ULTIMATE FM has called on companies and the media to support the Ultimate Music Awards, saying they are meant to benefit the local music fraternity and not the government-owned radio station.
Ultimate FM Station Director, ‘Mabatho Lithebe, this week told a press conference that although the awards were their brainchild, they were ultimately a national project which could boost the country’s economy by promoting artistes to enable them to earn a living out of their music.
The awards ceremony will be held on 18 November at ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre in Maseru and the finalists were unveiled at a press conference this week in the categories of Hip Hop (10), Kwaito (eight), Famo (10), Gospel (eight), Urban Contemporary (six), Afro Pop (eight), Music Video (eight), Collaboration by Duo or Group (eight) and Dance (eight).
There are also special categories of Best Newcomer (eight finalists), best Male (eight), Best Female (six), Best Producer (eight), International Breakthrough (eight) and Song of the Year (15).
Each nominee was also announced together with a voting code which involves an SMS to either 31019 for one vote (M2) and 31012 for 15 votes (M30).
Afro Jazz sensation Selimo Thabane leads with five nominations, followed by Afro Jazz and Gospel star Mongali Nthako as well as House music producer Sir Schaba with four nominations apiece.
The confirmed list of sponsors include Standard Lesotho Bank, Metropolitan, Alliance Insurance, M&N Security, Victoria Hotel and Bashoeshoe Pele as well as the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Culture and the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology.
Speaking at the press conference, Lithebe said that most countries had invested in arts to boost their economies and Lesotho should do the same.
“Music, like other sectors of arts, is one of the key factors that can create jobs while boosting the country’s economy as well as tourism if promoted well,” Lithebe said.
“The aim of the awards is to promote quality music so that with the implementation of royalties’ policy which is currently underway, we as the radio stations will not hesitate to buy local music.
“Although the project was started by Ultimate FM four years ago, it is not up to the station but the entire media fraternity to ensure that we promote our artistes so that the rest of the world can know about them through us. We know of American and South African musicians because their media promotes their work.”
Taele Lebona, from the station’s sales and marketing department, urged companies to sponsor the awards in order to give back to the community.
“It has never been easy to get sponsors as companies expect something in return, failing to understand that this is not for Ultimate FM but uplifting our fellow musicians.
“We plead for support in this journey so that the rest of the world will know about our artistes,” Lebona said.
Ultimate FM Programmes Manager, Tello ‘Dallas T’ Leballo, said they had brought in external judges to promote transparency.
He also revealed that the awards ceremony would be broadcast live on national television. There will be an after party at Victoria Hotel poolside featuring performances by the winners and some of the nominees.