In October 2014, Airtel Ghana in collaboration with Trace TV launched the maiden edition of Airtel Trace Music Star, a music reality show to offer big opportunity and platform for thousands of Ghanaian youth who crave for a chance to hit the big stages.
Potential stars sent their entries into the competitions by calling 533 on their Airtel phones and singing from 15 second to 3 minute from October 7 to December 10, 2014.
Currently, the judges; radio broadcaster Kafui Dey, rapper Edem and singer Raquel are currently screening the entries, after which the best 5 would be selected to battle it out for the ultimate and represent Ghana in the Pan African Airtel Trace Music Star competition involving 13 other countries at the end of February.
In a series of interviews to come with the judges, GhanaGist.Com caught up first with Kafui Dey. In this interview, he spoke about his impression about the entries.
“Its show business, so the show part is your singing, the business part is your marketability. So you have to have songs that will appeal to the people who are listening. You have to have the right image, although you may be a good singer, people buy image. You have to appeal to the market. You have to manage your appearances well; scandals can put you in trouble, ask Kwaw Kese, he can tell you. That’s the business side of music. It’s like any other profession, if you don’t have any a good reputation, you may be talented but nobody will mind you”, Starr FM’s Kafui Dey tells GhanaGist.Com what one needs to be successful in the music career.
Hello Mr Kafui Dey! For the start, are you done with the screening of the entries?
We are not done with the screening. I think there will be a couple of section more. At least one. I think we have one or two more section to end. So, we are not done yet.
So for now what can you say about the entries that you have screened so far!
Well, a lot of people have taken part in the competition. You have some people sending many entries because the competition is quite innovative; you don’t need to stand in front of any judges … maybe nerves will disturb you and you may be a good singer but because of a nerve, you may flap your line. But this one, you can actually start it … be sure of yourself and you just dial the number and just sing on your phone.
I guess that’s the appeal of the competition. Another thing for the judges is that because you can’t see the people who are singing, I think it also makes it a bit fair because sometimes you can see someone and you like the person’s appearance and then if he or she is not a good singer or a great singer, you will just to add the person because the person has got a great personality.
But then it can also make it difficult for us because we have to listen carefully to find out which one got a potential even though he or she may not sound that great. You will think that with some level of training the person can be better.
So far as you are concerned, how challenging has the screening been?
Yeah! It’s quite a lot of people who are taking part. Anytime we sit down; we listen to quite a number of music. Sometimes, when someone sends a multiple entries, you don’t want to judge the person based on one. You listen to the other songs and then take a decision. Sometimes, it’s hard to just take a decision because some of them are quite good. Of course, you will get some that are not great at all and you wonder how this person took part in the competition. Everybody thinks they are great performers but it’s up to the judges to make a decision.
From your side as a judge, what do you look out for when listening to the entries?
What I look out for when I’m listening is somebody who sings on key. I mean if you start a song in one key and you end it on different key, there may be a problem. If you are not intentionally changing the key as it happens to certain songs, if you can’t keep the hold, then there will be a problem. If you can’t hold your breath too well, if you are not clear in what you are saying, then you won’t go far because music is about communication. So you have to be clear.
You have to read your note well and sometimes you choose a good song. There are certain songs if you are not comfortable with or good, you can’t choose them. You may have a good voice but you will go and choose a wrong song and you kick yourself out.
I think that, some of the thing also is in choosing a song that you can sing very well because it’s a competition and you want to win. Just make sure you communicate well. The way you pronounce your words or how you even use your breath. Let’s us hear what you are saying.
Airtel Trace Music Star way of auditioning for talent for the show is completely different to what is done by other music reality show organizers where the wannabe singers face the judges and sing. Looks, they say is very important in Showbiz but you, Edem and Raquel are judging the wannabe music stars without seeing them and their looks. What’s your opinion on that?
For me, I think looks are overrated. Looks, fine but the way the Airtel Trace Music Star is being held, it’s actually give a level playing field to all, so you are judged solely on your voice. After all, for the finals, they will actually perform, so it’s not going to be strictly just listening to them via the phone.
They will actually perform on the finals, so we will get to know the winner for Ghana on the night anyway. We are are hoping that at the time, we have narrowed it down to the really really best people who will now compete for the ultimate.
So, I’m surprised that, the telcos never thought of this competition. This is the way to structure this competition earlier because it makes use of technology. It also makes sense to them financially because you don’t have to go hire, pay money to a production houses to hire, feed the judges, pay the judges, transport people left and right, do all these backstage interviews, production for TV.
At the down side to it is that, you would not get all the excitement, repertoire that is associated with music TV reality show. If you have a tight budget, we can put all our energy into producing a good show at the end.
If I’m a good singer, what else do I need to do to be successful in the music business?
Its show business, so the show part is your singing, the business part is your marketability. So you have to have songs that will appeal to the people who are listening. You have to have the right image, although you may be a good singer, people buy image. You have to appeal to the market. You have to manage your appearances well; scandals can put you in trouble. Ask Kwaw Kese, he can tell you. That’s the business side of music. It’s like any other profession, if you don’t have any a good reputation, you may be talented but nobody will mind you.
Thank you Kafui Dey for your time.
Alright! Have a nice weekend. Bye-bye