Artistes set eyes on ‘The Next Pop Star’

Bruce Melodie during a past performance in Kigali. / Photo: File.

Several Rwandan artistes, upcoming and established, have submitted their applications to participate in the recently launched ‘The Next Pop Star’ with the hope of winning the Rwf50 million cash prize up for grabs for the lucky winner.

The new music contest is a 10-year project that seeks to unearth the most talented artistes in Rwanda, with a target of elevating local musical talent to the international stage through music distribution via different international music platforms.


Organised by More Events, the contest is a partnership with Network Showbizz (NSB), an American company, Sony Music, through their label SM1 Music Group and Second Nature Films seeking to support artistes and help their music distribution across the globe.


NSB, which has over the years been a leading talent agency in the East African region, is renowned for playing a crucial part in helping East African promoters book and bring American musicians Jason Derulo and Sean Kingston to Kigali to grace the Primus Guma-Guma Super Star closing ceremonies.


The competition’s highlights will be broadcast every Sunday at 4pm on the national broadcaster’s KC2 Channel.

Through ‘The Next Pop Star’ contest, NSB has built a new partnership with SM1 Music Group to unearth new talents to promote and help them distribute their music internationally.

Christian Dushime, the CEO of More Events which represents the contest stakeholders in Rwanda, told The New Times that the competition has come to create a platform for local musicians, upcoming or established, to open the door for their music to be recognised internationally.

 “We need someone to step in and hopefully others will follow.  Through ‘The Next Pop Star’, we will in the future be talking about the artistes’ music featuring in East Africa, then Africa and beyond.

“Once people see an artiste reaching that step, it will show them that it is possible that Rwanda artistes can make it through other channels,” he said.


So far, hundreds of applications have been submitted to participate in the competition since the opening on October 1. Registration is ongoing until October 18.

 According to the organisers, the competition is open to any Rwandan musician, upcoming or established, and any popular music genre is welcome for the competition.

“The competition is all about popular music. There was confusion in the beginning that only pop music aspirants are allowed to register, but we didn’t set limits to any genre. Whether you do hip-hop, cultural music, R&B, Afrobeat, Kinyatrap, or any other genre, the competition is open,” Dushime explained.

To register, artistes are required to send a short message to 1510 including their full name, age and district of residence, then follow prompts.

Once the registration is successfully completed, you receive a message with a personal registration identification (ID) to be used.

Each registered artiste is required to take a 45 to 60 second video of their performance and send it via More Events e-mail ( or via WhatsApp on 0730086382.

“In this competition, we won’t have judges, only the fans will decide who wins the prize through votes. However, it does not mean that SM1 Music, Sony Music or NSB won’t notice another artiste who didn’t win but has the talent that they can promote. That’s why we want everybody to register,” he said.

After registration, a team of industry professionals from NSB, SM1 Music Group and some local music pioneers will go through all the videos and select 60 top contestants.

At this stage, each of 60 contestants will have an equal chance to win the contest.

From then, the public will be given a platform to vote by either liking the videos of their favourite ones on designated social media platforms or vote through SMS.

There will be performances by contestants live on KC2 and a panel of popular music professionals, local and international, who will be following their performances virtually, but with no power to eliminate any of the contestants from the competition.

Some international stars like American actor Rotimi, rapper Soulja Boy and R&B musician Wanya Morris, have confirmed that they will be following the competition virtually.

The winner of the contest will walk away with a whopping Rwf50 million, including Rwf10 million cash, and the rest of the money will be spent in the production of his/her songs at either local or foreign music studios.

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