…Emotions As Blind Aspiring Artiste Wins Music Talent Hunt Competition
The saying ‘disability is not inability’ came to play out in Uromi, Esen-North-East part of Edo State recently when 18-year-old Godspower Ikharehon visually impaired aspiring gospel artiste won the debut competition ‘SOO Live The Dream Music Talent Hunt’ after a series of dazzling performances to convinced the judges and audience at large.
Since the auditions for the SOO Live The Dream Music talent hunt initiative aimed at giving life to the aspirations of music-oriented youths from Esan North-East/South-East Federal Constituency of Edo State, Nigeria, commenced, an optimistic 468 contestants showed up for the auditions which held at the St. Anthony Catholic Church in Uromi, Edo State.
After the number was screened to 120 contestants by the judging crew comprising Muyiwa Asenuga a.k.a Nomoreloss, Sydney Shocker, Monique D Vibes and Elcee McEdwards, a further 100 were eliminated leaving the stage for the top 20 contestants who battled to outwit themselves with their performances on stage to clinch to the prize.
The competition targeted at giving life to the aspirations of music-oriented youths from Esan North-East/South-East Federal Constituency of Edo State, Nigeria offered Nigerian youngsters within local communities a platform to bring their musical talents to the spotlight with the maiden edition which held from 17th to 20th September, 2015.
After a surprising, inspiring, suspense filled performances by the Top 10 contestants, Godspower a.ka. BOG was declared the winner. As the emotional announcement was made by one of the judges, Elcee McEdwards, an approving roar went up from the crowd attending the grand finale at the Social Hall of St. Benedict’s Catholic Church, Ubiaja in Edo State, an overwhelmed Godspower took his place in the spotlight, this time as the latest winner of music talent hunt show aimed at identifying budding talents in singing and music production.
An elated Godspower, who fell down on the floor with joy, started dancing while being held by his brother, a move that brought the audience and fellow contestants to tears; 16 year old student, Deborah Christy Odiboh, became the first runner up while Sound Engineer, Destiny Ogunnubi, was named at holding the third place.
Having been dazzling from the first day of the auditions with unique voice and dexterity with the keyboard, B.O.G revealed that at a point he was afraid he would not make it through.
“While I was at home I usually believed that I would win but when the auditions started and I started listening to some of the other contestants sing, I was afraid that I had lost it all. My condition helped me to be serious in the sense that when I hear the performances of the other contestants, I would be spurred to work harder. The fact that I don’t see their faces is an advantage to me and I worked hard,” he said.
The winner, a student at Ihogbe College for the Blind in Benin Edo State disclosed that at a point in his life he was depressed about his condition but has music to thank for taking him away from his self-pity and putting him in the limelight in his community.
“Whenever I go to church and listen to people sing I feel very happy. In fact, inside me I would wish I was the one doing the songs. There were times I felt hopeless at such moments especially with my condition. I used to say people can walk, sing, see and here I am not being able to see; I felt that was how my life would be wasted but one day I took a decision and made a step to start singing. That decision helped me to get over self-pity and built my confidence that music is for me. Since then, I have never looked back and I must say that immediately I took that first step, God took it up from there,” he said.
While presenting prizes to the winners, a member representing Esan North-East/South-East Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives and sponsor of the project, Barr. Sergius Oseasochie Ogun, said he was happy with the outcome of the event and believed the next edition would be better.
“I am satisfied with the turnout of the event, it was wonderful, my prayer is by the time we host the second edition next year the turnout will be more than this. That is why I am very anxious to put these guys on the world stage and then prove themselves on the world stage, others will queue in. The idea really is to use this project to get reverse migration. In this community there is an in surge of young people leaving for Europe through Libya. They are dying in the Mediterranean sea as they try to transit to European countries and I think if you can do something for the young ones to showcase their talent and set up a structure that can tap into that talent, that talent will be taking to great heights,” he said.
Applauded for his success by judges Nomoreloss, Elcee, Monique and Sydney a clearly delighted Godspower can’t wait to release his first single and advised young people who were still thinking of going to Europe through the desert to have a rethink.
“I will want to tell them if you are in your country love your country. Nigeria has great opportunities here. I don’t know why they are running away from a country with potentials. I believe that everybody has a talent that needs to be harnessed; it will only take you to look and identify your talent and use it to prosper. Trying to risk your life by going to Libya to cross over to Europe on dangerous boats is not worth the trouble. I wish my story will touch them to believe in themselves and take a decision not to run away from their country,” BOJ said.
He walks away with a recording contract from Dihoo Records, a cash sum of Two hundred Thousand Naira (N200,000) and a trip to Dublin, Ireland to attend the Miss Nigeria Ireland 2015 Pageant where he is expected to perform at the Crowne Plaza Hotel courtesy of Perod’s Foundation, sponsors of Miss Nigeria Ireland beauty pageant.
The first and second runners up got cash prizes of One hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000) and Fifty thousand Naira (N50,000) respectively and will also enjoy an all-expenses paid trip to Dublin for the same event.
Ogun disclosed that he decided to extend the opportunity to all winners when it turned out a physically challenged contestant won the show.
“The initial promise was to go with the winner to Dublin, to perform in but as it turned out today, a physically challenged guy turned out to be the winner and I felt the second and third did well and could also assist him. I decided to give all of them an opportunity. We promised them a platform world, we are doing that now and by next week, they will be living their dream of becoming international super stars.”
