Ghana’s entertainment industry has seen several music reality shows spring up over the past 2 decades or so; Stars of the Future, Mtn Hitmaker, Vodafone Icons, Mentor by Tv3, as well as other smaller contest of such nature organised in several parts of the country.
A lot of raw talent is nurtured during such reality shows. However, incredibly few have been able to maintain relevance in mainstream music.
Some may argue that our industry is not favorable for up-comers or underground acts, but I beg to differ. There are several of these music reality show contestants who go into such contest with one of two reasons (fame and money), and not necessarily to develop or harness their talent –it is a main reason they fail.
In recent times, one gentleman who could have done better after the winning a top singing reality show is Kumasi -based singer Ryan Korsah. After winning Vodafone Icons, he disappeared with just one single, which failed to achieve impact of any kind. His predecessor, Chris who has even collaborated with international gospel singer Sonnie Badu, has also seemingly evaporated from the scenes. The scenarios are too many to mention, but you get my drift.
Here’s a question: where are the several winners from Tv3’s Mentor, famously judged by music mogul Mark Okraku-Mantey? Where are the several alumni from Charter House’s Stars of the Future ?
Do we, as an industry, have structures in place to see the transition of such talents from amateur to top-notch musicians who would compete favorably with their African and global counterparts?
What is the essence of organising such reality shows if its contestants/ winners are not groomed into actual stars?
With the exemption of the likes of Koo Ntakra, Strongman and Tee Phlow, who have been able to make a name beyond the competitions the appeared in, several others are missing.
Elsewhere, music reality shows have unearthed a lot of talents including Celine Dion, Jordan Sparks, Carie Underwood, as well as our very own Reggie N Bollie. What is different?
It is important to be conscious of posterity as music players, and while contestants should revise their ambitions for such competitions (so that it’s ultimately about genuine passion for the art), organizers of these competitions, must somehow still be involved with the artist’s development and ethic beyond the shows as they (participants of these shows) continue to be ambassadors of their brand long beyond the end of the competition. Make sure that the artist becomes fully invested in the industry, for that is the true measure of success, if you ask me.
I’m hopeful for the future of talent shows regardless, I really am. Let’s’ just sanitize a few things, and we’ll do even greater things.