Cover Stories, Interviews

MTN Project Fame Season 6 gulps N400m

-Top 3 winners tell their plans

THE prestigious MTN Project Fame West Africa Season 6 which ended on Saturday, September 28, 2013, gulped over N400 million.

ENCOMIUM Weekly’s checks revealed that the telecommunications giant stamped its feet as the leader of the industry as they doubled the prizes.

Over N33 million was splashed on the six finalists.  N13.5 million cash, N10 million on cars and N10 million recording deal was splashed on them.  25 year-old winner, Olawale Ojo got N5 million, a brand new SUV jeep and recording contract worth about N10 million.  The first runner-up, Immaculate Patience Edochie pocketed N3 million and a new mid-size salon car.  Margaret Ophas who emerged second runner-up pocketed N2 million and a brand new salon car, while the third runner-up, Niniola Apata, clinched N2 million.  The best loser of the finals, Omolayo Peter went home with N1 million and Rowland Rickette, who picked the sixth position was given N500,000.

We learnt the sponsors spent over N20 million on the opening gala.  The bill covers the artiste performance, flight ticket of over 18 contestants within and outside Nigeria, crew, food and drinks of guests.  It also covers souvenirs.

Although the exact amount the anchors, Joseph Benjamin and Adora Oleh, got was not disclosed, we scooped it was within the range of N7.5 million apiece which brought it to N15 million.  The judges, TY Mix, Bibie Brew and Ade Bantu got about N5 million apiece for the 10-week show.  This is aside their feeding, accommodation and flight tickets.

The faculty members, Ige, Kaffy, Uncle Ben and Joke Silva picked about N30 million.  Kaffy and Uncle Ben shared about N15 million which was N7.5 million apiece. This was because they brought their band for the show.  Ige picked about N5 million and the academy president allegedly got close to N10 million.

Furthermore, about N40 million was splashed on publicity and adverts.  The promo ran for about five months.  This covered television promo, jingles, billboards, flyers, adverts on prints, radio and online.  We also learnt they spent over N20 million on welfare and accommodation of the 16 contestants, judges, faculty members and crew members.  This was aside the N5 million spent on costumes.  We also gathered that they gave out about N5 million for souvenir and welfare of audiences throughout the period.

 On Monday, September 30, 2013, ENCOMIUM Weekly had an exclusive chat with the winner, Olawale Ojo, first runner up, Immaculate and third runner-up, Niniola on the secret of their success.


‘My father’s discouragement powered me,’says Project Fame winner, OLAWALE OJO

olawaleHave you realized that you have won N5m and a jeep as Project Fame winner?

Yes, I think I have been able to come to terms with the reality on ground.  When I was announced winner, my mind went blank.  But I am okay now.  I am grateful to God and appreciate those who believed in me and voted for me massively.  It’s actually not all about my talent but those who believed in me and voted me to the top.

When you were going for Project Fame, what were your expectations?

I have never been to a reality show or any form of audition before.  This was my first attempt at any show or audition.  That was why I was very rigid when the show started.  A friend actually pushed me into the competition.  He said, why am I wasting my talent in the corner of my house.  I am always with my piano and deeply involved in church activities. He said it would help me polish my talent.  I was very nervous when I went for the audition.  I am glad and thank God it’s now history.

How would you describe the experience?

My first few weeks in the academy was not too pleasant.  I really didn’t have that much belief in myself.  It was tough because I would just go on stage with a frown on my face.  I was accused of singing without expressing myself.  Over time, I got over it.

When actually did you get your groove in the academy?

I think it was when I did my cover song, Asa’s song.  The moment I did the song, everything changed.  It was then I comprehended all the things the faculty members taught me and I began applying their lessons.  Also, I was sad when a member of the audience said, ‘Olawale, we love your performance but why are you shy and rigid?’  I was really sad and wept. That motivated me too.

Who among your colleagues was your greatest contender?  Did you feel intimidated by them?

I wasn’t intimidated by anyone.  I believe everyone is unique and we can’t sound like each other.  I just ensured I revealed my unique self to the house.  I also performed every song in my own original way. I put my trademark on each performance.

What were your winning strategies?

I didn’t apply much strategy.  The first thing was being myself.  The second factor was God. I also did rehearsals several times.

Which would you consider your best and worst performance in the house?

