MVNSI tells his story: “they’ve turned me into a controversial artist”
Fabrice Munsi (27), a.k.a. MVNSI, started to pursue his musical career only a year ago and was recently selected as a Studio Brussel "Nieuwe Lichting" finalist. But it didn't take him long to find out that there's also a less appealing side to chasing the so-called fame. Getting in the spotlight means your every move is watched more closely. Someday they might even dig up the dirt from your past. (Are you feeling the heat yet?)
Article by Melissa Awouters, pictures by Jennifer Kesteleyn
MVNSI found himself in the eye of a local media storm during the past few days, after he had to appear in court for a violent incident, dating back to 2012. Specific media outlets published the story about the ongoing case and his six prior convictions. But MVNSI has no criminal record since community service isn't included. According to him, his ongoing case also won't change that.
The last six years have been different, according to MVNSI himself. He has moved to a new city together with his girlfriend, found a job (which he now lost due to the media coverage of his case) and is focusing on his music career. His life is totally different from before, but his past seems to follow him around wherever he goes.
We're no judges, so we don't want to express ourselves about the case and Fabrice's part in it. But we do want to give MVNSI the opportunity to tell his own story.
What has happened during the past days?
The things that they have dug up are things that I have been involved in, but my share has always been small. I knew that people would dig deeper into my past and even would go looking for things that aren't there. So I had already applied for my Criminal Record Extract. It is because of this document that I'm still in the competition (De Nieuwe Lichting). I feel like it was their intention to get me disqualified, but luckily I've got a clean criminal record and this document shows it. On the other hand, I've currently lost my job due to this media coverage. I did my job well, but I was 'bad for the image of the company.'
"Everyone makes mistakes and I have made mine."
How do you feel about this?
Making music costs money, and a job has always been my priority. If my job goes well, it goes well with my music, my girlfriend and all other personal stuff. If one thing goes wrong, everything goes wrong, because I try to keep everything connected. It does feel like I'm getting punished all over again, because I've already been punished for this. It was a very difficult period back then, even without getting sentenced by the judge. Appearing before a court and doing that to your parents, is very heavy in itself. I had a very hard time with it.
Finally when I'm leaving that difficult period behind, they try to tear me down again. Because I'm doing better than before? The way I see it, this goes against all logic of humanity. Everyone makes mistakes and I have made mine. If you really know me, you’ll know I always try to be honest and open, even about my own mistakes. But I have been proving for the past six years that I'm doing right.
In which ways is your life different compared to six years ago?
Between the age of 18 and 23, I did nothing else than playing basketball and chilling with friends. I daily got together with some friends to smoke some, you know how it goes. You meet a lot of new people, and between them, you’ve got the really chill ones and the ones who flirt with those gangsta ideas. Eventually, I got involved with the wrong people. I’m not going to lie about it, when there were cops involved, I was usually there too. I was hanging out with people who did wrong things, without always doing wrong myself, which gave me that kind of profile.
In the summer of 2012, I got an Achilles tendon rupture and I wasn’t able to play basketball anymore. I had to stay home for about six months. In those months I stopped hanging out with other people. I didn’t deal with the bad people, but I also didn’t deal with good people. I didn’t hang out with anyone. I found the time to think and reflect on myself. After isolating myself for six months, I said to myself: ‘Fabrice, you’ve been handling it all by yourself for quite some time now. Stop listening to other people and do your own thing.’
I decided to take some specific actions to turn my life around. I managed to finish my studies, I found a job, launched myself into music, met my girlfriend and moved to a new city. Everything is going uphill since then. It’s still going uphill, but specific media outlets made me doubt myself over the past couple of days. Am I doing right or am I not?
I feel like I’m doing good now and that I’m on the right path. I haven’t been thinking about the police and courts for the past six years. I’ve found myself on a professional and personal level. I mainly focus on my girlfriend and music is my new basketball. I can’t get any injuries with making music unless I manage to lose my voice. Besides, I keep developing my skills since I'm so focused on my music. I am very positive about my present and future.
Maybe this is the Achilles heel of pursuing a musical career and getting in the spotlight?
That’s a nice metaphor. I'm usually very chill about things, but when those articles popped up, I said to myself: 'Shit, this is not good.' The first thing I did was calling my mom. It's crazy how cool she stays. She told me ‘Boy, we’re already vaccinated against that shit. Besides, it’s just advertisement, go look at the likes on your Facebook page.'
There are people who indeed say that there is no such thing as bad advertisement. But is this the way you wanted to promote yourself?
Absolutely not. I’ve done everything to get into the industry in a normal and clean way, but they’ve immediately turned me into a controversial artist. On the other hand, I’m getting a lot of support through Facebook and Instagram. The impact they wanted the article to have, turned against them. I’m now 100% sure I have to pursue my music. If someone like me, who’s relatively unknown in the music scene, is able to have such an impact on so many people in just such a short period of time… Sure I’m going to use this to promote my music, but it still sucks. Personally, I don't really care about what shit they talk about me, but I do care for my mother and my three sisters. It hurts me to see how much it hurts them.
You’ve released the track Media as a response to all this. How do you feel about ‘the media’ now?
My opinion about the media has always been fifty-fifty. I’ve specifically focused on the two media outlets Het Laatste Nieuws and HBVL. I know from experience that they often take a negative view on things and that they go looking for snappy stories. There is always some truth in what they tell, but I feel like you need to filter it out yourself. That shouldn’t be the case. But I’m still very positive about the media in general. Shoutout to StuBru and VRT for staying real! Besides the mainstream media, I check the Chase posts daily.
What would you say if you could meet your 18-year-old self?
'Hey boy, you don’t need all those people around you to have faith in yourself. Find it and fight for it. If you trust and believe in yourself, you’ll be able to handle everything that comes at you.' I wouldn’t have gotten in so much trouble if someone just told me this sooner.