Multi-award winning singer Tresor Reziki’s 4,000km journey to fame

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Tresor Reziki is a multi-award winning singer, songwriter, and producer. He has several internationally acclaimed albums and a record deal with Universal Music.

Known to his fans as just Tresor Reziki, he has channeled his grief and hardship into his music, becoming a multi-award-winning singer, songwriter and producer. He describes his sound as the “new-age African pop — a fusion of sound from all over the continent.”

Drawing influences from legends like Brenda Fassie, Salif Keita and Fela Kuti, Tresor says his music is about celebrating Africa and all its people.

“I think what sets African music apart from the rest of the world is how raw and colorful it is,” he says. “The diversity of African sound in the continent is magnificent.”

Despite the tone of his music, Tresor’s road to stardom has been anything but smooth.

The multi-award winning singer’s remarkable story began 33 years ago in the town of Goma in Eastern DRC.

“A lot of people think Tresor is my stage name, but actually my mother gave it to me. I’m the third child but also the first boy. So it’s a treasure because Tresor means treasure in French. 

When he was little, his hometown took in over a million Rwandan refugees during that country’s genocide. Tresor says his local school closed, which forced his parents to find another form of schooling.

“Our parents would take us to a local church or a local youth centre where we’d play on drums and singing and playing other instruments and writing songs of course, came at a very late stage but that for me was the genesis of my relationship with music.”

It’s this connection to music that would get Tresor Reziki through some of the darkest days of the Afropop’s life. 

“Sadly, I lost my parents when I was very young. I was about 17. I started focusing a lot of my time and energy into music playing in small bars and small hotels in my hometown. That gave me the confidence to start making my first early demos.”

Orphaned and destitute, he left the DRC to seek opportunities in South Africa making the more than 4200km journey by train, bus and even partly on foot. 

“I just literally traveled as a renegade. I went through Burundi, Tanzania. I got robbed and ended up on the border of Malawi with no papers. So I started my clandestine, unknown, illegal, immigrant kind of journey from there and went through rivers and wildlife parks.”

“Normally the journey takes about four hours on a flight, from where I come from to south Africa but it took me close to three months,” he added.

Tresor eventually made it to the coastal town of Durban, South Africa. He took small jobs just to make ends meet, but he never lost sight of his dream. 

“From there I got to really shape myself as a young man, as a musician. Eventually getting a break, of course, winning the competition of the Rolling Stone Magazine. Getting my first deal, moving to Johannesburg in 2015. Then did my first album and it all just happened so fast.”

Tresor Reziki believes in change and wants to inspire the next generation.

“I believe in change and more, especially for the beautiful continent we have and for our people. We all have a different form of bringing about change and I think my dream is to inspire the next generation of leaders, young women and men through different avenues. I hope to be part of changing the narrative of the continent because we owe it to the next generation.”

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