One a cold Sunday afternoon, a teenager from Railways in Limbe convinces himself he has what it takes to be Malawi’s next music sensation.
So, he treks to Sunbird Mount Soche for the Search for a Star auditions and is among the 11 that impress the judges.
And soon the show kicks off, but the 19-year-old is not among those that impress both the judges and the audience or one of the two as he performs dismally during the opening night.
But that slight hitch only motivates McLuther Mambala, who notices his shortfalls and bounces back at the first eviction show with a performance that leaves everyone impressed.
And on the show’s final day, he emerges a victor to win K500 000 and a recording deal from Nde’feyo Entertainment.
And his winning did not come as a surprise, he confesses. Even in the absence of his words, the lad surprised patrons, as shortly after he was announced winner, he fetched a written speech from his faded denim and read it.
“This is one of my happiest days. Thanks to God and all who voted for me to be here as a winner,” said the emotional McLuther, who had fought tears earlier on.
But what made him win?
“If you remember very well, I did not have so much of a good show during the launch. However, I took note of the judges’ advice and worked on my flaws and kept on improving throughout the show. So, my secret to winning was to work on the negatives the judges were pointing out in my performances and turn them into my strengths,” said McLuther.
The new muso was hailed by the judges as being daring because of his choice of songs yet he delivered and nailed them with ease.
“It was indeed challenging at times for me to do the songs I was choosing. There were instances where I was not sure of my choice. But I had to prove my worth as a musician by tackling them,” he stated.
McLuther says his parents have been instrumental in his pursuit of being a musician.
“My parents have been helpful. They both love music and are singers at church, as such they have been the force behind me. There were times when I would practice my song for that week with my mum.
“She even chose the song I performed during the Malawi Night, where my time on stage excited many that gathered at Mount Soche,” he recalls.
McLuther plans to invest the prize money into his music career.
“I love music and I will do anything to make my career work. I have done music digitally, now I want to do it manually. This will be in form of equipment among others,” he said.
He also has plans of going to a music school to complement his talent and do what some do in other countries as well as work on his album.
“I am into music so seriously that I will be releasing my album, but I can’t say how soon. I have four songs which I recorded on my own. It was one of those things I did out of pleasure just to see what I can do,” he mused.
The competition has also resulted in McLuther learning music instruments and his goal is to perfect his skills.
He explains: “During the competition, my friend Alipo was teaching me how to play the guitar which I am able to do now, but now I want to master it. Again, I would also want to perfect my piano skills so that at least, as a musician, I should be able to play an instrument.”
Put to him as to who his biggest threat in the competition was, McLuther mentions John Chiumia, alias Rasta.
“All the finalists were good, but the person who posed so much competition to me was Rastaman. At every eviction show, I would tell that his fan base was increasing regardless of where the show was being held. The guy is just awesome,” he says.
McLuther’s mother Tendai was ecstatic with her son’s newly found status and narrates how he has always been a musician.
“When he told me he was going to audition, I asked him what are you going to do there? But as the competition progressed and having watched him perform, I started to encourage him. We will continue helping him wherever he needs support.
“He has been interested in music since he was young. When I joined the church choir at Nthemba SDA, he also joined and was the youngest of the group. Before he joined the church choir, he was singing with his peers in a group called Little Davids, as he grew a bit older, he joined the church choir. Even at home, the noise that comes from his bedroom is that of music,” she said.