Airtel Trace Music Star returns to uncover Africa’s next big thing

Airtel Trace Music Star (ATMS), arguably the biggest pan-African talent search competition, is back for its second season. This year’s  competition will cover 10 African nations, with Niger joining DR Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia as the newest African territory to enter the competition. 

US singer Keri Hilson will best this year's Airtel Trace Music Star. Photo: Interscope Records /
US singer Keri Hilson will best this year's Airtel Trace Music Star. Photo: Interscope Records /

With 2.3 million calls made in its previous season, the Airtel Trace Music Star talent search has quickly established itself as the biggest music competition in Africa. In November 2015 it won the Best Pan-African Initiative accolade at the prestigious AfricaCom Awards held in Cape Town, South Africa.

In 2015, Tanzania’s Mayunga Andrew Nalimi was crowned Airtel Trace Music star winner by global star Akon. Mayunga beat Jitey from Nigeria and Baz from Congo-Brazzaville at the finals in Kenya to win a record deal and promotion to the value of over $500 000, as well as a mentorship programme with Akon. Mayunga’s first track ‘Nice Couple’ topped all major radio and TV charts in his home country. A few months ago, he was in Los Angeles with Akon to record his second single, ‘Please Don’t Go Away’, and shoot the music video.

This year sees American diva Keri Hilson replace Akon on the hunt for Africa’s next music talent, which kicked of on 1 February. This year’s grand prize thus comprises a mentorship program with multi-award winning American singer-songwriter in Atlanta. The winner will not only star in their own music video alongside Keri Hilson; he or she will get an opportunity to record a duet with the ‘Knock You Down’ songstress, as well as receive a signed contract with a major music label and worldwide media exposure through various TRACE’s platforms. 


How to enter

To stand a chance to become the next big music star in Africa, contestants will need to call in a short code number with their mobile phones and record their songs on their phone. See below for the numbers for entrants in the various participating countries.

The grand finale will be held in Lagos, Nigeria later this year. For more info, visit the ATMS website or Facebook page.