Berklee Partners with Afrinolly Creative Hub and MTN's Y’ello Star

By 
Eugene Ahn
October 16, 2020
Press release
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Over 10,000 contestants will compete to become the next Nigerian music star, with coaching, judging, and recording from members of the Berklee community.

The winners of the 'Y’ello Star' reality show will record their debut single at the Power Station at BerkleeNYC.

Berklee will take part in the largest mobile-based music reality show in Africa, working together with multinational mobile telecommunications company MTN Nigeria and multimedia mobile app and creative company Afrinolly Creative Hub. The partnership will bring the Y’ello Star reality show to MTN’s mobile platform, broadcasting the contest to nearly one million users. Members of the Berklee community will serve as panelist judges as well as coaches for the contest’s 16 semifinalists. The winners of the reality contest will record their debut single at Power Station at BerkleeNYC, Berklee’s campus in New York City, which features a one-year graduate program with three specializations.  

As the leading telecommunications and mobile provider in the region, MTN Nigeria created Y’ello Star as a mobile musical platform to search for, discover, nurture, and launch music talents in the young Nigerian community. Over 10,000 contestants applied, with 40 semifinalists having been selected for the start of the reality show. 

This is a great opportunity for artists from the vibrant Nigerian music scene to get advice and mentorship from Berklee’s knowledgeable professors, while broadening awareness of Berklee in the region through MTN’s large audience.

—Roger H. Brown, president, Berklee

Commenting on the project, Anthony Obi, acting chief marketing officer for MTN Nigeria, emphasized the unique difference between MTN Y’ello Star and other music reality TV shows. “This project goes beyond discovering talent in the Nigerian entertainment industry. MTN Y’ello Star is a conduit for capacity-building within the creative industry, empowering the contestants and industry with the relevant practical knowledge to compete on a global scale. We are thankful for partners, such as Berklee College of Music, who share this vision.” 

"It is time for Nigerian music to fully take its rightful place in the global community,” says Chike Maduegbuna, CEO of Afrinolly. “With partners like MTN and Berklee, Afrinolly Creative Hub is discovering emerging music talents, cultivating them, and helping them grow. I am excited that Berklee College of Music is here to help us develop those artists, and bring them to a global stage.” 

“We're excited to work with MTN, Afrinolly Creative Hub, and the Y’ello Star reality show,” says Berklee President Roger H. Brown. “This is a great opportunity for artists from the vibrant Nigerian music scene to get advice and mentorship from Berklee’s knowledgeable professors, while broadening awareness of Berklee in the region through MTN’s large audience. We look forward to hearing all of the talent and welcoming the winner to Power Station at BerkleeNYC.” 

The live shows will start in November and run through December. Three judges, including popular Nigerian musicians and media figures, will join the Berklee panelist judges in bringing their music expertise to the show.

About Afrinolly

Afrinolly Creative Hub serves as the first creators' space for filmmakers, screenwriters, mobile technology developers, animators, musicians, artists, and other creatives in Nigeria. The hub seeks to institutionalize global best practices and integrate the next generation of Nollywood and music artists. Afrinolly Creative Hub seeks to facilitate exchange opportunities and network development between Africa’s entertainment practitioners and between Africans and international entertainment practitioners in the area of live content production and distribution. For more information, visit afrinollycreativehub.com.

About MTN Nigeria 

MTN is Nigeria’s premier provider of connectivity, communication, and collaboration solutions, and the largest privately-owned mobile operator in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. As of 2019, MTN Group had over 64 million subscribers, making it the eighth-largest mobile network operator in the world, and the largest in Africa. Active in over 20 countries, one-third of company revenue comes from Nigeria, where it holds about a 35 percent market share. 

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