By Nigel Nassar
Three-day auditions, over 700 hopefuls, 38 eventual finalists for the nationals – what an eventful long weekend at the Kampala auditions for the second season of the Coca-Cola Rated Next Sing It competition!
From as early as 6:00am Friday morning, through Saturday and Sunday, the country’s premier singing competition decked the National Theatre.
Wana-be singers, giving a shot at the staked sh50m and a recording contract from Swangz Avenue, didn’t stop flocking the venue over the three days of the Kampala auditions.
The faces of each of the over 700 hopefuls had one thing written on them – hope. The hope to use the contest as a stepping stone towards realizing their dream of becoming big-time recording artistes.
Hopeful candidates being screened; the wait is like the second coming of the Lord. PHOTO/Abu Mwesigwa
From the numbers out there at the auditions, a lot of youths really want to sing, and no number of contests like these might satiate the hunger to make it. Which is where Coca-Cola and Urban TV’s initiative with this contest comes in handy.
There was a hopeful, Tony Banks, who upon getting a “no” from the judges, just launched into a speech amidst tears, telling the story of his many years on the streets struggling to make it in vain.
Candidates submitting their applications for auditions. PHOTO/Abu Mwesigwa
“We, in the arts world, need help. You, the judges of such contests, should at least help us learn how to present ourselves and make it. Now after this contest, all of us who were not as good as the eventual winner are going to go back to the streets and suffer to make it in vain. Where is the government in all this?” wondered contestant Banks, bitterly.
He wondered why Government suddenly jumps in when someone makes it big at the international level, yet it didn’t have any input in their making it big.
Heartbroken: the long walk to fame can be disastrous for some. PHOTO/Abu Mwesigwa
“I and several out there might not impress the judges in this contest. But we are good and can sing. Government should come in and support us,” added Banks, who said he is house boy at KCCA executive director Jennifer Musisi’s house in Ntinda.
Like Banks, hunger to make it in music is what characterized the Kampala auditions. Friday and Saturday had judges Siima Sabiti, Benon Mugumbya and Sharpe Ssewali sieve the over 700 hopefuls to 77, who were further reduced to 38 on Sunday.
And although the auditions didn’t miss the usual clowning squeaky singers, a good number of the 38 who will represent Kampala at the nationals can really sing.
That includes, among others, 14-year-old Grace Namatovu, who just might upset this contest – because her singing is spic and span.
Tune into Urban TV and TV West every Sunday at 7:00pm to catch this search for the next big thing in Ugandan music.