They say superstars are made behind the curtains, but there is a night to come out. Last Friday evening was such a night for Ruth Kulaisi after she was crowned the winner of the second edition of Airtel Trace Music Star, bagging a K10 million ($14 430) cash prize.
Ruth will travel to Lagos in Nigeria where she will represent the country at a Pan-African contest.
But Ruth says the battle is not yet over as she is preparing to rock the Pan African race as Malawi’s representative.
She won the national finals barely a week after getting married to musician Noel Chikoleka, commonly known as Phyzix.
“The win is an incredible marriage gift. But the journey has just begun. I am looking forward to the Pan African stage to represent my country. Already, I am planning for this big stage,” said Ruth.
She said she is not only aiming at representing the country, but winning the continental showcase.
Ruth embarked on her music career a decade ago when she released her debut album As I Am, which packed popular songs such as Naye, in 2008.
“I have been around in the music circles for some time. I released my debut album at the age of 17 while I was in Swaziland.
“And the Airtel Trace Music Star triumph is just one of the fruits of my hard labour of many years,” she said in an interview yesterday.
Ruth’s dream is to put up a great show before going to Nigerian to interact with her fans.
“My lifelong dream has been a show which I want to interact with my fans for them to choose songs that I will perform in readiness of the Pan African competition. I really need a platform to express myself musically so that my fans should get to know me better,” she said.
In Friday’s contest, Ruth emerged queen of the contest after displaying an outstanding performance in the competition’s finale held at Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe.
It was a beautiful night in the half-full Lilongwe auditorium with the five female finalists stepping up and showing exceptional talent that probably gave judges a tough time to decide the winner.
Madalitso Faziri, Triza Chatata, Kalista Kalele and Chisomo Chichi Nteteka all put up a sparkling performance with touching songs in their battle for the crown.
Ruth performed an acoustic hit Hate On Me by Jill Scott accompanied by two guitarists superbly matching her calm touching voice with a powerful audience engagement that earned her a standing ovation amidst and at the end of her performance.
The panel of judges comprising Theo Thomson, Rina and Patience Namadingo did not mince words when hosts Wezzie Kasambara and Sam Kabambe asked for their comments.
Rina applauded her for entertaining performances while Theo and Patience agreed that the singer is meant to be on the stage.
After amazing performances from the young ladies it was time to reveal the queen and the crowd shouted Ruth after she was announced owner of the crown.
Speaking after being declared winners, Ruth was all excited with the gesture that he called a God’s plan.
“I thank God and my family that has been supporting me all along, I didn’t expect to get this far. I will continue working hard to represent the country well in Nigeria so that the world should see that Malawi got talent,” she said.
In his remarks, Airtel Malawi managing director Charles Kamoto said the company is amazed with the talent that has been flagged during the elite competition.
He said “Airtel and music are inseparable that is why we are committed to make a star through Airtel Trace Music Awards and we have discovered great talent throughout the competition and we are proud of Ruth and we are hopeful that she will be the African champion”.
The continental champion will clinch a dream contract with a record label and mentorship programme with American singer-songwriter Keri Hilson in United States of America.