The founders of a gospel talent search show, Raise Gospel Stars, say the countrywide competition has unearthed Botswana’s next gospel stars after recording six debut albums with the winners of the first phase of the competition.
The winners were are Nono T from Bobonong, Worshipper Kay from Masunga, Maun’s Tee-Tee, Boi from Jwaneng, Thuto Majaga from Ghanzi and the clap-and-tap gospel group Melao-e-Lesome of Gaborone.
In an interview with Arts & Culture this week, the director and executive producer of the talent search show Apostle Joel Keitumele said that they held a successful show, which ran from 2017 until early this year. He said that throughout the auditions, they uncovered abundant talent that remains untapped in the country.
The show was sponsored to the tune of P1 million by Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA). “We are scouting for talent in areas which are usually neglected, the untapped talent.
In that time we trained and inducted participants before the actual auditions and we were just amazed at the abundant talent we saw. We have realised that there is talent in other areas but the focus is always in Gaborone. We discovered talented individuals who lack resources to make a cut in the industry,” he said. Keitumele, popularly known by his nickname Ntsoro, said that the training and induction of participants before the actual auditions was diverse and focused on branding, intellectual property and vocal training. “With my partner and producer Tshepo Lesole, we provided mentorship to the young aspiring musicians and capacitated them on issues of music as a business, and what exactly and branding.
This was to equip all of them with knowledge even those we did not pick as winners,” he said. He stated that the winners walked away with an all paid album, 200 CD copies after recording in a mobile studio. He said that the mobile studio eased the challenges of winners travelling all the way to Gaborone for recording.
“This could be dangerous for most of them especially women,” he added. Some of the winners told Arts & culture that the experienced gained from the show has been invaluable. Nono T, a 24-year-old artist was
“I have always wanted this. I thank Raise Gospel Stars for the opportunity. It took a lot of effort, strength and faith. It was demanding with a lot of focus, confidence and discipline needed but it was worth it,” she said.
Like Nono T, it was an opportunity of a lifetime for Thuto Majaga from Gantsi who had always wanted to record an album but without any resources to do that. Having been a lead singer for the better part of his adult life, he felt it was time he did something about his God-given talent. “I knew that I had been seating on my talent because of the lack of resources.
I was nervous to audition but God gave me the strength and I eventually had faith that I was chosen for this, I grateful and thankful to the Raise Gospel Stars for the opportunity,” said the 26-year-old Majaga. For Boitshepo ‘Boi’ Ntwaetsile (30), it was God’s calling to use her signing talent to preach the gospel. “God wanted me to preach His Gospel through this talent. I have the love to sing and people have always encouraged me.
This will definitely change people’s lives and mine.
It was tough as it was my first time to enter into a recording studio, but Apostle Joel and Tshepo Lesole helped me throughout to produce this powerful album,” she said.
Keitumele said that they currently preparing to launch all the winner’s albums before starting the second edition of the talent show. He said that they are also assisting the winners with the distribution of the CDs.