Monday, February 9, 2015

Airtel Trace Music Star Tanzania Winner, Mayunga Wins 50M

I was hired by Trace Music to sit on the judge panel alongside Vanessa Mdee and Hermy B, to sift through all the audition tapes and later, after we eventually selected the top 5, I was commissioned to vocal coach the contestants for the finale. Quite a tall order, considering I only had 10 hours per contestant to get their vocals in order in time for the finish line. So do you know what I did to bring their vocals up to scratch to an international standard? I put them through an Intensive Speech Level Singing Crash Course for an hour-a-day. It was the only way to get the job done quickly—and with great results.

In a text message after the February 7, 2015 competition, I wrote... "Mayunga, I have waited YEARS to meet someone like you. It has been an honor to work with you. I feel truly blessed. With YOU I know Tanzania has found a TRUE star to carry the Tanzanian flag to the WORLD. You are the next Michael Jackson, and what REALLY delights me is that you are TANZANIAN. The doors to my studio are open to you for ALWAYS. Now let's go out there and show the world what we Tanzanians are made of. I'm truly proud of you!"

In all honesty, Mayunga thrilled the crowd with his soaring vocals with the BBMak hit single More Than Words from 1999, a cover of the original version by Extreme (1990). I selected this song for him, and trained him to deliver. He did me proud. I'm SO very excited. Mayunga will represent Tanzania at the Grand Finale in Nairobi in March, where another 12 countries will compete for a chance to get signed by Universal Records in the USA and to hang out with superstar Akon for a week—who will mentor and assist the winner with the production of their debut single.

I'm a huge fan of the late Luther Vandross, and I think Henry who emerged runner up, is quite frankly Luther Vandross reincarnated. His delivery of the hit Vandross classic Always And Forever -- which I selected for him -- a cover of the original version by Heatwave, left everybody spellbound. I'm VERY proud of Henry. You're going to be seeing a lot of this guy. Just watch this space.

Gabrielle is another one of my favorite vocalists, and Tracy who came third, delivers vocals to hit classic Rise -- which I selected for her -- in such an incredibly SO Gabrielle style, yet distinctly original. I loved her performance, elegance and grace with this number. She looked absolutely stunning. What an amazing transformation and performance! Christopher and Rose who sang Say Something by A Great Big World and Girl On Fire by Alicia Keys respectively, also did a remarkably good job. I’m really proud of them for working so hard.

So that's a quick round down of my take on the Airtel Trace Music Star Tanzania Top 3. In picture, Evans Bukuku, presenter for the evening, stands next to the winner Mayunga, who was presented with a check for 50 million shillings. Far right and looking on are Tracy and our new king of R&B, Henry.

Stay tuned to this blog for more footage and EXCLUSIVE behind-the-scenes snippets to the Airtel Trace Music Star Tanzania singing competition. It's so much fun, I can assure you, you'll love it!

Catch you later,

Vocal Coach to Airtel Trace Music Star Tanzania Top 5
Private Singing Lessons

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