FIRST COHORT OF VOICE2REP FINALISTS ARRIVE IN LAGOS 5 months ago

LAGOS, Nigeria – On January 14th, Accountability Lab Nigeria welcomed the top ten finalists in its inaugural Voice2Represent (Voice2Rep) competition in Lagos. Voice to Represent (“Voice2Rep”) is a first-of-its-kind music competition searching for promising first-time WaZoBia-Pidgin English music artists who support greater representation, participation and accountability in Nigeria. The competition gives these rising stars a platform to make their voices heard, connect with socially conscious leaders in the music industry, and build the skills they need to shape the future of the country through music. #Voice2Rep is run by Accountability Lab Nigeria in partnership with the Embassy of the Netherlands and Chocolate City – one of the largest music platforms and entertainment companies on the continent.

In its first year, Voice2Rep campaign received over 300 entries from rising artists via WhatsApp, email, website and social media channels. These entries were carefully reviewed by Chocolate City to finalize the top 50 finalists. Through a public voting campaign on Twitter, the final top ten artists were decided. These include:

Taiwo    Gbajumo aka MC Lauda
Boluwatife Adebanjo aka BLIIZZY
Valentine Uwakwe aka Khavali
Emeka Nwiba aka Emkay
Joel Nwabuisi aka Joel Prodigee
Adanna Ukwa aka AfroLucy
Olajumoke Idris aka Olajumoke
Celeste Ojatula  aka Celeste
Sharon Arowolo aka Sharonnie
Cill Soul aka Cillsoul

When asked about the Voice2Rep journey, Okundaye Aisosa, Public Relations Executive at Chocolate City Music said this year’s “applicants were very talented and this made it a more difficult selection process for us because just when you think you have heard something really good, the next one comes up sounding even better. It goes to show the amount of highly talented youth we have in the creative sector of the country. It is important to be very clear and precise with first timers, as there are a lot of expectations that needs to be realistically managed and put in proper perspective. We are definitely looking forward to working with them. The choice of music as a career is a very profitable one that hides all the hard necessary work behind the glam and glitter successfully.”
Aisosa also commended the first time artistes on the levels of originality, humility and patience. Noting that “these three qualities [in particular] will assist you in becoming a success on this chosen journey.”

This week the top ten finalists arrive in Lagos to begin the next phase of the competition, two weeks of mentorship with Nigeria’s top music professionals and civil society leaders. The Voice2Rep program dually focuses on skill building as rising music artists as well as strengthening understanding and networks to address key issues of accountability in Nigeria’s election process.

Accountability Lab Nigeria Country Director Friday Odeh also voiced his excitement of this year’s finalists, “I congratulate this passionate set of young music artistes who have come one step closer to actualizing their music careers, influencing Nigeria with their melodies and becoming the first set of winners of the Voice2Rep campaign.”

As was expected in running the campaign for the first time, the Lab experienced a few challenges in this year’s selection process. Of 300+ applications, only 10% of the applications were women. To promote greater gender balance in future campaign iterations, the organizers are exploring further marketing and awareness raising channels to encourage more female applicants to apply in the program’s next iteration. The program also received a few exceptional demo submissions from music groups that were unable to be considered due to the selection criteria, which focused only on individuals. The Lab is considering adapting selection criteria to accommodate group submissions in its next cycle in 2020.

Follow the journey of this year’s finalists and check out their demo submissions via www.voice2rep.ng or @voice2rep and #voice2rep on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter platform.

For further inquiries contact: Prince Chukwuka, Communication Officer, Accountability Lab Nigeria, at prince@accountabilitylab.org.

About Accountability Lab:
Accountability Lab Nigeria (www.accountabilitylab.org) is building a new generation of active citizens and responsible leaders across Nigeria. The Lab develops creative campaigns, runs a highly competitive accountability incubator for young civil society change-makers and develops new approaches to citizen feedback in Nigeria.

About Chocolate City:
Chocolate City Group is a 360-degree media and Entertainment Company consisting of a music label, music distribution company, management consulting firm, and a uniquely configured marketing agency all based in Nigeria. Chocolate City has offices in Lagos, Abuja and Nairobi, as well as operations in the United Kingdom, United States, South Africa and Ghana. Since its inception, Chocolate City has remained a trailblazer in terms of experience, innovation and operations in the Nigerian entertainment scene. Chocolate City continuously identifies with creativity that showcases the richness and diversity of the African culture and tells the African story.

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