Do You Have The Voice


Vanessa Obioha

Music reality shows have always been one of the surest ways to discover and reward talents, particularly for talents looking for a shot at fame in the expanding music industry. Think of artistes like Darey, KCee, Yemi Alade, Praiz, Arese. These artistes found fame by participating in one singing competition or the other.

From the 2000s when singing competitions became prominent on our airwaves, it has always been a staple in most Nigerian homes as families gather to watch contestants vie for a spot in the limelight. That feeling of excitement and anxiety watching contestants sing their hearts out to win a vote of confidence from the judges and ultimately the audience is one of the key drivers of entertainment in such shows. The script of most reality shows is almost similar: contestants audition; judges assess their performances, while viewers get the final say on who will emerge the winner.

But when The Voice Nigeria launched in 2016, it changed the script automatically by empowering both the coaches and talents, as they prefer to call it, to heighten that excitement. It came with a unique format that allowed talents to have a say in the competition. Through its blind auditions, contestants who compel coaches to turn their chairs have the golden opportunity to choose which of the coaches they want. It is always a thrilling spectacle watching the coaches pitch themselves to the contestants. Another exciting thrill of The Voice is the ability of coaches to steal contestants who they believe deserve another chance in the game. All of these made The Voice, a successful global franchise. Bringing the format home surely raised the bar for reality TV shows in Nigeria.

Since its inception, The Voice Nigeria has been a stage for big dreams and big vocals. It is a platform that brings all the vocal spectacle on one stage, celebrating the best talents in the country. And in a country like Nigeria, where music serves as an art of unity and felicity, there is a growing number of youths looking for opportunities to showcase their tenor. These are talents who are faced with one struggle or the other in achieving their vocal dreams. Take, for instance, Idyl, The Voice Nigeria season 2 winner.

Idyl is a young man from Bayelsa state who evinced interest in music from a young age. But with little or no opportunity in the music industry, he settled for singing karaoke at bars. Opportunity beckoned when a talent scout noticed him and offered to send him to the UK for a singing competition. Though Idyl wasn’t granted a UK visa, he was able to hone his skills at the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) before finally taking the bold step to participate in the reality competition where he clinched the coveted crown. With a recording deal with Universal Music Africa and other prizes, Idyl finally achieved his dream to be recognised for his voice.

Now back for the third season, The Voice Nigeria is looking forward to making another dream come true. It announced its grand comeback with an N100 million worth of prizes for both viewers and the overall winner. More so, the winner lands a one-year recording deal with one of the leading international record labels globally, Universal Music Group, as well as a brand new car. This will be made possible by First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Baba Ijebu and other sponsors who are throwing their weight behind the show as their contribution to promote the music industry in Nigeria.

This year’s event will follow the similar pattern of previous editions: blind auditions, battles and live shows. However, with the constraints on social gathering as a result of the pandemic, interested participants are to register via the link with their FirstBank account number as a requirement. Should one not have an account with the Bank, then dial the Bank’s USSD code, *894*0# to be a FirstBank account holder. Once shortlisted, contestants are to send their blind auditions virtually.

According to Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communication, “FirstBank has given voice to Nigerians for the past 126 years, and will continue to give voice to Nigerians by creating employment, economic empowerment in the country through its products, services and initiatives and it remains committed to strengthening the creative industry which is fast growing into a multibillion-dollar business, with potential to be a leading contributor to Nigeria’s GDP in the near future.”

She added that the bank’s support for the Voice Nigeria is “a demonstration of the bank’s commitment to contributing to the projected revenue of USD86 million by 2021 from Nigeria’s music industry aimed at promoting a diversified economy in line with the Federal Government’s diversification policy.”

Registration for the audition which is ongoing is open to individuals within the age of 18-50 years who have been residing in Nigeria for 12 consecutive months. The window for registration will, however, close on September 19.

By November, viewers can now watch the exciting show organised and packaged by UN1TY Nigeria and UK broadcaster ITV on Africa Magic Channels on DStv, Startimes and AIT.

This year’s edition which will be produced in Nigeria will see returning judges Waje and Yemi Alade joined by first-time judges Darey and Falz. Also, for the first time, the show will have two female hosts, Toke Makinwa and Nancy Isime, a brilliant showcase of girl power.

With The Voice Nigeria, participants can be guaranteed that their voice will be heard irrespective of their genres, as long as they have what it takes to impress fans and judges. So the question remains, do you have the voice to emerge season 3 winner?