Musical talent shows have become synonymous with producing big stars around the world over time. Many have sprang up with the America’s got talent being the most famous and the model for almost other talent shows around the world.
In Africa, East Africa and Uganda in particular, music talent searches have been famous for staging mesmerizing shows in the quest for the next big star.
Shows such as the Tusker project fame, Coca-Cola rated next and East Africa’s got talent are some of such shows that have produced some epic performances from the contestants over the years.
The winner of such contests and the two runners up usually get a number of benefits such as recording contracts, cash and exposure. This usually makes people expectant of these people as the next big regional stars.
However, this is not the case with majority of these contest winners as most fail to meet the expectations and those who did not fare well in the competitions instead turn out to be the biggest stars.
We take a look at some of the people who have failed to make the expected impact and those who made it despite the odds against them.
The first Ugandan winner of the prestigious Tusker project fame was none other than Esther Nabaasa Mugizi and she did so in the second season of the contest in 2007. She was also the first Ugandan to win a singing contest outside the country.
This came with a prize of 5M KSHS and a record deal with Galo records based in South Africa. She produced two albums and later concentrated on song writing.
She co-wrote part of Bebe Cool’s ‘Go Mama’ album in 2014 and Juliana Kanyomozi’s ‘I’m still here’ song. She was among other artists that co-wrote the “Yoga yoga’ song in 2012 while celebrating Uganda’s 50th independence anniversary. She has also wrote music for some other artists and the theme song for the film 27 guns documenting President Museven’s rise to power.
Davis Ntare rose to fame after winning the fourth season of the Tusker Project Fame in 2010. Davis who had a catchy voice and was extremely talented emerged number one after beating off a host of other talented contestants and everyone was sure he was the next big thing in East Africa.
However, a decade gone by and the singer is yet to prove what benefit the contest gave him. He released a number of songs that did not match the expectations and it’s quite fair to say he’s struggled a lot to make his mark felt in the industry. He made a cameo appearance in the Swangz avenue produced hit song ‘Whistle song’ that quite had a number of stars such as Radio&Weasel, Cindy, Vampino, Navio among others.
It can be included that he’s hugely disappointed basing on the exposure he had got allover East Africa and did not use it to the best of his advantage. He currently does more of live and band music.
At 15 years of age, Ruth Grace became the youngest winner of the contest in it’s second season in 2014. The youngster by then faced stiff competition and it’s from this season that produced superstar Winnie Nwagi who emerged in third position.
The young girl became an instant millionaire pocketing 50 million Uganda shillings and a recording contract. She was poised to become the next big singing teenager who could probably have taken over Uganda and the African continent.
However, this did not come to fruition because after seven years, it is hard to remember who she was and what she currently does given the big platform that had been presented to her.
It seems like most winners of the Coca-Cola rated next contests did not venture further in getting into the mainstream music industry. A 20 year old by then Joel Kisakye won the third season of the Coca-Cola rated next in 2015 beating off competition from Rachel Bomani, Sherina Nabukeera and Prudence Nanyanzi.
Just like other former winners, Joel took home 50million Uganda shillings and a recording contract of one year. However, as of now few people can hardly tell who the former contest winner is.
He is more of a voacliat, guitarist and song writer now. As of now he performs with a live band of his own.
They say that talent alone is not enough to make someone successful. Rather it’s a combination of hardwork and talent that makes a person an exception in their trade. This seems to be evident with Nakanwagi Winfred aka Winnie Nwagi.
The singer who is signed under the Swangz Avenue label first came to public attention during the Coca-Cola rated next season two in 2014. Winnie did not win the contest but her vocal prowess, hunger and desire to make it to the top was one of the reasons the show’s judge Benon Mugumbya and Swangz Avenue CEO could not let her off his hands.
Nwagi emerged number two/second runner up in a competition that was won by Ruth Grace. Winnie might not have won the contest but she surely won the people’s hearts and love which they have shown her up to date.
Soon after the contest, Winnie signed a contract with Swangz avenue to which she still currently is under. Her first song under the lable Embeera received fair popularity and she has never looked back since then.
She has released chart topping songs since then such as Musawo, Jjangu, Kwata essimu among others. Though she’s a controversial figure, her talent and hardwork is undoubted.
At a time when all girl and boy singing groups was the deal, this trio rose up through a talent competition and the rest is history. The group was formed in 2004 after winning the Coca-Cola pop stars contest and originally consisted of Jackie Chandiru, Cindy Sanyu and Lilian Mbabazi.
The group got signed to Fenon records under legendary producer Steve Jean and would go on to release monstrous hits in the years that ensued. Some of the hits they produced included Hitaji, Burn a collaboration with Navio, Nawe among others. In this time they won a number of awards and toured different countries.
The group later disbanded after one of the initial singers, Cindy left the group and was replaced by Mya though it could not go further. The singers all pursued solo careers finding measurable success in their music journeys. Their mark was surely left on the music industry as a girl group.
Kenneth Mugabi is a skillful soulful singer and song writer who burst onto the scene in 2012 in the first finale of the Coca-Cola rated next.
The competition was won by Daniel Kwweesa and Mugabi was a runner up. This however did not deter the multi talented young man and he horned his skills that have made him one of the best in his genre.
Mugabi has gone on to produce sweet ballads such as Naki, Nkwegomba, Kibunomu that have found their way to the mainstream genres and received maximum airplay. Kenneth who doubles as a guitarist is one of the most sought after musicians especially for the corporate world.
Most of the musicians who have found acclaimed success on this list are worthy mentioning that they weren’t the actual winners of the respective contests they perfomed in but rather did it through hardwork combining it together with their hunger to succeed.
Other notable performers worth a mention through these contests are Esther and Ezekiel who won the first season of East Africa’s got talent, Sarah Zawedde who took part in the Coca-Cola edition of 2004.