to know more about Kenyans, gotten to mingle with fans from Uganda, Tanzania…
What did your parents have to say when you auditioned for TPF3?
Parents should let their children follow their dreams. Right now, I am a so called millionaire. When I was going for TPF 3 my father did not trust anything would come of it. He said “Nenda lakini (Go but), let’s wait and see.”
Who is Alpha?
Alpha is this one you see in front of you (laughs). Alpha is … (hesitates). I love people; I am sometimes talkative, sometimes quiet. I am sensitive to other people’s feelings. I respect other people’s opinions, because people should have the freedom to say what they want. I love children. They are my inspiration, they are angels and they are my everything. When I see children, I feel touched, I am drawn to them.
Do you plan to have children?
Yes. I will have the number of children I can take care of. If I am rich not more than four. If I am a middle man, not more than three.
Are you in a relationship right now?
No (smiles). But, I am looking forward. I do not want to get into a relationship and then we break up, because I never thought about it or planned it. I believe in order for the relationship to work, there should be true love. Not love because I am a superstar or love because she is very beautiful. Unconditional love, with all my heart.
What is your ideal woman?
You know, on earth there is no perfect woman. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
Have you been back home?
I went to Rwanda the next day after winning Tusker Project Fame.
How did the people there react considering this was the first time someone from Rwanda had participated and won?
They were very happy and excited. People were cheering. It was so good. I was also very excited.
Did you always want to be a musician?
Actually, I studied maths and physics. But, I am looking forward to going back to school to study business and music. I used to sing with my family and had done some back up singing, but nothing serious.
Judge Ian told you that African music was your genre.
Yes. I agree. But, I am not limited. I do reggae, afro-fusion. I am ready to explore other genres.
What have you been up to since TPF3? Are you recording?
I am writing songs right now. I will be going to Gallo Records South Africa very soon. I do not have the specific date yet.
Who are some of the artists you would like to work with?
All of them. As long as they are hardworking. All artists inspire me.
That sounds like a PR answer.
(Laughing) For anyone to be called a star or singer, nikwamba amefanya kazi amefikia hapo (it is because he has worked to get to where he is). So, I cannot single out any one artist. I would like to work with all of them.
Who are some of the people who have inspired you?
My father. He is hardworking, humble and upfront.
Have your parents been supportive of your desire to pursue music as a career?
Parents think like parents and they do things out of love. But, at the end of the day it is up to you to make the decision.
Past winners of Tusker Project Fame are Kenya’s Valerie Kimani in 2007 and Uganda’s Esther Nabaasa in 2008.