Episode 2 of MTN Hitmaker 9 ended when 19 contestants from the live auditions qualified for the bootcamp sessions; to be groomed and readied for the main event. While it was euphoria to make it to bootcamp, that also spelled the end of the road for seven (7) contestants as only 12 would be needed for the Hitmaker 9 talent competition.
This season’s co-host, Sika Osei, welcomed the contestants into the MTN Hitmaker 9 boot camp and spelt out the expectations to psyche them to bring out their best.
The two-day boot camp saw all 19 contestants participating in a series of master class sessions — in voice training as well as in songwriting and stage performance.
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Hitmaker 9 Bootcamp
Performance and music basics
The first day of bootcamp took off with the contestants being taken through a series of vocal preparation and warm-up, aside from songwriting and stage performance sessions.
Sandra Huson — a vocal coach — guided the contestants through a voice training class; giving them exercises in lip trills, facial muscles relaxation, warm-up, breathe control as well as in vocalisation.
The CEO of Lynx Entertainment — Richie Mensah — who also happens to be a judge in this year’s competition, took the contestants through the songwriting master class. He did well to brief them about the processes involved in writing a song; while paying attention to the cultural flow and the expectations of listeners. Talk about ‘demand and supply.’
Brand talk with MTN
MTN Ghana’s Corporate Communications representative for media relations, Afia Serwa Boateng, was on hand to brief the future hitmakers on what the MTN brand stands for and how they can become ambassadors of MTN. She touched on all that the telecommunications firm was doing in the area of corporate social responsibility (CSR), which includes the Hitmaker competition as well.
The contestants also knew how they could monetize their original compositions through CRBT (caller ring back tone) and Music Time — a streaming service — even while competing.
As a surprise package for the MTN Hitmaker Bootcamp Day 1, there was a special appearance of Kidi, the “Sugar Daddy.”
Kidi, a winner of MTN Hitmaker season 4, shared his moments as a contestant with the team. He encouraged them to ‘mind nobody’ and not be intimidated by others who may be more talented vocally. Kidi advised the competitors to do well to develop other aspects of their performance as things like stagecraft could be the difference-maker in crucial stages.
Speaking on his career, he made it clear that stardom is not a guarantee as they would have to learn how the industry works and how to get the trends to favour them.
This is where the number of contestants got trimmed down to 12. But before the scissors got employed, the following happened:
Moment with Eazzy
Eazzy, the First Lady, gave the contestants a pep talk on the need to brand themselves appropriately (styling to fit) as it does a lot in endearing them to their fans. She stressed the need for them to have a creative or industry idol to whom they may look up to while developing their styles.
Performance management with Mr. Drew
Mr Drew, who was the first runner-up in the 6th edition of MTN Hitmaker, also came through with some stage management and performance tips. He enlightened them on the need to take up some cardio and aerobic exercises, so they don’t run out of breath during energetic performances. Also, the contestants learned the importance of interacting with the cameras on-stage and which gestures to emote at particular moments during a performance.
MTN Hitmaker 9: The final 12
After the master class sessions, the contestants had to draw on the knowledge acquired to impress the judges. All 19 of them gave a good account of their vocal talents and abilities. Unfortunately, only 12 could make it to the final stage of the audition.
Below are the 12 contestants who made it to the main show of MTN Hitmaker 9:
Othniel Nii Odai Adjei aka Bryan. Othniel is 24 and hails from Accra New town. He has an exceptional gift guaranteed to blow your socks off.
This masked wonder goes by the name Adepa. She’s got a trick or two up her sleeve you don’t want to miss.
Joshua Owusu Afriyie goes by the stage name Josh Black and he’s 25. Josh is a full-time singer-songwriter, musician and producer with some amazing cooking and baking skills aside singing. Look out for this guitar-wielding maestro.
She’s Nessa Cute, 20 years old and she hails from Kumasi but is currently repping Tema.
19-year-old Kobby is bringing his A-game to this competition.
Ekua Achiaa is 23 and describes herself as a positive spirit with a great sense of humour. Repping Lapaz, she promises to dazzle us all with her amazing vocals.
Meet the only rapper in the game this season. Kwaci Boat guarantees nothing but fun and entertainment with his bars and lyrical jabs. We can’t wait to see more.
Jimi is a star in the making.
24-year-old Ronny Bryan Johnson loves to smile as much as he loves to sing.
Pashyn promises to bring some positive vibe to the show with her melodious voice. She is 24 years old.
Meet Gabi Nova, a talented young gentleman with the determination of a warrior.
Mimi sings very well and seem to win the admiration of many. Let’s hope that admiration is able to sustain her throughout the show. She is 20 years.
MTN Hitmaker 9, Unlock Your Flow.