This year sees the third season of the much-anticipated Jack Daniel’s Music Scouts search for authentic musical talent in South Africa. With top acts K.O, Culoe de Song and DJ Speedsta confirmed as the 2015 Jack Scouts – and a grand prize that will springboard the talented winner onto a stellar career path – this is no ordinary talent search. From unsigned musicians to vocalists or DJs across the full spectrum of South African music genres, the nationwide search is open to anyone with musical flair.
The last two years have generated thousands of entries from across the country. The 2014 winner, talented rapper Gigi LaMayne, was signed to talent management agency and recording label Dream Team SA earlier this year and is quickly becoming a recognised name as she breaks ground for female rappers on the African continent.
The Jack Daniel’s Music Scouts 2015 prize includes:
- A live performance at Jack Daniel’s Boomtown Joburg presented by Airey Scott Entertainment, taking place on 17 October 2015 in Johannesburg and headlined by American hip-hop sensation T.I.
- A deal with Dream Team SA to the value of R150 000 (US$12000) that includes:
- Creation of a four-song EP for electronic distribution to all major digital stores in SA and globally for a 12-month window. This includes associated studio time. (Note the master recording rights would rest with Dream Team as the recording label for this EP.)
- Shooting of one music video for the artist and the sampling of this music video to various music TV shows and networks in SA and Africa. Also included would be the placement of the video on the Dream Team SA YouTube page.
- Sampling of one song from EP to be created to radio across SA and Africa.
- PR services for a six-month window that covers the following:
- A professional biography
- Publicity photography (three looks, up to 15 pics)
- Creation of and management of Facebook fan page, Instagram and Twitter page
- Sourcing and securing traditional and online media opportunities
- Placement of artist biography on the Dream Team SA website and other touch points for a period of six months
This year sees a refreshed finalist phase. Two finalists will be selected at the beginning of August and another two at the end of August. All four artists will have the unique opportunity to star in their own music video profile, which will be featured on Channel O and Vuzu, along with interviews on Yfm. The finalists will also benefit from a day of mentoring and rehearsals in front of the Scouts to prepare them for the final, where the winner will be announced. This will take place in October in Joburg and broadcast live on Yfm.
Dream Team SA director Refiloe Ramogase said: “I can’t think of a more sought-after prize for an up-and-coming artist than a once-in-a-lifetime performance opportunity, together with a music deal that’s designed to elevate a super-talented artist to the next level… We’re looking for someone who is hungry and who truly believes they have what it takes to be SA’s next big star.”
This year’s dynamic trio of Scouts echo these sentiments – it’s game on! K.O (aka Ntokozo Mdluli) is a veteran of South African hip-hop, who cut his teeth as part of the well-loved group Teargas. Earlier this year KO scooped the coveted Record of the Year at the South African Music Awards (SAMAs) for his single ‘Caracara’, the first time in the awards’ 21-year history that a hip-hop record has taken the honour. He is also a founding partner in Cashtime Life, an all-encompassing entertainment and lifestyle company. When asked for advice for Jack Scouts entrants this year, K.O said: ”Young people need to grab the opportunity with both hands because you just never know how far you can go. People don’t need another K.O, they need a new personality and that’s what you need to bring to the table... In my own business - maybe if it’s not the winner or one of the runner-ups for this competition, I can get to snatch one of these guys and do something with them!”
House DJ and producer Culoe De Song (aka Culolethu Zulu) had his breakthrough in early 2007 with the track ‘100 Zulu Warriors’, which featured on Black Coffee’s second offering, Have Another One. Since then he hasn’t looked back, producing a number of projects gaining him international recognition with releases on Germany’s Innervisions and Offering Recordings in Belgium. He had this to say about the contest: “The SA music scene right now is really crazy and it’s very colourful. It’s about having all those colours come together to make something epic. I’m not looking for the most talented person on the planet - I’m looking for someone who has a lot of enthusiasm, who has a vision, who has dreams. I’m looking for energy, for that burning soul, because I think all those qualities are what’s going to get them through.”
The third Jack Scout, DJ Speedsta (aka Lesego Nkaiseng) has already achieved noteworthy acclaim on nationwide radio stations and television screens across the continent at the tender age of 23. A household name on 5FM, YFM and Soweto TV and with a string of hit songs under his belt, Speedsta had this to say about the competition: “Jack Daniel’s is saying, ‘come show us your talent and we’ll back you.’ Do the EP, shoot a music video, get TV interviews and radio interviews. Jack Daniel’s is giving you all this, plus you get to open for an international act that goes on your profile. It’ll be there forever!”
To enter or for more details, visit the Jack Scouts website. The deadline for entries is 21 August 2015.