By William Jimoh
Sixteen contestants out of a wide pool of potentially famous young music talents across West Africa has been ushered into this year’s MTN Project Fame performance Academy where they will live throughout the duration of the reality TV show competition.
The selection of these lucky contestants which took place at the Ultima Studios in Lagos last week-end was witnessed by Veteran Nollywood artiste, Olu Jacobs, amongst other industry giants, spanning telecommunications, oil and gas, manufacturing and media, who were proud to identify with the development in the project.
“I am proud to identify with this project because it is a platform through which young stars across the sub-region are been brought in to limelight. Any where I go, I will be proud to say I am an African and a Nigerian, for this is another value adding platform for the continent,” said Jacobs.
The contestants who are to compete for honours in the music academy are; Simon Ekechukwu, Blessing, Omolayo Babawale, Janet Ayoka, Gbemisola Rowland, Johnny Drill Ighodaro, Niniola Apata, Immaculate Patience, Henry McJohn, David Crentsil, Roland Ricketts, Leonard Massaquoi, Oluchi Isreal, Jimoh Lucky, Olawale Ayodele Ojo and Margareth Cephas.
During the event, select contestants treated the audience to songs by Alicia Keys and other popular artistes. Remarkably, as well, Iyanya and Praiz, two popular artistes and alumni of the reality show, graced the stage to stir memories of how they were nurtured into super-stardom on the same platform.
Speaking to some of the contestants, their enthusiasm was visible. They admitted that, having made it into the academy, they will give each performance and each day their best. , “I am so confident and I believe I will justify my selection into the academy” said Henry McJohn, who almost made it into the academy, last year, through the wild-card entry.
Roland Ricketts spoke, religiously, about how he will not allow ‘affliction’ to raise itself a second time. Evicted on the opening night of last year’s edition, the Microbiology graduate, from Abuja, is determined to make an impression this year.
Interestingly, the MTN Project Fame has retained the trio of popular music producer, TY-Mix, Ghanaian music legend, Bibie Brew and German-Nigerian Afro hip-hop veteran, Ade Bantu as judges. For the academy’s faculty, actress Joke Silva, Mrs Ige, Choreographer Kaffy and Ben Ogbeiwi hold the reins, as 10 weeks of scintillating and breath-taking performances, both live at the studios and on national television stations, begin.
The sixteen contestants, surely, have a long list of alumni including Iyanya and Praiz to look up to besides a series of master-classes where they will be taught basic life principles as part of their nurturing process.
Meanwhile, the wild-card entry is still open. Organisers of the musical television reality show academy encourage interested youths to visit project fame’s portal or upload videos of their renditions via youtube for a chance to be part of the on-going academy.
Project Fame is a reality show and a character-building platform, attested to by the number of past contestants who are making waves, across West Africa, either in Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia or Serra Leone and the world, at large.