Tanzania’s Mayunga Nalimi reigned supreme in the finals of Pan-African Airtel Trace Music Stars broadcast on DStv on Saturday.
Trace Urban viewers across Africa tuned in to channel 325 to watch the grand finale and finally witness the top 13 finalists battle for the number one spot.
Malawi’s hopes were on Sam Mjura Mkandawire who from the word go impressed the judges who included, megastar Akon, renowned music executive Devyne Stevens and top-selling French Caribbean singer, Lynnsha.
The 13 finalists started the show with a performance of Akon’s Oh Africa before being grouped into threes for their first individual performances.
Mjura did his namesake Sam Smith’s Stay With Me which earned him Akon’s recognition for his talent.
The pack was reduced to six comprising Mjura, Mayunga, Laurna from Congo Brazzaville, Jitey from Nigeria, Uganda’s Sandra and Madagascar’s Natacha.
In the next round, the last six performed Silhouettes with Mjura performing John Legend’s Stay With You. Despite showing his vocal abilities, versatility of his voice ranges and wowing patrons, the panel of judges settled for Mayunga, Jitey and Laurna in their top three list.
It was clear from the moment Mayunga started singing Marc Anthony’s Baby You that he was the winner. He was so calm and well composed and interpreted the song meticulously.
Jitey, on the other hand, sang Whitney Houston’s I Will Have Nothing off-key throughout.
Laurna spoilt her dream as she let emotions overwhelm her as she cried uncontrollably. Amid tears, she repeatedly tried the song to no avail. Calm and recollected, it was too little too late for her to save the situation and possibly win.
“I honestly don’t know what happened,” he said later on stage after regaining consciousness.
For Mjura, a new chapter in his life as a musician has begun even without winning the $500 000 (about K225 million) top prize which came with a recording deal as well as a mentorship programme.
“It was a disappointment to not win it but a great opportunity as well. It isn’t the end but rather the beginning of Sam Mjura. I did my best and from the feedback even at the show, most felt I should’ve made at least top three. I felt the same way too but it wasn’t my time. I accepted that. Akon had kind words to say to me personally and I’ll keep them to myself and work hard and not give up as I have learnt a lot.
“What’s next? I will launch my album and work on producing top videos to put on TraceTV since a door has opened. I want to put my name out there and put Malawi on the map musically. I have made lots of contacts from the trace finale and you’ll hear more about these soon. Watch this space,” he said in an interview after the finale broadcast.
The Mafilika band member says given a chance, he would not change anything.
“I believe I gave the best representation of who Samuel is as an artist. And it was a close contest in the end. The judges and people’s votes especially counted. About the winner, I think he’s a great person. We became friends and he was the deserving from the top three on the day I believe. I’d like to thank Malawi for the votes. They got me to the top six in Africa. That’s big,” he explained.