Bay pair eye major prize

SOULFUL BALLADEER: Asanda Mqiki is grateful for the exposure
SOULFUL BALLADEER: Asanda Mqiki is grateful for the exposure

Performers among select band of six vying for national talent search honours

WHEN you ask a musician what their favourite thing is, most of them will probably say performing in front of an audience and connecting with fans on stage.

Now two musicians from Port Elizabeth have the opportunity of doing just that, should they win a recording deal worth R80 000 and a cash prize of R20 000 in the Castle Milk Stout Unplugged talent search competition.

After months of auditions and more than 2 500 entries, the Nelson Mandela Bay musicians have made it to the top six of the competition.

Asanda Mqiki, known for her husky voice and powerful ballads, and songwriter Sizwe Yaze are two of the six hopefuls who have a shot at claiming the big prize.

Mqiki, who has a strong following in the Bay and is no stranger to performing for large audiences, said she was very excited about making the top six.

Mqiki did not think she would make it that far in the competition, and it was only after she was persuaded by her friends to enter that she obliged.

“I didn’t expect to get the call but I’m very excited about being a finalist because it’s great exposure even if you don’t win, because it’s on a national stage,” Mqiki said.

Partnering with MetroFM, the talent search was launched last year with each finalist performing an original song and a cover track on Metro FM presenter Paul Mtirara’s live show Chill Factor, every Sunday on the noon to 3pm slot.

Morningside resident Yaze, 26, who works as a bookkeeper for his father’s company, said growing up in a family who loved music had influenced his passion for composing music.

His mother was a conductor in a church choir and he also spent much of his free time listening to his father’s old records.

“I composed my first song when I was at Kabega Park Primary School . . . and I got such a good response from my conductor – she loved it,” he said.

Yaze prides himself on his experience in composing a capella songs, and therefore his passion is more geared to songwriting and not on the performance aspect of music.

The two Bay musicians and the other four finalists, including East London musician Afikile Dlakavu, will be mentored by top band The Muffinz, before sharing the stage at three exclusive concerts that got off the ground earlier this week.

The six musicians in the top six, who have never been signed to a record label before, can look forward to having guidance from The Muffinz, the group who made an impact on the South African music scene in April 2012 with their critically acclaimed album Have You Heard.

The five-piece band has won a number of awards, including a Metro FM award, and received numerous South African Music Awards nominations.

The finalists have embarked on a nationwide tour that started in Cape Town on Wednesday and moves on to Durban this Wednesday and to Johannesburg on November 25. Competing at three exclusive venues, the finalists are vying for the honour to be named the best talent in soul and R’n B.

They have high hopes of winning a recording deal with Universal Music, and the winners will be announced on air on Metro FM on December 13.

For more information go to the Castle Milk Stout Facebook page to view and vote for your favourite artist.

-Nomazima Nkosi

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