The road to stardom is never easy. While some celebrities became famous through the support of their families, friends and sheer hard work, others had to go through public scrutiny to attain fame. Some organisations have made the dreams of many Nigerian talents come to pass as they offer various platforms for talent competition. In this write up, BLESSING INNOCENT takes a look at artistes that rose to fame from reality television
Timi Dakolo rose to national fame after winning the inaugural season of Idols West Africa in 2007. Prior to that, Dakolo had won a local talent contest G.E FACTO in Port Harcourt and had been singing in a choir since he was 12. Dakolo released his first single comprising three songs in October 2009 and in 2011, he released the song ‘There’s a Cry’. The music video was filmed in Nigeria. Just like Darey, Timi’s music is for mature minds and he does major shows across the nation and beyond. He is currently signed with Lone Records/Now Muzik. Timi Dakolo is one of the Judges on The Voice Nigeria. He released a Christmas album titled “Merry Christmas, Darling”, featuring guest duets such as Emeli Sandé and Kenny G in November 2019.
Afro pop singer and songwriter, Yemi Alade came into limelight in 2009 after winning the Peak Talent Show, after which she signed to Effyzzie Music Group, and had a hit with her single “Johnny” in 2014. Since then she has gained prominence in the music industry and is considered as one of the biggest artistes in Africa. She won the MTV African Music Awards for Best Female in 2015 and 2016 consecutively and was nominated for Artiste of the Year in 2015.
Praise Ugbede Adejo, better known by his stage name Praiz, is a songwriter, producer and singer. The 34-year-old was the second runner-up at the maiden season of Project Fame West Africa. So far he has done several hit songs and national/international collaborations. His most famous songs include ‘Rich and Famous’, ‘Sisi’ and ‘I love You’. Known to be a soul and R&B artiste, Praiz also has a diverse style in making other genres of music, switching up from R&B to Afropop with commercially appealing songs like “Oshe” and “Mercy”. He cites Barry White, Michael Jackson, Carl Thompson and Boyz II Men as people who influenced his type of music.
Darey is probably the first Nigerian celebrity to rise to fame on the back of a reality TV show. The singer-songwriter rose to fame after he participated in the 2004 edition of Project Fame Academy and emerged third in the contest. Dare honed his skills at an early age, singing with several choirs, including the National Troupe of Nigeria Choir and then the Cathedral Choir. From the age 15, he began performing extensively in clubs around Lagos, Ibadan and other cities. The award-winning musician is the son of iconic Nigerian entertainer, Art Alade. He has also worked as a successful radio and TV personality, appearing as a coach, judge and host on several TV shows, including Project Fame West Africa, Nigerian Idol, and The Voice Nigeria.
Omawumi Megbele, known by her stage name Omawumi, is another celebrity who rose to limelight after contesting in the first edition of West African Idols music competition. Omawumi, a graduate of Law from Ambrose Alli University, came second on the show. Aside from being known for her hit songs like ‘In The Music’, ‘Bottom Belle’ and ‘If You Ask Me”, Omawumi is a brand ambassador to Globacom, Konga and Mortein.
Kukere master, Inyanya, won the 2008 MTN Project Fame reality show and since then he has worked so hard to stay relevant in the music industry. After his big win, his first two singles did not make waves due to their sultry nature. After visiting his hometown of Calabar and seeing people’s affection for the Etighi dance, Iyanya decided to do a song that would popularize the dance that originated in Calabar. He teamed up with producer DTunes and recorded “Kukere”, a single that achieved global success, particularly in Nigeria, Ghana and the United Kingdom. The song was succeeded by the album’s second single entitled “Your Waist”, which features additional vocals from Emma Nyra. Inyanya has grown from the R&B lover boy singer to a serial club-banginghit performer.
Star singer, Chidinma Ekile is another celebrity who rose to stardom after winning the third season of MTN Project Fame West Africa in 2010. She the competition and after she won, she has never stopped making hit songs and numerous collaborations. Following the release of the music video for her “Emi Ni Baller” single, she became the first female musician to peak at number 1 on the MTV Base Official Naija Top 10 chart. After winning the addition that year, Chidinma released her singles “Jankoliko” and “Kedike,” which won for her the Kora Awards in 2012 as the Best Female West African Act, where she performed with the said song “Kedike” at the ceremony.
Kingsley Chinweike Okonkwo, better known as Kcee, won the first edition of NB Plc sponsored reality TV show, Star Quest alongside his Duo mate “Presh”. They released several songs before their separation. He currently has a record deal with Five Star Music. He worked with Del B, a record producer known for producing the song “Limpopo”. He is the elder brother to E-money.