The pros and cons of the Airtel Trace music competition

Benjamin Webi, the first Kenyan winner of the Airtel TRACE Music Star competition
Benjamin Webi, the first Kenyan winner of the Airtel TRACE Music Star competition
Benjamin Webi, the first Kenyan winner of the Airtel TRACE Music Star competition

Kenya has become a hotbed for talents. As the music industry is growing by the day, it is without a doubt that musicians need support. Airtel and Trace seem to be one of the major companies that noted this. With this realization the two giant companies have collaborated to ensure that this happens. Last month, they unveiled season two of airtel trace music star also known as ATMS. The brand ambassador will be the famous Keri Hilson. The competition will be fiery as many African countries will be in the competition.

I interviewed Faith Wanjiru who is now a participant in the competition. This competition is very different from the famous tusker project fame we all know. If anything, it is a complete phone affair. All you need is airtime. All airtel subscribers will be able to get in the competition. They have to call, sing and have the opportunity to be a music star. But I was keener on understanding this very easy process. According to Faith there are pros and cons that she has experienced. For starters she described the process as simple.

1. Step one: call and answering machine guides you.
2. Step two: Record a song of your choice. You also get to listen to your recoding over again this means if you can redo it.
3. Step three: There’s an option for karaoke where if you are not confident in yourself you can practice. This rates you and helps you perfect your vocals.

The whole process was fast. Although there are disadvantages that Miss Wanjiru noticed.

1. Costly

Faith used 50 shillings for her recording. She stated that every minute was 10 shillings. Hers amounted to 50 shillings after 5 minutes simply because she recorded and submitted immediately. For someone who is unsure of themselves they would use more money trying to perfect their singing.

2. Time

You need to have time when you choose to go through the process. Faith viewed it as time consuming as she went through the process, it is simple yet somewhat slow.

3. Unequal opportunity

With platforms such as project fame, contestants have to be trained. With this new way of competing many may be left behind. For starters, no one goes for vocal training this means people who have had a musical background will have an edge. Faith argued that there are many people who can sing but need to be polished. Again comparing to project fame, the contestants come out better vocal wise. There is nothing much more for the contestant after that phone call.

4. Are you popular or not?

“Getting votes is not easy” said Wanjiru. The fact that a contestant has to push for their own votes makes it cumbersome. Unlike TV where people have seen you as well as your performance this competition does not have such a chance. To convince someone to call and listen to your voice even when they do not know you can sing is a challenge. The fact that there are people, who are perhaps not popular on social media, leaves them stranded.

But just like with everything there are some advantages that Faith mentioned.

1. Exposure

The fact that people get to experience what it feels like to be in a music competition gives one the boost they need. The people who will move past the auditions will have a chance to interact with other musicians and artists as well.

2. Platform for artists

This is an opportunity for artists to test their abilities.

3. Challenge

It gives the musicians a challenge in the music industry that will push people to perfect their vocals.

4. Gives shy people an opportunity

There are people who are naturally shy or get nervous. With the phone process it is easy for someone to be confident with their work. This therefore encourages people who would be less confident.

The African countries involved will be Niger, Kenya, Congo, Gabon, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia. With all these countries that are well known for their musical talents, it will without a doubt be a heated journey. This means that people will avoid the hustle of standing in long ques as well as save time and money. It is quite amazing that a phone call may be able to change someone’s life simply by recording their song by calling 0900733733. Last year about 2.3 million people called and stood a chance to win.

This time, a Kenyan will stand the chance of winning 1.5 million at the finale. The best part is that Keri Hilson will be directly involved with the finalist, where she will mentor the winner. The winner will also be given the opportunity to record a duet with Ms. Hilson. The runners up will also take home an iphone 6s plus + and will take home Kshs 100,000. The 3rd winner will take home a Samsung 6s plus 50,000 shillings. The three Kenyan judges will be Atemi Diva, Wyre, and Chris Adwar for the season. From the past, Kenya’s music field has not been given much attention but recognition is gradually growing. The launch allows musicians to challenge themselves and have opportunity. As many Kenyans have lacked the platform to be able to nurture their talents, this will finally give many young singers the head start they need.

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Vanessa Raychael is a young writer passionate about writing. She is a student at Daystar University. She has written for the People newspaper as a fiction writer and she also hosts a show in a gospel station known as Vision TV. During her spare time, she likes nature trails, spending time with friends and going for events. You can check out her work on her blog