Zambia’s Tiwamyenji Phiri has been crowned as the 2016 Airtel TRACE Music Star winner by US international superstar Keri Hilson.
The competition, featuring 10 finalists, was fierce. Tanzania’s Melissa John beat Madagascar’s representative Johanna Rakotomavo to take second place. The night offered great talent but finally it was Phiri whom the celebrity judges, Keri Hilson, Briant “BeeHigh” Biggs and Fally Ipupa, voted as Africa’s next top talent.
Phiri’s win followed a magnificent rendition of “When You Believe,” the song from the 1998 DreamWorks film The Prince of Egypt, originally recorded by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey.
Phiri’s prize includes a record deal with a major label: mentorship for a year with singer and song writer, actress and record producer Keri Hilson, for a total value exceeding $500,000, as well as worldwide media exposure through the various TRACE platforms. “I look forward to working with Phiri over the next year and to share some of the knowledge and experiences I have acquired in the music industry over the years”, says Keri Hilson.
The glitzy Pan-African Grand Finale occurred at the Ultima Studios in Lagos where music and glamour were the focus of the evening. The star-studded Red Carpet featured the cream of Nigeria’s entertainment circuit which included Nigerian comedian Chigul, Hip Hop artist Vector as well as celebrity artist and speed painter Fola David, who painted a tribute portrait of the celebrated boxer Muhammed Ali at the event.
— By Hazeez Balogun