Lonestar Cell MTN inaugural Y’ello Star talent contest came to a rousing end Saturday, September 11, 2021, with one contestant winning the coveted title: MTN Y’ello Star.
The winner, Candace Cooper, is a 19-year-old sophomore at Stella Maris Polytechnical University studying primary education.
MTN Y’ello Star is a musical platform created by Lonestar Cell MTN, to discover, nurture, expose and launch new music talent in Liberia.
“I am so excited,” said Candace. “When I was on stage Saturday, I was happy, nervous, and overwhelmed about everything. I was so proud of myself. I have finally gotten the platform to do more with my talent and show people what I can do.”
The momentous ending came after three intense weeks in the Y’ello Academy, where fifteen aspiring singers out of over 300 were chosen to participate in the competition that began July 16, 2021. Contestants in the Y’ello Academy received vocal training and learnt how to write music. They also attended master classes on financial literacy, social media, brand management, and on content creation and monetisation.
Then there were evictions at the end of each week of academy learning. Candidates were evicted on a weekly basis based on their performances and voting done by the public and the judges. The judges, Capitol FM CEO Chris Wolo, Radio personality, Master Queen, and Co-Owner of Hott FM Cypher D’ King had equal weighting of 50/50 with the audience and voted for those who should remain in the competition.
Eight competitors were evicted from the Y’ello Academy, leaving the magnificent seven: Candance Cooper, Sparkle, Othniel Mathews, Grateful Pap, Brenda Wankollie, Cee-Kay, and Jesslyn Lisa Williams to compete in Saturday night’s finals.
The Grand Finale, held at the Ministerial Complex, saw competitors perform in trios, duets, and solo performances. In their solo performances, the contestants performed their original songs, written and produced within a week, which is no mean feat in the music industry. The songs delivered key messages of hope, courage and patriotism and the contestants hope they will receive good airplay locally and internationally to convey this message to the world.
Eventually, only two contestants emerged after the final round of voting during the evening: Candace Cooper and Jesslyn Lisa Williams.
These two vocal phenoms faced off in a final round of competition with their unique rendition of Love on the Brain by Rihanna. After which, Candace emerged as the winner and received a raucous applause from all present at the venue.
Lonestar Cell MTN’s new Chief Marketing Officer Abiodun Ajayi said, “We believe every hidden star and talent deserves a chance to shine bright. There are huge musical talents hidden in every part of the country and we are here to provide a platform to showcase them to the world. We are really proud that we have successfully bridged this gap with MTN Y’ello Star.”
As Lonestar Cell MTN Liberia’s first Y’ello Star, Candance will receive a Brand New Car, have her original song uploaded on the CBRT platform, receive a 1.5 million LRD record deal along with 350,000 LRD in cash. She also receives a one-year deal as a Lonestar Cell MTN Brand ambassador and 100 GB of data monthly for 1 year.
“I feel great about this. Lonestar Cell MTN is one of the biggest companies in Liberia and Africa. I am going to work hard to push the MTN Y’ello Star brand because I want to see more from next year’s contestants. This competition is not a joke. It’s business.”
Candace said that she looks forward to performing at the upcoming MTN Liberia Music Awards later this year.