Ayotunde Sobowale emerged the winner of the MTN Best of the Streets music competition on Saturday, February 11, 2023, after beating out the other top nine talents to walk away with a coveted cash prize of N1.2 million. Over 300 young Nigerians participated in the competition.

Expressing his elation, Ayotunde stated: “I am really excited to win this competition because I was not confident after seeing great talents perform, but I had faith in my abilities, I am grateful to MTN for providing this platform to support great talents like mine; it has given me more belief that I will be successful if I pursue a career in music.”

The music competition, which was held at the Abesan Youth Center in Alimosho, Lagos, received over 300 entries for the audition phase, from which the top 30 contestants emerged, demonstrating their passion and determination to compete for cash prizes totaling over N1.7 million.

The top 30 contestants were divided into three groups of 10 and sang for a minute before the audience chose two contestants from each group to advance to the finals using the popular “Waka or Stay” method, while the judges, who included Emmanuella Nnadozie, Head Marketing and Corporate Communications, Mavin Global; Yemisi Falaye, Head Legal & Business Development, The Temple Company; and Kolawole Fashola, Head Business Affairs & Operations, The Temple Company, chose one contestant from each group to progress to the finals. After breath-taking performances from the 30 contestants, nine finalists emerged. The finalists gave another musical performance for a minute each, after which the judges announced Ayotunde Sobowale as the winner of the competition. 

Expressing her delight over the competition, Chief Digital Services Officer, MTN Nigeria, Aisha Mumuni, said, “Nigeria has a very young population, and our music industry is getting more global acclaim each passing day. We are providing them with a learning platform as well as the opportunity to pursue their dreams through this platform. We are very excited to be here, and we hope to expand our support to other creative industries because we believe in investing in and developing local talent.”

Performances by hitmakers Oladapo Daniel Oyebanjo (Dbanj) and Adekunle Temitope (Small Doctor) wowed attendees of the event. This music competition is consistent with the brand’s commitment to promoting Nigerian arts, culture, and entertainment, as evidenced by its recent sponsorship of Chike’s Booless Party on Sunday, February 12, 2023.

Following the success of musical talent shows like Y’ello Star and Project Fame West Africa, MTN debuted the Best of the Streets music competition to identify, develop, and groom unrefined music talents into future superstars.

The Best of the Streets is a new music talent discovery initiative from MTN Nigeria designed to create a platform for young Nigerians to express their talent for a chance to become superstars. Unlike other talent discovery platforms, Best of Streets is taken to the community with 30 contestants from the locality divided into three groups of ten. Each contestant is given one minute to perform any song of their choice before the audience selects two contestants from each group who will advance to the finals using the popular “Waka or Stay” method, and the judges choose one contestant from each group to advance to the finals. Following that, nine finalists will be shortlisted, and the finalists will perform any song of their choice while the judges sieve through all the performances and select the winner of the competition.

MTN has remained committed to the growth of Nigerian music by providing platforms for aspiring artists, and the MTN Best of the Streets competition provides MTN Nigeria another opportunity to further support the Nigerian entertainment industry’s ascension to global prominence.

Recall that last year, the leading digital solutions provider sponsored the Best Short Film or Online Video at the AMVCA awards, as well as the Asa and Brymo concerts. Through the MTN Foundation, the ICT giant has collaborated with the MUSON School of Music for over 15 years to support young Nigerians interested in the classical music genre. MTN Nigeria also collaborated with local tech company uduX to stream Davido’s concert at the London 02 Arena to over 700,000 fans, cementing the tech brand’s position as a leading investor in digital innovation in Nigeria’s music industry.

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