Liberia: University Student Wins the First Edition of Lonestar Cell MTN's Y'ello Star Talent Hunt Competition

14 September 2021

Lonestar Cell MTN inaugural Y'ello Star talent contest came to a rousing end Saturday, September 11, 2021, with one contestant winning the coveted title: Lonestar Cell MTN Y'ello Star.

The winner, Candace Cooper, is a 19-year-old sophomore at Stella Maris Polytechnical University studying primary education.

Lonestar Cell MTN Y'ello Star is a musical platform created by MTN, to discover, nurture, expose and launch new music talent in Liberia.

"I am so excited," said Candace. "When I was on stage Saturday, I was happy, nervous, and overwhelmed about everything. I was so proud of myself. I have finally gotten the platform to do more with my gift and show the people what I have."

The momentous ending came after three intense weeks in the Lonestar Cell MTN Y'ello Academy, where fifteen aspiring singers out of 300 were chosen to participate in the competition that began July 16, 2021. Contestants in the Y'ello Academy attended master classes in financial literacy, social media, and brand management. They also received vocal training and learned how to write music.

The Y'ello Academy provided significant learning opportunities, then there were evictions. Candidates were dismissed from the Academy for lackluster performances. Audiences and judges, Capitol FM CEO Chris Wolo, Radio personality, Master Queen, and Co-Owner of Hott FM Cypher D' King with equal weighting voted for those who should remain in the competition.

Eight competitors were evicted from the Y'ello Academy, leaving the magnificent seven: Candance Cooper, Sparkle, Othniel Mathews, Grateful Pap, Brenda Wankollie, Cee-Kay, and Jesslyn Lisa Nichols to compete in Saturday night's finals.

The Grand Finale, held at the Ministerial Complex, saw competitors perform in trios, duets, and solo performances. In their solo performances, the contestants sang originally written songs that they produced in the hopes their production would receive airplay nationally and internationally but deliver key messages of patriotism and the strength to fight against body shaming.

Nonetheless, only two contestants emerged after the first round of voting during the evening: Candace Cooper and Jesslyn Lisa Nichols.

These two vocal phenoms faced off in a final round of competition with their unique rendition of Love on the Brain by Rihanna. Candace, emerged as the winner, though Jesslyn gave a soulful performance.

Lonestar Cell MTN's new Chief Marketing Officer Abiodun Ajay said, "We believe every hidden star and talent deserves a chance to shine bright. There are huge musical talents hidden in every part of the country.

These talents are, at best, under-developed or die because these talents are not allowed to showcase themselves. We are proud that we are bridging this gap with Lonestar Cell MTN Y'ello Star."

As Lonestar Cell MTN Liberia's first Y'ello Star, Candance will receive a NEW Nissan Almera, has her original song uploaded on the CBRT platform, receives a 1.5 million LRD record deal along with 350,000 LRD in cash. She also receives a one-year performance deal with Lonestar Cell MTN and 100 GB of data monthly.

"I feel great about this. Lonestar Cell MTN is one of the biggest companies in Liberia and Africa. I am going to work hard to push the MTN Y'ello Star brand because I want to see more from next year's contestants. This competition is not a joke. It's business."

Candace said that she looks forward to performing at the upcoming MTN Liberia Music Awards later this year and represent Libera at MTN Y'ello Star in Nigeria.

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