I won’t say because you can’t compare one song with the other.  They are different genres. However, I would say from the beginning of the fifth week when I sang Asa’s song, it was splendid performance all through.  So, I would say my worse moments were the first five weeks and lovely moments were the last five weeks.

What was your greatest challenge?

My greatest challenge was being nervous and rigid on stage.  However, I was able to overcome it when an old woman shouted, why are you always scared on stage?  That really touched me. It was the turning point.

We learnt your father kicked against your music pursuit?

Everything was a blessing in disguise.  My father’s discouragement really taught me how to be a fighter.  If I didn’t give it a fight, I wouldn’t have been where I am today.  His discouragement was a motivating factor that propelled me to greater heights.


What was the response when you applied for Project Fame?

He was indifferent because I am the first musician in my family.  Thus, it didn’t really appeal to him. However, when I was picked after the audition, he was happy.

What’s your plan for the money, car and contract?

I have been surviving without the money.  I will keep it for now and think of how to invest it.  The recording contract is what I’m really after, it’s not a time for me to spend but time to work.  There is a difference between spending and working. If there is one thing I can buy out of the money for now, it would be a lovely piano.  I had one but it’s not really good. I would give it to someone.

You are in 400 level in LAUTECH, how would you juggle academics and career?

I would just be myself. I was in school before Project Fame and I have been rehearsing.  Thus, it won’t disturb me much.  Let me just wait and see how it would play out because I have not tasted stardom before. I don’t know how it feels out there.

What’s your genre of music?

I am an R n’ B singer but due to my flexibility, I can perform well in other genres too.  The competition has taught me a lot.


IMMACULATE‘I will utilize the fame before spending the money’ –  IMMACULATE PATIENCE EDOCHIE, 1st runner-up

How do you feel as first runner up?

I feel grateful.  I am actually speechless.  I don’t have the right words to describe the feeling.  I am so happy. It shows that hard work pays, I am so happy.

What was your expectation while going into the academy?

My expectation was to get to the top.  I don’t know about other people but my vision was the number one slot.  However, I’m still okay with the second position.  From the onset, I performed as if I was at the final.

What were your winning strategies?

The first thing I did was to blank out my mind from the coveted prize of N5 million, SUV and a recording deal.  The reason was that when you have the consciousness that you are in a competition, you will deprive yourself of your originality.  I blanked myself out and desired to be myself and have fun.  That’s what music is.  It’s an expression of your beauty. I turned the house and stage to my sitting room where I sang myself out without the consciousness of people around me. That helped me to stay focused.  Thus, I put everything into it.

What are some of the challenges?

There were lots of emotional incidents.  The joy of it was that it made me stronger.  While in the academy I was like, ‘I am tired’ and wanted to go home. But I learnt to face it and overcome it.

Can you tell us your lowest moment?

That was the Nancy issue.  It taught me to always be prepared.  Everybody can’t like you.  It taught me how to handle issues.

What’s your plan?

I intend to disturb all of you with good music.  I will make my fans proud.  Omawumi is my mentor, she is my reference point.  She was not the winner but successful now.  It’s not about winning.  I am an achiever. Not all winners are achievers.  I intend paying back my fans with good music.

What’s your brand of music?

I love African music. However, I am diverse.  I have been working and tapping from mentors before coming to the academy.

What’s your plan for the N3 million and car?

Money is a spirit and can make you misbehave.  My plan is to relax and invest later. I want to utilize the fame first before the money.


‘I’ll push my career with my N2m cash prize’-NINIOLA APATA, 3rd runner-up

NINIHow does it feel emerging one of the winners?

I feel great, happy and grateful to God.

Were you expecting it?

Yes.  My aim was the coveted position but glad I still won something.

When the third runner up was announced, what was going through your mind?

Sincerely, my mind was blank.  Whatever would be, would be.  However, my first expression was appreciation to God.

What gave you the edge?

The God factor.  Also, I prepared myself.  The other factor was being true to myself.

What are some of the lessons learnt?

The first lesson is being myself.  Be original.  Second, I learn how to appreciate African culture. Also, I learnt how to be creative and utilize it for my own good.

What’s your plan for your N2 million?

I don’t have any plan now because when you are conscious of the fact that you have money, you will squander it.  The money would be utilized to help me push my career to limelight.


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