talkmedia Nigeria had a chat with Leslie Kasumba, Channel O Africa manager, and she gave some key insights into the nominees selection, the theme for this year’s awards and what viewers can expect from #CHOAMVA14.
What will be the theme for this year?
As usual we have an exciting theme for the awards. This year expect the Fast and Furious.
Who can we expect to perform at #CHOAMVA14?
We are still finalising plans but fans should expect a selection of some of Africa’s most talented performers, so stay tuned for the upcoming announcement.
Can you take us through the process of how the nominees were shortlisted?
Lists were sent out to DJs across the continent with videos that aired on Channel O between 1 June 2013 and 31 May 2014. They voted in each category, sent the votes back and we tallied them. We chose DJs to make the selection because they direct music culture in clubs and on the streets and are in touch with what audiences listen to. So we worked towards getting a list of the biggest songs in Africa in each category.
It’s always challenging because sometimes someone who is big in their country may not yet be popular in other regions, but it’s also a good thing because we end up with a truly pan-African list. The artists that make the list consider it a huge deal and each year the talent in Africa grows in leaps and bounds so many artists just miss making the cut. It is really an ode to the tremendous growth of the music industry in Africa.
Unlike previous editions were voting was done by SMS, we noticed that voting will only be done via the Channel O website and WeChat this year, why is this the case?
Firstly we recognise the challenge of having an international SMS number so we decided to stop using this method. The process this year is a lot more streamlined and easier for voters.
Secondly, we wanted to make it cleaner. Instead of having a million ways to vote we cut it down to two simple ways that are easy to remember and pretty much come at no cost. WeChat is an app that can be downloaded on any smartphone and viewers can also vote by visiting www.channelo.tv. People can also follow @channeloafrica on Twitter to find out more info or ask any questions around voting.
What are the challenges that comes with organising such a big event?
The biggest challenge comes is trying to get a nominee list that resonates with Africa as a whole. Secondly, coming up with creative ways to execute a world-class show that is bigger and better than previous editions. It is also important to ensure an exciting and enjoyable trip for all the nominees and guests.
So what are some of the new exciting elements to expect at #CHOAMVA14?
Fast cars, hot girls and fly guys serving as the backdrop of the best awards show for African music talent. Those in the arena will feel like they are on the set of an exciting movie or part of a unique car show experience. Audiences watching on Channel O, will know they should have been live at the event. We are trying something different and more interactive with our staging so hopefully it will be something never done before in Africa.
Nigeria this year has the highest number of nominations with 28, what has that got to say about the music scene in Africa?
I think it’s important to remember that music can never and has never acted independently of what is happening in general global culture. Nigeria is the number one economy in Africa. Africa is the next great destination in the world. African music is fast becoming the centre of global popular culture and Nigeria is the biggest producer of music in general in Africa. So based on ratio and numbers, it’s exactly reflective of what is happening.
Secondly, there was a time when everyone wanted to be American. As a young African, those were our heroes. Tables have turned now. I have cousins and friends in Uganda, for example, who speak Naija slang. It’s what is popular at the moment. With that said, one never knows what the future holds and how trends may change and just world culture. In a few years it could be a different region or better yet African music could become morphed (even in its diversity) into one. It’s exciting because music changes as people change. So it’s as unpredictable as it is predictable.
The awards show is now in its 11th year. What does this say about the quality of music videos from Africa?
The quality of music videos from Africa has improved tremendously. These days, African music videos are shot by world-class music video directors and the level of creativity applied has also grown in leaps and bounds. Each year, it’s becoming more difficult to keep track of all the new fantastic music videos and make a selection for the awards. So yes it’s growing, it has grown and it’s exciting to be part of this generation and era. The golden era of African music, I believe, where African music has gone from being cool just because it’s politically correct to being appreciated because it’s awesome music.