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A Talent Show Focused On Impact Beyond Entertainment



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With a youth population of over 30 million, one of Nigeria’s largest resources is its young people. For years, MTN has stood by its commitments to Nigerians -young and old alike- to empower them and enable their dreams, most recently through its “Turn It Up” initiative. 

MTN Y'ello Star

Besides its many initiatives and scholarships that provide an opportunity for exceptional or disabled Nigerians to secure funding to obtain a university degree, MTN is also one of the biggest supporters of the Nigerian music industry. 

MTN’s achievement in making music easily and digitally accessible to Nigerians is well known in its innovation with the Caller Tunes and Ringback Tune. MTN also has an ongoing partnership with the MUSON School of Music to train talented young Nigerians in classical music.  

The brand sponsored project Fame West Africa, one of the longest running talent shows in Nigeria. The music talent competition ran nine seasons in nine years and introduced the likes of Chidinma and Iyanya to fame. 

As an ICT company, MTN has created its own music competition template – Y’ello Star. This time, the competition will be geared towards empowerment more than entertainment. 

There are increased packages and privileges for all participants of the show, the competition also makes a departure from the winner takes all format of other reality shows, even though the winner of the competition will enjoy juicy prizes including a cash prize of 5 million Naira, a car and a fully furnished apartment containing a studio. 

But beyond these quantifiable prizes, the show provides the contestants with access to some of the best educational institutions in the world, through its partnerships with Henley Business School and the admired Berklee College of Music, the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world. Berklee alumni members have won 297 Grammy Awards amongst several other notable awards. 

Some of the most decorated music producers from Berklee will train the Y’ello Star contestants on the technical aspects of music creation whilst record makers will be available to take the contestants through this process. 

They will also be gaining much needed insight into the business of making music. Repeatedly, creatives have shown that they are not adept at the business of making music. In signing contracts, coming to agreement, financing, distributing and monetizing their art. 

Henley School of Business, one of the foremost business schools in the world, will take all 14 final contestants through rigorous training into the world of music. Empowering them to avoid the common pitfalls in the music industry, and to increase their chances of sustained success. 

The winner of the show will be working with one of the judges, multi-Grammy award-winning producer, Malik Yusef, to create an original single, as well as get access to record music with some of the best in the world. 

Afrinolly Creative Hub, located in Lagos, Africa’s premier “creator’s space opened for filmmakers, screenwriters, mobile technology developers, animators, artists and other creatives”, is MTN Yello Star’s technical partner. Afrinolly has primarily been responsible for building the Y’ello Star “Hub”. This is where the contestants will be spending the next couple of weeks, for the duration of the show. 

Contestants will meet with their coaches, producers, and judges in the Hub, while working, collaborating and living together. 

According to Richard Iweanoge, General Manager, Brand and Communications for MTN Nigeria, “The Y’ello star platform was created to give Nigerians the opportunity to engage with the very best in the world. This opportunity is also not limited to just the final winner, but to all participants.”

The Y’ello Star organizers have deviated from the established format of talent shows in Nigeria, by introducing rare and truly impactful opportunities as part of its prize structure, with an emphasis on empowerment, more than entertainment.

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