Grooming the next generation of sensational music stars may be a herculean task but not to the judges on MTN Y’ello Star, who are embarking on this somewhat daunting task with years of experience under their belts and the eye to spot talents who have the what it takes to succeed on a global level. Who are these judges? Meet the three anointed hands.
Olubankole Wellington a.k.a Banky W is a Nigerian singer, rapper, entrepreneur, actor and politician. His musical journey began at a tender age as an active chorister in church. That journey took a professional turn when he floated his record label, Empire Mates Entertainment (E.M.E) in 2002 while studying Industrial Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.
With his discovery abilities and brilliant musical skill, his record label served as a home to various Nigerian music stars including Wizkid, Skales, Niyola and Shaydee while he churned out numerous hits like Yes/No, Capable, Lagos Party, Strong Ting, Jasi, Omoge You Too Much, Don’t Break My Heart, Good Good Loving, amongst others. His indelible marks in the music space have also been recognized with numerous local and international awards from his college days up until now.
Omawumi Megbele, whose stage name is the same as her first name, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, and actress from Delta State. She gained recognition after emerging as runner-up of the West African Idols in 2007.
In 2009, she released her first single entitled “In The Music”, which gained a lot of recognition for the quality of production and her voice. Her second album The Lasso of Truth proved to be a huge commercial success across the country with hit songs like “If You Ask Me,” “Megbele,” “Bottom Belle,” “Without You,” “Somori,” “Ma Fi Mi Sere,” and so on. Following her success in the music scene, Omawumi has appeared on the big screen in movies such as Return of Jenifa, She Is, and Òlòtūré proving her worth also as an actor.
Malik Yusef Jones, popularly known as Malik Yusef, is an American rapper, spoken-word artist, poet, actor and music producer who was raised in south-side Chicago. He is a six-time Grammy-award winner, twenty-four-time Grammy award nominee and a seven-time American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publisher (ASCAP) winner for both pop and R&B genres.
He began his career by performing spoken word at open mic events in the late 1980s. However, he came into the limelight in 1997 when he was given the opportunity to coach Larenz Tate, the lead actor of Love Jones, on poetry. He is an artist whose lyrics address issues of national and global concerns.
He is currently a signee to Universal Music Publishing, the world’s largest music publisher, also a part of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music label, and an affiliate of Wiz Khalifa’s Taylor Gang. He has worked closely with Beyoncé, Jay Z, Drake, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Wiz Khalifa, Jenifer Hudson, Common, The Band Perry and Adam Levine.
With the show’s judges now unveiled, along with the debut season hosts, it is safe to say that fans are in for a good time when the MTN Y’ello Star maiden edition kicks off. Partnerships with renowned institutions such as the Berklee College of Music and Henley Business School, are also adding to the phenomenal package that everyone expects the debut season of MTN Y’ello Star to be.
Follow these handles for more information on the show Twitter: @MTNYelloStar, Instagram: @MTN_YelloStar and Facebook: @MTNYelloStar.