Nice Ndatabaye is no new name for those in love with Worship music. Though he has only come to people’s attention in the last two or three years, the worshipper has a long and encouraging story about ministry, life and worship.
The Gospel Time Rwanda sat down with him for an exclusive interview where he responded to a number of questions. Take a read here.
Question: Tell us about your life background?
Answer: I was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a place called Rurambo. It is a place located in high mountains. I am the eight born among 10 siblings – 4 girls and 6 boys. We are supposed to be 12, but two of my siblings passed away.
I grew up in a Christian family. My father is a pastor, and also has served as a church elder. My mum is a very talented singer. I grew up in the same spirit of music. When we were still children, mum used to organize us and we sang together.
I lived with my family, but left them at early age when I was less than 10-years-old.
That was when I came to Rwanda from where I had my primary and secondary studies, and then went to Kenya. Later, I was approved to go to Canada and its where I have been living for six years.
I am married. My wife’s name is Hadassah Ndatabaye, and we have one kid-a two year old girl. Her name is Neriah Ndatabaye.
Question: When did you start the music career and how many songs have you composed so far?
Answer: I started singing from Sunday school. I was in a choir and a worship team. I started recording my own songs in April 2017. That was the time when I hosted my first concert in Canada during a show featuring Israel Mbonyi and Gentil Misigaro. It was my biggest show; I still recall today.
I have many songs. Some are out, others not yet.
Question: Which gospel artiste inspires you and why?
Answer: Gospel artistes that inspire me – it’s all of them to be honest, as long as they sing the true gospel. I am the person who gets inspired by the message of the song than its melody or sound. If the message is based on the Word of God, then I am inspired for sure.
Question: What is the most embarrassing moment of your life?
Answer: It was a time when I was in high school. Everyone knows a person called animateur (hostel warden for boys). I recall a time he embarrassed me in front of other students.
It was lunch time, and I was sitting with ladies on the table. I was a teenager. Normally, teenagers want everyone to respect them. During that time, I was eating my food using hands, and it was prohibited. I had not carried my spoon with me and I decided to use hands. Sadly, Animateur caught me. He rebuked me publicly. As I started defending myself, he immediately slapped me in front of the ladies. It was an embarrassing time for me. He asked me to go out and everybody in lunchroom started shouting… “Nice…Nice… Nice. No …no… no…. you could do something as well; he can’t slap you like that…” I was very embarrassed.
Question: As a worshipper, what is worship?
Answer: Worship is more than a song. It is a relationship with Christ. It is a daily life with Christ.
Question: What are the qualities of a good worshipper?
Answer: A good worshipper has to live a reflective life. What we sing should match with the life we live out there. So, I love a verse in Matthew says that “in the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.” It does not say when they hear your songs. It says when they see how we live. And even in the book of Acts the disciples were called Christians when the people in Antioch saw the way they lived and did things. People saw Jesus’ characteristics in them.
Question: What are some of your memorable performances?
Answer: The first one was in Canada when I invited Israel Mbonyi and Gentil Misigaro. That was my first experience and it was very good. Another experience was in Kenya and Rwanda when I hosted concerts last year.
Question: What role does a gospel artiste have in Society?
Answer: The role we have in society is to reconcile people to God. Paul said that God trusted us and gave the ministry of reconciliation. We are here to reconcile people to God. Our main mission is to bring people back to God. And how do we do that…. we do tell people how God loved the world, and how He forgave our sins. We share with them the word of God so that they can believe and feel that love.
The Bible says that God was the first to love us, and surprisingly He loved us when we were still sinners. God loves every creature but He hates sin. We have to tell people how much God loves them. His love is seen in His son Jesus Christ crucified and then He rose from the dead.
Question: Recently, you had a live concert in Kigali, how did you feel about the concert? What was your experience?
Answer: To be honest, I left Kigali long time ago but I was surprised to experience the love of my fellow Rwandans. I enjoyed hospitality there. I was very impressed, happy… I do not know…. My words can’t explain how I enjoyed the moment. I will come back there. Rwanda has nice studios, among other equipment to record live. I had an impressive experience in Kigali.
Question: How do you think local gospel artistes in Rwanda and artistes in Diaspora can enhance their cooperation?
Answer: I believe there is a good cooperation. Artistes are now making collabos. There is one thing I like to tell people…. Before you get to the level of having an agreement to do a collabo, all has to come from your relationship and friendship. Artistes need to create friendship among themselves. Some people think that a certain artiste will help them become famous because he is legendary. If you think that way you are doing business and that is not what God called us for.
Question: What are your thoughts about the Gospel music industry in Rwanda?
Answer: Ministry is going beyond our imagination. I remember in 2005, gospel music in Rwanda was still down but developing… It is amazing to see how every year the industry keeps growing. For us in the Diaspora, we are surprised how fast the gospel music is dramatically progressing. I encourage my fellow artistes to benefit from all opportunities available in the country. Thanks to producers and media for the hard work they do to promote the gospel music industry.
Question: What sort of changes do you wish to see in the Gospel Music industry in Rwanda?
Answer: I would recommend people to think more about writing their owns songs, other than just repeating or translating other musicians’ songs. I am sure Rwandan artistes are very talented. God has blessed them with beautiful voices, and wisdom. They can do a lot through Christ who gives strength. I encourage them to sit down and focus on writing their original songs. Yes, artistes can translate other people’s songs but it’s better to develop their own new songs. It’s good to learn from the legendary, listen to their songs, use their songs; but when it is a time for recording, it is good to be more creative.
Question: Tell us about your future plans in your career?
Answer: My plan is to produce more songs, organize concerts, and using my platforms to share the word of God. My mission is to bring good news to people. That is what God wants me to do. I will keep on serving until my last breath. I have to make Jesus known to all nations.