By Sunday Okobi and Ugo Aliogo

The season 2 of Airtel Trace Music Star, the biggest pan-African talent search competition, has commenced in Nigeria, with renowned American vocalist and songwriter, Keri Hilson, as judge/mentor in the music talent show.

Airtel Nigeria, and its partner, TRACE TV, announced the commencement of Season 2 yesterday at a press launch held in Lagos.

Speaking at the event, Chief Commercial Officer, Airtel Nigeria, Ahmad Mokhles, noted that Airtel is pleased to partner with TRACE to bring excitement, joy and laughter to millions of Nigerians through TRACE platform and also empower talented Nigerians and African youths with a credible ladder to stardom.

“Indeed, Airtel is passionate about creating platforms that delight, excite, entertain, engage and empower talented youths as well as telecoms consumers across the country. TRACE demonstrates our commitment to our vision of connecting talented Nigerian youths to their dreams.

“The sponsorship of TRACE is yet another eloquent testimony of Airtel’s commitment to empowering young, talented Nigerians. As Nigeria’s smartphone network of choice, we are always excited to enter partnerships that connect the Nigerian youths to their dreams and we are very excited about the opportunities that TRACE presents,” Mokhles said.

The Managing Director, Trace Music Star, Nigeria and Anglo-African countries, Sam Onyemelukwe, noted that the contest recorded 2.3 million calls in Season 1 and this season would definitely be bigger.

“The mobile phone based-method of entering the competition-the power of technology-enables many Nigerians to participate in the show, thereby eliminating barriers of distances, cost and stress of travelling in order to enter for the contest,” he explained, adding that the lines will soon be opened for people to send in their entries,” he stated.

Now in its second season, this year’s Airtel TRACE Music Star competition will see Niger join Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Zambia as the newest African territories to enter the competition from February 1, 2016. The best singing talent in each territory will be identified, rewarded and put in competition to run for the title of best African music talent.

According to the organisers, to participate, contestants will need to dial 5678 from their mobile phones, record their songs to stand a chance to become the next big music star in Africa. The grand finale will be held in Lagos in June this year.