Cobhams Asuquo is my role model—Godspower
After the event, Godspower Ikharehon a.k.a BOJ took time to share his pains, gain, his plans, education and many more in this interview after he was announce the winner of the debut music talent show.
What genre of music do you play?
I play gospel songs.
How do you get inspirations to write your music?
I love singing so much. I do listen to gospel music a lot; I enjoy gospel artistes like Sinach, Frank Edwards and Sinach. They inspire me a lot.
How old are you and how was growing up?
I am 18 years old and I grew up in a family that was very religious.
What inspire you to start singing?
Whenever I go to church and listen to people sing I feel very happy. In fact, inside me I would wish I was the one doing the songs. There were times I felt hopeless at such moments especially with my condition. I used to say people can walk, sing, see and here I am not being able to see; I felt that was how my life would be wasted but one day I took a decision and made a step to start singing. That decision helped me to get over self-pity and built my confidence that music is for me. Since then, I have never looked back and I must say that immediately I took that first step, God took it up from there.
If you had not been declared the winner of this show would have felt indifferent?
I will feel bad but will also be happy for the winner.
Did you ever think you would be the winner in this talent hunt?
While I was at home I usually believed that I would win but when the auditions started and I started hearing some of the contestants sing, I was afraid that I had lost it all.
One of the judges mentioned that your disability seems to be an ability for you in this contest, how does your condition help you?
My condition helped me to be serious in the sense that when I hear the performances of the other contestants, I would be spurred to work harder. The fact that I don’t see their faces is an advantage to me and I worked hard.
One artistes in Nigeria, Cobhams Asuquo, is also visually impaired but have made a name for himself in the Nigeria and African music scene, does he inspired you?
I do listen to his music and I love the songs he produces. I will say he is a role model to me.
Were you born with this condition?
According to my mum, she said that when I was two years old I had an eye infection but I don’t recall that has have never seen anything.
How have you been coping with your education?
I attend the school of the blind and they have specialized materials for us, braille and also, there is software we install in the laptop that makes it the system to be talking, I also have it on my cell phone so through that means it is easy for us to learn. I am coping very well with my education.
What do you have to say about the SOO Live The Dream Project sponsored by your representative?
I will say it is a very laudable project and I will say God will bless and protect Hon. Sergius Ogun for starting up a project like this. I pray that he lives long and keep doing the good things he has been doing for the community.
There is a problem in Edo State among the youths; so many of them are going to Libya in mass in an attempt to cross over to European countries through the Mediterranean Sea, having won this competition set up to tackle this menace, what message do you have for such young people?
I will want to tell them if you are in your country love your country. Nigeria has great opportunities here. I don’t know why they are running away from a country with potentials. I believe that everybody has a talent that needs to be harnessed; it will only take you to look and identify your talent and use it to prosper. Trying to risk your life by going to Libya to cross over to Europe on dangerous boats is not worth the trouble. I wish my story will touch them to believe in themselves and take a decision not to run away from their country.
How will you spend your cash prize?
I will spend it wisely; I will economize and save my prize money.
You will be going to Europe next week as the winner of the event, how do you feel?
I feel very happy because I have never been there before. And I never thought it will come so soon.
Nigerian Artistes Produce Noise And Not Music -Deborah Christy Odiboh
16-year-old Christy Odiboh emerge the first runner-up at the just concluded SOO Live The Dream Music Talent Hunt, she share her joy and plans in the chart.
How old are you?
I am going to be 16 in November.
You gave the vote of thanks on behalf of the winners in this competition and were very emotional about it, what caused the tears?
I don’t know how to hold much joy or pain. Also when I am angry I let it out and the same happens when I am happy. This is the first time I have been overcome by emotions because of what our Rep member did for his constituency.
Your father is a lawyer and one would have thought the apple will not fall far from the tree, how did you get interested in music?
My dad used to tell me that he was in a band during his secondary school days but my mum is a great singer who could not realize her dream of being a singer due to some challenges. She has always loved to be a superstar; I think I got the singing and dancing trait from my mum.
All the songs you performed from the auditions to the grand finale were foreign songs, do you listen to Nigeria artistes?
I am sorry to say this to all Nigerian artistes; I don’t really listen to their music and feel that Nigerian artistes make a lot of noise in their songs and don’t send any messages through their songs. But when you listen to Soul, Blues or R &B, they send messages and even if the songs are not advisory in nature, there are songs you listen to and you see that the lyrics pours out your heart and how you feel. They express your feelings. And when I talk about foreign music I don’t mean the recent ones, I am referring to those older musicians like Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, those great musicians that know what they are really doing.
What kind of songs should we expect from you?
I think it is going to be country music; I write country music like Dolly Parton. My mum tells me that I write country songs and that’s the kind of music I am looking forward to produce.
You are still a student in your final year in high school, what do you want to study at the university?
I want to study lawyer and not because my father is a lawyer but because I love justice; I don’t like intimidation and oppression. I am bold and I always like to help people get out of trouble.
What do you have to the organizers of this show?
To the organizers, I will say Thank you.
Coming second in a talent hunt is a life changing experience as it offers you a platform to actualize your dreams unlike your mum and you will be leaving for Europe next week, how do you hope to manage your education and quest to be a lawyer on one hand and your music career on the other?
I will manage the two all right. I have a dream of establishing a law firm even as I flourish in my career in music. I have a dual personality and will use that to my advantage. When I am on stage I will be Deborah Christy the musician and inside the court house, I will be Deborah the lawyer.