Dar es Salaam. It has been a long time since you last heard of a talent search in the country and the memories are sometimes nostalgic as they gave birth to some of stars that we have today.
Unlike 10 years ago, the advent of digital technology now means things have to be done digitally as opposed to the long queues that participants had to brave to get to the auditions.
On that night, 15 young men and women seeking for a career in music had gathered at the ‘Imba na Mimi, to present their work for adjudication.
To some, this is a chance of a life time, and no wonder applications flooded the account but they had to make a choice to come up with the finalists.
The contest which is conducted through the social media has two phases, the first one took place early in January.
Contestants were required to tag their recorded audio or video of them singing on Instagram, Whatsapp number, Facebook or Twitter under ‘Imba na Mimi’ account.
Speaking to The Beat, the project coordinator Emmanuel Stephen says, phase I was a pilot phase which aimed at creating awareness to get the clear image of the contest that leads to phase II which is set to take place soon after the Holy Month of Ramadhan.
According to organisers ‘Imba na Mimi’ contest aims at discovering young and raw talents in music from people aged 18-40 years old in Tanzania.
Emmauel Stephen the project director who is also the contest’s coordinator says the contest is organized by Cam studio under One Love Unit TZ an organization deals with organizing different entertainment gigs in the country.
“I decided to come up with Imba na Mimi contest after I realized a lot of music talent was being left out just because they have no right platform to practice their music,” he says.
Through the contest the young men will be paired experienced musicians who will take them through the ropes of the trade.
Participants came from different places in Tanzania such as Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Sengerema, Geita, Morogoro and Arusha.
All the 15 participants were live on stage and after a gruelling contest six were selected for the second round which will usher them into the second phase of the which will bring together between 20 to 30 participants.
They came face to face with two judges namely singer Belle 9 and Edward Lusala who had the daunting task of sending home more than half of the contestants.
Participants from Dar es Salaam were the toast of the day given their home ground advantage as they were cheered on by a rather handsome audience that was in attendance.
They included Rodgers Raphael, Daniel Alone and Christopher Sise,but none were named in the final six who will be joining the second phase.
And when the winners’ list was announced Chazz Barton, Rodgers Raphael,Daniel Alone, Christopher Sise, Tumaini Mrema and Tusa Victor emerged on top.
Commenting on the criteria used to select winners judge Lusala says, as experts thye had a particular criteria and according to them the contestant had to be unique.
“All of the top six contestants had qualities of being winners but just small elements in the music industry decided the day,” he says.
According to him, one can be a good musician but just one element can favour the other person.
“We were also looking at originality, vocal range specifically how can one remain in the key during the entire song presentation without going off key, and because it was a live show, stage and crowd management also mattered. We also looked at creativity too, “ says Lusala.
Chazz, phase I winner is a painter who paints peoples pictures for a fee of up to Sh80,000 depending on the customers agreement.
He says, he came to learn about Imba na Mimi contest through his friend Rodgers who emerged first runner up. Rodgers, tagged him on Imba na Mimi contest post and he decided to send his video singing ‘Heaven’ by Banky W.
“Soon my video was reposted by @imbanamimi page I knew I will get an opportunity to participate in the contest. Being announced as a winner left me in a shock as the contest had people who were hugely talented. I thank God for that and I am getting ready for phase II,” says Chazz.
During the first round Chazz sang his own composition titled ‘Me na Wewe’ which is yet to be officially released and his second song was by ‘Ipo Siku’ by Goodluck Gozbert.
Tusa Victor, is a Finance student at Mzumbe University. She says, through a friend who sent her information about the contest via her phone she applied by posting her video on instagram page with a song called Sitabaki Kama Nilivyo by Joel Lwaga.
Given her tight timetable at the University, it was not easy for her to come in Dar es Salaam, so the Imba na Mimi team had to visit her in Morogoro and record her work Read all about it by Emeli Sande at the Digital Vibes studio.
The competition has some strict guidelines, for a contestant to qualify, one must be living in Tanzania, must be ready to learn and be involved in the trainings, proper dress code, and if the contestant is a student, must consider and follow the Imba na Mimi timetable without affecting it otherwise will be disqualified. The contestants must be free to travel and stay away from his/her home. Stephen they spent about Sh21million from their pockets. But they are working hard to get partners and supporters like online radios and TV’S, established artistes, Radio and Tv presenters, DJ’s that can help to spread the news about Imba na Mimi and expand the network.
He says, Imba na Mimi spent a week taking the selected contestants to a professional studio to a recording 1 minutes audio clip and studio version video clips for everyone that will was posted and shared on Imba na Mimi social media pages for promotions .
The contest also used Tripple Malengo Limited voting system, voters were charged Sh200 for a single vote during the contest through the special numbers.