After weeks of searching for the best MAQapella talent, the MAQapella Botswana song contest culminated in a breath-taking finale on Saturday, June 20. The top 20 contestants convened at the GICC for a night of winner takes all that saw the eventual winners walking away P30, 000 richer and an opportunity to have their song recorded as the official MAQ jingle.
Contestants came from as far as Maun, Francistown, down to Palapye and Gaborone. With nine groups and eleven solo performances that would have left My Star organisers green with envy, it was clear that the judges know talent when they see one. Credit has to be given to the judges, Tshepo Ntshole, Shona Ferguson, and Vee Mampeezy. They were not out there to do any favours. There was never a dull moment. But the night could only belong to one performer and the crowd favourite, Silver Grey, who won the audiences hearts from the onset. With 20 wonderful performances it may not have been easy to remember the first but the Gaborone based 11 member group left a lasting impression on the audience.
It would later become apparent the judges were just as impressed. Dressed in all white and rocking red and blue berets, Silver Grey were definitely looking the part. They could have easily shot a ‘MAQ washing powder tv ad’ right there on stage with their winning song.
“MAQapella took us at MAQ to new heights and a place we wanted to be,” said Bliss Brand’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Jacqueline Jacobs. “We wanted to be true to our roots, to be more than a washing powder.” She said they knew the best way they could achieve this was to engage with their consumers to ensure that they could assist the consumers to achieve their dreams.
“We had no idea how much support we would get for this concept. It was amazing,” Jacobs said. “We were astonished at the extraordinary songs that came to light. We knew then that we were living up to our promise of brightening up your day.” She said they decided to bring the competition to Botswana because they knew the country would embrace the challenges. One of the judges, Vee, also took to the stage alongside rapper/producer BK Proctor to perform ‘Zoom’, collaboration from Vee’s first Supernatural Album. “It gave us (the judges) a lot of head-ache deciding who should go home with the price winner,” Vee told Arts & Society.
He attributed the quality of the finalists to the hard work that they together with the MAQ team put in. “We were all over the place and held auditions at accessible places.” One of the singers from Silver Grey, Thabiso Beleme said the group, six ladies and five men, met in church. “We got together specifically for this competition.” He credited one of theirs, Ralph Dennison for writing the song. He said following their MAQapella success they are contemplating working together on releasing an album as a group. “The competition gave us some priceless experience on how to compete out there and a taste of success. We want to build on that.” The MAQapella Botswana competition was organised and put together by H&G Advertising.