Eighteen promising musicians are converging in Nairobi, where they are competing in Tusker Project Fame season six.
The contestants are from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Kenya. Rwanda was initially represented by three contestants Patrick Nyamitari, Phiona Mbabazi and Peace Jolis. However, Peace was sent packing on the first eviction show, last Sunday, alongside Dubert and Tanah from Tanzania.
The contestants are competing to win a Kshs5million prize, (Rwf35m) and a one year recording deal with Universal Music Group South Africa. In a two part series The New Times will bring you facts you didn’t know about the contestants. Today we look at contestants from Rwanda and Kenya.
Patrick Nyamitari (Rwanda)
Patrick Nyamitari is a 27-year-old, university student (final year), representing Rwanda says singing is “100% part of me”.
Growing up in Kigali, Rwanda, Nyamitari comes from an average family. The last born son of the family, Nyamitari has learned to be independent over time.
Describing himself as a bit of a mad lover, he is open to it, but will not chase it. His priority is singing. Nyamitari enjoyed his audition since it was a challenge, but he believes that he can go all the way this time around.
How far do you think you will get in this competition?
I think I will get as far as possible. I have the talent to be the winner but I will work hard to make it happen.
If you won Tusker Project Fame, what would you do with the money?
(Laughs) I would build a studio and help shape careers of the upcoming musicians in Kigali.
Who is your music role model and why?
I don’t know... (laughs) I like lots of people... but I would say R. Kelly. But if he were alive, it would be Michael Jackson.
Facts about Nyamitari:
He is now single.
He hates liars and people who act inappropriately.
His favourite colour is rouge bordeaux (which is French for Burgundy).
He has travelled to Germany in 2009.
Phionah Mbabazi (Rwanda)
Phionah Mbabazi is a 26-year-old, student in Uganda, representing Rwanda.
Mbabazi fills the space with a wonderful warm energy when she enters the room. The second born of a family that is pretty big, Mbabazi is not only part of a big family, she is also a single mum.
She is raising her three-year-old daughter Leila all on her own. So strength is something that Mbabazi has in bucket loads.
What habits annoy you the most?
Liars, disorganised people and irresponsible people.
Craziest thing you have ever done?
I told my uncle (who is a general in the army) to stand up and salute me. I was young then.
What are you really passionate about?
Orphans and music. If I won Tusker Project Fame, I would use my all to build up the orphans with musical talent.
Who is your music role model and why?
Whitney Houston. Her powerful voice and determination to sing.
Facts about Mbabazi:
She is single after she split up with the father of her child because he was not very responsible.
If she had 24 hours to live, Mbabazi would call her father to apologise for disappointing him.
She would love to visit USA and the Netherlands.
Fess, 22, is a student at the East Africa School of Media Studies, born and raised all over Kenya.
When Fess is asked about his background, this quick talking Nairobi based vocalist mentions that he was born in Mweato a single parent family. Fess made the decision to audition for Tusker Project Fame 6 after his mother (a nurse) saw the advertising and called Fess to tell him to go.
Facts about Fess:
He never leaves home without his headphones.
He would spend his last 24 hours on Earth making things right with his family and probably writing a will to make sure someone special got the stuff that meant something to him.
He believes that if he won Tusker Project Fame 6, his mother and his two brothers (one of whom is adopted) would be happiest for him.
He is currently seeing someone, and it has only been 5 months.
Amos & Josh (Kenya)
Amos is a 29-year-old graphic designer, born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya.
One half of the group ‘Amos & Josh’, Amos is the middle child of a single parent home. Inspired by ‘old school’ artistes like Bob Marley, Michael Jackson and Boyz II Men, Amos believes that music should be driven by a message.
The oldest contestant in the TPF 6 house at 29, Amos loves his chicken and loves the colour red. Amos has plans for the competition and the prize money at the end.
What is the one thing you cannot do without?
I cannot do without music. I love singing. I think a world without music is unfair. Music is life for me.
Facts about Amos:
Amos has travelled to South Korea to sing in 2012.
If he had 24 hours to live, Amos would enjoy his last hours with friends and family. Bungee jumping and sky diving are off the list as he believes it would be pointless daring death with only 24 hours left to live.
