After performing Whitney Houston’s I will always love You, Tiwamyenji Phiri did enough to convince the judges – Salma Sky, Cleo Ice Queen and Roberto – at Twangale Park in Lusaka that she deserved to win the Airtel Trace Music Star Zambia competition.
For her feat, Tiwa, as she is fondly referred to, will join a stellar cast of Africa’s up-and-coming talent at the continental finals in Lagos, Nigeria on June 11 to choose the overall winner.
Tiwa will go head-to-head with nine other contestants from across Africa for the coveted Airtel Trace Music Star 2016 pan-African prize. Other than Zambia, other participating countries are Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria and Tanzania.
Tiwa, a self-employed business woman who recently acquired an advanced diploma in public relations and marketing, has been singing from a tender age. Her family, pastor and best friend Nambela, have been her source of support.
“Music is in my life, it’s like breathing to me. In music, I can be myself but above all there is love in music and God is love,” says Tiwa.
Having been excited at winning and at the same time felt like she was dreaming, Tiwa has pledged to make even more of an effort at the grand finale in order to show the world the true talent that Africa has been endowed with and also to make Zambia proud.
“I will stick to believing in myself and keep in mind that as singers, we are all unique in our own way but the pressure of getting to the top will help me stay focused and remind me that any one of us could be a winner if we give our best,” she says.
The grand prize for the continental winner comprises a mentorship programme with multi-award winning American songstress Keri Hilson in Atlanta. The winner will not only star in their own music video alongside Keri Hilson; he or she will get an opportunity to record a duet with the ‘Knock you Down’ songstress, as well as receive a signed contract with a major music label and worldwide media exposure through various Trace’s platforms.
Trace is a leading brand and multimedia group dedicated to urban entertainment.
Last year’s winner was Mayunga of Tanzania, who was crowned by Senegalese-American megastar Akon. He won a record deal as well as promotion for a total value exceeding US$500,000 and a mentorship programme with Akon.
His first track Nice Couple reached number one on all major radio and television charts in his home country. A few months ago, he was in Los Angeles with Akon to record his second single Please Don’t Go Away and shoot the music video.