Interview: Bruce Africa is Tanzania's next valuable music export


Bruce Africa was only one hit old when he got the chance of working with Nigeria's music heavyweight Korede Bello, that fact alone is enough to prove that his sound is so penetrable beyond Tanzanian borders and it's just a matter of time until he becomes Tanzania's most valuable music export. 

Two things typically occur when a lot of Bongo Flava artists attempt to create Afrobeats records to make their music relevant to the western side of the continent.

It's either their songs will sound too manufactured and polished, making it difficult for audiences in both East Africa and West Africa to connect with the music, or they'll attempt to use cliché words in Nigerian Pidgin, such as Ago Die, making the entire record feel cringeworthy and awkward.

But for Bruce Africa, things have been different.

The Sumbawanga-born and Arusha-raised Gen Z singer has created his blend of Afrobeats and Bongo Flava that connects with fans organically and in a way that no other artist has managed to.

Bruce Africa Biography

His songs, such as You, Ex, and My Love, have showcased his uniqueness and ability to attract the attention of both Afrobeats fans and Bongo Flava enthusiasts.

READ ALSO: Interview: Msamiati's sweet rap recipe is taking Tanzanian Hip Hop to Africa

After dropping his latest single Lalala, Bruce Africa has sat down with Notjustok for an interview where we discussed his biography, musical influences, writing inspiration, and other aspects he believed his fans would find exciting.

NB: This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity:

What Inspired your professional name, Bruce Africa? 

Bruce is the name given to me by my parents, and Africa is a name given to me by my producer back when I was in Arusha. He used to refer to me as Bruce Afro due to my Afro hairstyle.

Initially, I went by the name Bruce Music, but then I discovered there was a Rwandan artist named Bruce Melody, so I was concerned it might confuse people. 

Thus, my name evolved from Bruce Afro to Bruce Africa because I thought, "What if one day I change my hairstyle?" I decided to stick with Bruce Africa because of my complexion and my predominantly African hairstyle. 

That's interesting. So for fans who aren't aware, can you please brief them on your real name and a little bit about your background

As I mentioned, Bruce Africa is indeed my real name. I was born in Sumbawanga, but we relocated to Arusha when I was nine years old. I remained in Arusha from the age of nine, where I pursued my O Level education, until I eventually moved to Dar Es Salaam.

READ ASO: Bruce Africa shakes the East African music industry with a new single ‘Never’

So let's talk about your musical interests and how you became a singer. Who inspired you to start singing? 

My journey has been a bit different because music has always been a big part of my life. I started singing in Sunday school, and my dad, who played guitar, inspired me even more. 

Bruce Africa Biography

Plus, I come from a family where singing runs in the blood—some of my aunts were even in the church choir.

I didn't really consider singing professionally until after I finished my O Level studies, but I've been into it since my days in the Sunday School choir and competing in singing contests at school.

So just for context, what artists inspired your sound and musical direction? 

To be honest, my sound has been shaped by a variety of icons because I grew up listening to a diverse range of music. I was particularly inspired by artists like Wizkid and Davido, whose music I paid close attention to.

I also drew influence from Kenyan group H_art The Band, as well as Sauti Sol, and Nigerian artist Korede Bello, among others. 

READ ALSO: Interview: Tanzania's Jaivah is repackaging Bongo Flava for global dominance

Now let's talk about your debut in the music industry. When did you release your first single as an artist? 

I released my first single, In Love, around July 2022, which was a result of my own efforts. This was before I joined CB Music. Following that, I released Falling In Love and then You.

A lot of people started to notice you through Bongo Star Search. Can you please share your experience of what was like participating in the singing competition? 

Bongo Star Search was the platform that primarily showcased my talent, and it was joining BSS that marked the beginning of my serious commitment to my music career.

I participated in the eleventh season of the show back in 2021. Since then, I've become a household name, and I believe many of my fans discovered me through BSS and have been with me ever since. 

So what do you think makes Bruce Africa different compared to other artists? 

I believe what sets me apart is the style I pursue, my melodies, and my appearance. I don't think there's any artist in the game who does what I do, and I think that's what makes it easy for people to distinguish me from others.

READ ALSO: The Talented Bruce Africa Unveils The Visuals For 'My Love'

“You remix” is one of your biggest projects. So how did you link up with Joshua Baraka and been able to make such an impressive record?

The Remix is a project I released to celebrate the first anniversary of You, which is essentially my debut song. Initially, I featured Masauti, but then I had the idea to make it a truly East African collaboration by also featuring Joshua Barakah.

Based on the performance of the remix, should we expect any international collaborations from you soon? 

I'm really excited about the prospect of international collaborations. I have big plans to achieve things that some might think are beyond reach for someone like me, considering the relatively short time I've been in the music industry. 

My goal is to export my sound to international audiences, so people can expect a lot of exciting collaborations coming their way.

Bruce Africa Interview

 Your songs such as "You" have been known to have an Afrobeats and West African melody. With Amapiano now taking over Tanzania, do you have any Amapiano songs in store for your fans?

As a musician, I'm really into mixing different genres, but my heart lies in blending Afrobeats, R&B, and Bongo Flava. 

I've also got an Amapiano track in the works, possibly for release alongside my upcoming EP later this year. I'm thrilled to share these different sounds with my fans!