Saturday, May 2, 2015

How Mayunga Beat Contestants from 12 African Countries to Win Airtel Trace Music Star Singing Competition

{Published in Business Times Newspaper 1-7 May 2015} Trace TV aired the Airtel Trace Music Star Grand Finale on Saturday April 18th and I’ve never seen such drama and tension in singing competitions before. Priceless! But the purpose of this article isn’t to talk about how the competition went, I’m sure you can follow that up on YouTube. In this article I want to spill the beans on HOW Mayunga beat all these other contestants from all over Africa hands down, to walk away with the prize.  It wasn’t pot luck. It wasn’t JUST talent. And it certainly didn’t happen by accident. Do you want to know what went down? Read on!

While training Mayunga for the Kenya Grand Finale, he mentions… “The Ugandan singer is so good; and the Nigerian girl is amazing.” I could see he was a little uneasy. And I said to him, “I’ve watched videos of ALL the winners from the rest of Africa, and you know what? YOU have something they ALL don’t have. You have the training.” And I went on to say, confidently, “YOU are going to win this competition!” Well, he didn’t believe me then, but he does now.

Three songs were required for the Grand Finale. My song selection therefore was More Than Words by BBMak (which he’d sung at the Tanzania finale), and Michael Jackson’s One Day In Your Life… a very big and difficult song. Mayunga asked me if he could sing My Baby You by Marc Anthony. I asked him sing it to me, and I immediately agreed to let him do the number. What had become very apparent to him was that although he’d been singing the song for a while—long before Airtel Trace Music Star came to town—AND knew the lyrics, he admitted he’d never been able to scale the high notes and that it was, back then, all a bit of a struggle. Previously, he said, he would shout his way around the song. Well, evidently, all the vocal training to this point had paid off. But we had a lot of work to do to refine his voice for the song. And so I sought to train him specifically to sing the Michael Jackson song One Day In Your Life—because it was way harder—and assured him that when he’d mastered Michael’s song, Marc Anthony’s would be easy.  What I gave Mayunga in training I have never given ANYBODY else. My reputation was riding on this. We had to win this competition. Period!

I decided to compile a special combination of sixteen vocal exercises that lasted exactly forty two minutes. In the first segment, the voice got a gradual warm-up that then lead on to an intensive vocal agility workout and concluded with a very specific vocal mix exercise. All of which I compiled especially to help him navigate One Day In Your Life with precision, pitch accuracy and control reminiscent of the King of pop Michael Jackson. I will hand this to Mayunga, HE really works hard. On the last day in training he left my studio at 22 minutes past midnight and he was flying out to Nairobi at mid day. I remember him say, “and people think singing is easy?” I simply quipped “well that’s what they think, but now you know what it takes to sing to an international level!” So in essence, and let this be a lesson to all of you, if you want to learn to sing, you have got to put everything you’ve got into honing your craft. I’ve come across way too many people who are so casual about this, it’s annoying. Mayunga is SO refreshing and a joy to work with because he WANTS to do this in earnest. And he brought home the trophy because he put EVERYTHING he had into this AND followed my instructions to the letter. That’s what it took. Watch Mayunga in training Part 1 to 4 here, and Part 5 to 9 here.

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1 comment:

  1. So so proud of Joett and Mayunga, I concur to the letter, it aint easy and now I can see why he won...;)