Josh, 23, is bachelors in commerce (B. Comm) student, born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya.
Josh is the first born of a family that is all boys. This soft spoken vocalist who comes alive when there is a song to be sung believes that Tusker Project Fame 6 is the chance he has been waiting for.
His plan is to take his music to new heights by working with the wonderful faculty and always being open to a new challenge or lesson.
Q: Who is your role model and why?
A: I like John Legend and Tye Tribett, because of the kind of music that they do. It is really creative and has a lot of content. It isn’t ordinary.
Q: Put your chances on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being you have no chance and 10 being you will win this thing?
A: 11 (laughs)...we’re winning this one! We have confidence and we are open to the learning process.
Q: What are the craziest things you have ever done?
A: Two things... First, asking my girlfriend out... Second, auditioning for Tusker Project Fame. Both took a lot of guts on my part.
Facts about Josh:
Josh’s favourite colour is purple.
Josh met Amos while singing with a bigger group and they formed ‘Amos and Josh’ through their connections at church.
Josh hasn’t been out of East Africa, but dreams of visiting the Bahamas one day.
Josh hates bullies and hates people who complain unnecessarily.
Nyambura, 22, is an actress and student from Nyeri, Kenya.
Born into a musical family, Nyambura was born to sing. Her dad plays the keyboard in church and her mother is always singing, so naturally, Nyambura is singing all the time.
Her stage name is ‘Sueyonce’... which is a name she was given some years ago and it just stuck. But the comparison to Beyonce doesn’t end there. Talented, beautiful and confident, Nyambura knows what she wants and knows how to get it. Nyambura has been tracking Tusker Project Fame for a while and is a big fan of the show.
Who are your musical role model(s) and why?
Emeli Sande, because she has soul. Demi Lovato, Beyonce (because no one has energy like her), Sage and Valerie Kimani.
What would you do with the money if you won Tusker Project Fame 6?
(laughs) Of course, I would have to buy land and start a business. Invest in myself.
What is your relationship status?
I am dating a guy who has been my best friend for two years and my boyfriend for one year.
Facts about Nyambura:
Nyambura can DJ, but only does so for fun.
She hates arrogant people.
She can do a split comfortably.
Nyambura hasn’t been out of East Africa but really wants to see Japan one day.
If she had 24 hours left to live, Nyambura would head out to the middle of the Indian Ocean and swim there.
Mishel is a 21-year-old music school graduate and small business owner from Nairobi, Kenya.
Growing up in an average home, Mishel is the oldest child in her family. Mishel is also the youngest of the Kenyan contestants at Tusker Project Fame 6 but the number is no indication of this girl who speaks like a sage and sings like a blues legend.
Mishel plays the guitar but is ready to learn and is very excited to get an opportunity to work with Eric Wainaina, Kavutha and Edu.
What is your relationship status?
Put your chances on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being you have no chance and 10 being you will win this thing?
I think I would say 10. We all have different voices but I think I can go all the way.
Facts about Mishel:
Mishel has a small business, styling dreadlocks.
Mishel loves vegetarian lasagne...yes, she is a vegetarian.
Mishel lived in Australia with her family when she was young.
If she had 24 hours left to live, Mishel would walk down any road with someone she wants to spend time with and do something she has never done.
Jennifer Ndilinge (Kenya)
Jennifer Ndilinge is a 24-year-old small scale business woman from Mombasa, Kenya.
The only survivor of the Mombasa auditions, Ndilinge is a born fighter. Born in Tanzania and then moving to Kenya in 2002, Ndilinge worked from an early age to help her family make ends meet, including working as a maid some time back.
Ndilinge actually hadn’t planned to attend the Tusker Project Fame 6 auditions, she was on her business errands (selling crisps that she makes herself) when she stumbled across the crowd at the Mbaraki Sports Club. Thankfully for Mombasa, her business led her right to the judges.
What is your preferred style of music, and who is your favourite artiste?
I love RnB and I love Rihanna.
Tell us one thing you cannot live without
I must always have make up and I must always look good.
Facts about Ndilinge:
She loves colour red and loves to eat wali and mala
She lives in Mombasa with her married sister.
Her ideal Saturday night involves sitting down in front of the TV and watching soap operas.