The battle for the Wura 1 of Goldberg Fuji t’o Bam witnessed a cheerful atmosphere in the city of Akure recently as contestants expressed joy and optimism at a shot of fame during the audition held at First Molac Hotel, Ondo Road. Some of the contestants who turned up for the audition expressed their gratitude to the brand, Goldberg, for making it possible for them to have a shot at the limelight through Fuji music, which according to them “is the music of our people.”
Speaking before the commencement of the audition, Alhaji Sikiru Ayinde Agboola aka SK Sensation, one of the judges, addressed the contestants to be at their best and display acts of creativity and originality in their performance. Agboola, who is the Chairman, National Project Committee for Fuji Musicians Association of Nigeria, further debunked the myth that Fuji artistes are hooligans and street touts, and therefore advised the contestants to conduct themselves in all manner of decency worthy of emulation, not just because of the audition, but in their personal lives and in the pursuit of their dreams, so they can be role models to the society. Other members of the panel of judges are: Alhaji Kehinde Ayanda, Vice Chairman, Lagos Island Association of Fuji Musicians and Adebayo Faleke aka Kakaki Olodumare.
Tope Ajani aka Ariremako 1, who was the third runner up in the 2nd edition held in 2014, was also one of the contestants in Akure this year. Ajani, who is a mechanic and a Fuji lover cum enthusiast, has one Fuji album to his credit. “My love for Fuji music cannot be overemphasized. That is why I am here again this year. This is the only shot I have that I believe can pilot me to a world of my dreams. I am very good at this type of music and believe in myself.” He was rewarded with a cash prize of two hundred thousand naira in 2014, but aims for the ultimate prize of one million naira and a recording contract this year.
A 21-year old fashion designer, Saheed Babarinde, who was inspired by his elder brother who sings Fuji, also graced the occasion. “I am looking forward to singing Fuji professionally, that is why I am here. Fuji has had an influence on me; since I was eight years old and whenever I listened to my elder brother sing it. I liked it whenever he sings the popular Saheed Osupa’s songs, so I always wanted to be like him.”
An O’Level student, Oyewale Wasiu aka K-West, who is a promising Fuji artiste and an indigenous Yoruba rapper was at the audition for the first time. In his words, “Music is my calling. I have had dreams on several occasions where I performed on the streets and people cheered me up. Such dreams have become frequent lately. So, music is more than a passion because I believe there is a divine assignment in it for me.” Although K-West is still seeking admission into a higher institution where he can also further his education, he expressed optimism in the Fuji audition and revealed that being a winner in such a competition would enable him to live his dreams and still be educated, as the proceeds from the competition would be invested into the business and his studies.
In addition, Obesuya Fatai aka Governor, who is the coordinator of the Fuji Musicians Association of Nigeria (FUMAN), Ondo State Chapter, was also present to coordinate the contestants and ensure their proper conduct during the exercise. The audition, which lasted about 7 hours, ended with the collation of scores from all the judges, from whence 20 shortlisted contestants emerged.
Adaba FM broadcaster, Wasiu Alani aka Mr Talent, who was among the shortlisted 20 expressed his excitement about the exercise. “I am going to give a special shout out to Goldberg and Nigerian Breweries for bringing this platform to us in Akure. I am indeed delighted to be part of this, and I hope I would cross all the hurdles to the final stage because that is the ultimate.” Alani, who is also an OND holder of Iree Polytechnic says such a platform will create more opportunities for him to pursue his goals, in music or further education.