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Music of Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Source: ghanamusic.com

M-Net Names Idols West Africa Judges - Abrewa Nana Included

Together they have an audience of millions. And soon Dede Mabiaku, Abrewa Nana and Dan Foster will also speak directly to TV audiences across the continent as the judges of M-Net's must-see reality series IDOLS WEST AFRICA.

"The team is complete," says M-NET Director Joseph Hundah.

"These 3 personalities will make great judges. They understand the industry, they know what it takes to succeed and they have diverse experience. In selecting judges, the audition process was wide-ranging and detailed. This is because the show's format demands that the judges don't only have good music knowledge. They also need to have great showmanship, to really understand what makes great TV!"

Nigerian musician and Fela Kuti prot?g? Dede Mabiaku takes on a key judging role on the show along with youthful Ghanaian songstress and musician Abrewa Nana. Independent American-born, Lagos radio DJ Dan Foster joins the duo bringing with him years of commercial music knowledge from the US and Nigeria. The three main judges will also draw on the expertise of leading West African musicians who will take on guest judge roles on the show.

Further, the selection of Dede and Nana as Nigerian and Ghanaian judges serves to also reflect the importance of these markets to M-Net. Dan, chosen as the international judge because of his American roots, brings neutrality to the process and a different perspective plus his understanding of music and the show's format.

Together the judges will identify genuine talent among the thousands of IDOLS hopefuls. With a string of awards between them, Dede, Nana and Dan are looking forward to the challenge ahead, and are clear about what they are looking for. Dede lists "vocal ability, visual presentation and branding potential" as important assets while Nana says, "performance ability, confidence, charisma and professionalism" are vital qualities for contestants.

Meanwhile Dan says he will be looking "for a unique, passionate artist with a great personality and a powerful vocal cross-over ability."

And all the judges have positive expectations of IDOLS WEST AFRICA. Dede believes that IDOLS "will be a source of encouragement to young artistes and wannabes alike". He goes on to say it "will bring a new focus about Africa, via West Africa to the world."

For Nana, those taking to the IDOLS stage should remember to "have a style of your own." She also says contestants should "remember it is a competition, and you can win or lose. But whether you become a winner or not, follow your dream." And Dan offers this advice to contestants&"Perform your heart out."

With IDOLS WEST AFRICA awarding the winner a recording contract, all three judges offer up reasons for West African music success on a global stage. Dede says "good voices, great performances, versatility, improved packaging and good media exposure" play a major role. Nana agrees saying that "quality of voice and personality" are the main factors in the success of these performers.

Dan rounds off the comments stating that West African performers do well internationally because, "African rhythms and African traditions are deep; they are passionately connected and West African singers express this in unique ways."

DStv audiences will be able to watch IDOLS WEST AFRICA on M-Net from February 2007. Auditions for the show's contestants are currently ongoing and for more info, log on to www.mnetafrica.com

THE JUDGES
DEDE MABIAKU - A popular and versatile Nigerian musician, Dede Mabiaku has come along way in Afrobeat, Highlife and Jazz genres of music. A prot?g? of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Dede indeed learnt at the feet of the master. For over 10 years, he was an integral part of Fela's daily life and band, 'Egypt 80'. Dede came to the limelight opening at all Fela's local and international shows, performing vocals and playing the saxophone.

A graduate from the Department of Theatre Arts at the University of Benin, Dede holds a B.A. Honours degree. A huge crowd favourite at concerts, Dede says that "The time has come for African music to finally take the center of the world stage. Africans only need to package and manage our artists and art a lot better. The future is great."

ABREWA NANA - A household name in Ghana, 27 year-old Abrewa Nana is the first female artist in the Ghanaian music industry to have her own album in the contemporary HIP-LIFE category. A trained accountant who followed her musical aspirations, Abrewa Nana is a skilled dancer and singer with three albums to her credit.

SAGAA was released in 2000 with AFRICAN GAL and MABA released in 2002 and 2004 respectively. An award winner and well-traveled performer, she's shared a stage with artists such as Akon, 2FACE and Tony Tetuila. She's currently recording her latest album which she hopes to release in July under her own record label.

DAN FOSTER - A prominent radio presenter with Cool FM in Nigeria, Dan has touched lives with his unique radio personality on the award-winning Good Morning Nigeria show which has been rated No.1 in the last six years. Humorous and inspirational, his soothing voice has made him a household name to millions of Nigerians. In addition, Dan has also re-created the Sunday Gospel show "Praise Jam" and was a key organizer for the Cool FM Praise Jam concerts in 2004, 2005, and 2006 which concentrated on boosting the image of both established and upcoming artists.

Born in California, Dan was educated at Morgan State University in Baltimore where he studied drama and broadcasting. He went on to work in over 6 different "top-twenty" radio stations in the US including the well-known Mix 106.5 FM. The father of 8-year-old Joshua, Dan won the Nigeria Media Merit Award for 'Best Radio Personality' in 2003, 2004 and 2005. He also won the CITY PEOPLE 'Media Person of the Year' award in 2004 and again in 2005.
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