‘Fireworks’ promised at Ultimate FM awards

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Ultimate FM station director 'Mabatho Lithebe
Ultimate FM station director ‘Mabatho Lithebe

Mohalenyane Phakela

ORGANISERS of the Ultimate FM Music Awards say they have learnt their lessons from the mistakes made last year, promising a bigger and better edition slated for later this year.

The inaugural Ultimate FM Music awards were held at Thaba-Bosiu Cultural Village last November. The premise of the awards, which were segmented into 11 categories, was to appreciate the efforts of local musicians.

The red-carpet event portrayed, for the first time, the glitz and glam of the local entertainment scene.

However, the prize giving ceremony was marred by accusations the youth radio station reneged on their promise to give M5000 prize money in addition to the studio equipment they gave the winners. The winners included Lavida Loca for the Best Kwaito Album, Best Gospel – Khotso Ntlama; Best Compilation – Sir Schaba; Best RnB – Sphiwe Nzima; Best Jazz – Lele Khasue; Best Dance – Phakzino; Best Hip Hop – Juvinile; Best Newcomer – Sir Schaba; Best Producer – DJ Slats and Song of the Year – Paul Lewake.

In an interview with the Weekender this week, Ultimate FM Manager ‘Mabatho Lithebe said they had learned from last year’s mistakes.

“We got too excited last year when we held the inaugural event and underestimated the fact that we were still on a learning curve,” Lithebe said.

“We have learnt a lot from the first edition, such as the fact that holding it outdoors is not conducive because we had to grapple with stormy weather which forced us to change the programme.”

She said the exclusion of the Famo genre among the music categories had also raised the ire of many, adding that it would be added in this year’s edition.

“The music categories were based on the genres played on Ultimate FM on a daily basis since it is a youth station,” said Lithebe.

“That is the only reason Famo was not included last year. But after a post mortem of last year’s event, we concluded that we should include Famo to encourage its appreciation among the youths since it is a home-grown genre and part of our legacy as Basotho.”

On allegations that there was favouritism in awarding last year’s winners, she said Ultimate FM did not determine the eventual winners since the counting of votes was handled by an independent panel.

“Entries for this year’s awards are already open and free, so everyone who believes he or she can sing can enter,” Lithebe said.

“We will have a panel which will select those who qualify before voting starts and it will be based on the merits of the music which should not have any explicit content.”

She also touched on the contentious issue of the prize money, saying after deliberating on the matter, the organisers resolved that money would not develop the artists’ careers as much as the mini studios. According to Lithebe, the estimated value of the mini studios exceeded M12 000.

“This time around we do not promise any monetary prizes but the prizes will differ from those of last year since some artists complained that they already had studios.

“We already have a team working on finding the most useful prizes and they have done a lot of research on the matter.

“Our website is also under construction and will be launched soon so that any lingering questions from the general public and artists alike can be answered, and also to foster interaction with the organising team,” said Lithebe.

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