Cheat Sheet about Winning a Musical Contest

Hmm…

What you are about to read is a personal experience borne out of many years of meddling with great and successful minds, learning principles, studying, rehearsing, observing and a whole lot.

I will start from the beginning.

Some time is 2008 I started reading a book titled “Cracking the Millionaire Code” by Robert G. Allen and Mark Victor Hansen, where I learnt that I could write myself a cheque of a specific amount, place it at a conspicuous position so that it would always be in sight, and say to myself several times a day, “Someone will give me 1 million naira”.  

I did it and that was the prize money I won at the MTN Project Fame West Africa Season 2 in 2009. And you know what? There was a Toyota Yaris that came along with the ‘1-million-naira dream’. It all started materializing when I saw Season 1 finals on TV and WITHOUT THINKING I told myself if I ever contested in the competition, I would win.

For me to be 2nd runner up in that musical reality show, I had to imbibe a particular mindset, attitude, disposition, speech, discipline, rehearsal and of course, it took prayers and listening for direction from God. It may be different for others, but that is it for me.

It really does not matter whether you believe what I am about to say or not, but it is what it is – Everything in life has a spiritual undertone.  From the very moment I noticed that the spotlight was being shone on Mike, I knew I had to do something and do it fast. I know who I am, I know my pedigree is not the type to be ignored or pushed aside, so I prayed and redirected the spotlight on myself from the spirit realm and that was the beginning of my outshining in the competition. Slowly but surely, we got to Week 7 then God showed me I was going to be put up for probation but even at that, God showed up and reassured me that it was not my time to leave the competition.

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I must not fail to mention the politics in TV reality shows. It is just natural, so expect it. Try as much as possible to be good to your competitors and good at what you do, lest the day of reckoning catches up with you when you least expect. At that point, politics will rear its ugly head. It does not matter if you are the nicest guy in the house, the moment someone sees you as a competitor and you are on probation – you are out. Never put yourself in a position to be saved by your colleagues because they are there to win just like you.

Nobody com sell groundnut or count bridge for Lagos oooooo.

Always and I repeat, always be at your best performance.

I would be doing you a lot of disservice if I do not mention that I almost willingly dropped out of the competition in the second week. I felt like fish out of water simply because of my strong Christian beliefs but God asked me, “If your theatre arts lecturer gives you a part to act in a project, would you do it or not?” My answer was, “Yes, I would” and He said, “Go and act your part”. So, I did. Let me add a caveat here – You must know God’s voice and know your boundaries too.

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Talking about knowing God’s voice, I must say emphatically that I enjoyed a lot of direction from God and you can too. From stage mapping (i.e., how I move, dance and conduct my performance per time) to being told I would not win the competition but come 3rd, to knowing that the faculty would save me when I went on probation – all these I attribute to God’s voice.

Another factor to consider if you wish to win a musical competition is “Be believable”. The judges and the faculty can literally see through you. They know when you are in sync and the very second you disconnect from your art. This is where your imagination and emotions come into play. I literally made myself fall in love with Denice when we were paired to render ‘Secret Lovers’ by Atlantic Stars and it was so obvious that someone walked up to my wife on her way home after the show and told her “Do you really think your husband is not in love with that girl?” That was how believable I made myself to be. Your imagination and emotion would help you do that.

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Your rehearsals are as important as your performance and I would say more important, because as you rehearse, you encode and program your mental hardware with the physical and emotional resources needed for the actual performance. Never forget, ‘Garbage in, garbage out’. You must note that practice does not make perfect, but perfect practice makes perfect, so take your rehearsal time very seriously.

My next point should have come at the beginning but its better late than never.

Your choice of songs for your audition has the potential to make or mar your progress in a musical reality show. Some judges would give you an extremely simple song and would like to see how you can make it sound unique. Your creativity and how much you invest in your personal rehearsal sessions will make or break you at this point. I remember rehearsing a song for seven straight hours and did two hours top up on the same song on the same day.  Seven years after, it is as if I just learnt the song yesterday. Remember, perfect practice makes perfect.

Last but not the least, ensure music is your thing and not just a fling!

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