Our very own Babalola Osogbiye (Bilo) caught up with American star, Keri Hilson, and she talked about working with the Airtel Trace Music Star contest which she is a judge in.
She also talked about her love for Nigeria, and why she decided to be a part of this year’s Trace Music Star contest. In addition, she talked about challenges she’s had in her career, and overcoming them.
As the mentor for the 2016 Airtel Trace Music Star, What will you be looking out for in the contestants as you decide who will be the winner?
I will be looking out for the contestants that will bring out the fire! You know it is not just about singing because one can sing and I do not feel a thing. So I need them to give it their best shot and bring out the fire in them.
You have shared some insights before to the hopefuls, do you have any further advice that you would give to those that made it to the top 10 as they compete for the last time?
Yes, the only advice I have for them is not to over do it. They should know when to stop while practicing so they don’t hurt their voice. You know the voice is the major instrument of a vocalist.
What made you decide to be part of this project? Like what was the differentiating factor from all the others?
It was an easy “Yes” for me when I was called up to be the mentor for the project. It is a chance for me to learn more as regards other people’s culture/language because not all contestants sing in the same language.
I have been to Nigeria 4 different times and this adds to it giving a broader chance for learning other African languages and culture if possible.
Who do you think stands a great chance of winning this year’s competition?
Well, I can not say that now until the competition is over but I have my favorites. They are my favorites because they bring out the fire in them and sing from their soul.
What should the 2016 winner look forward to while undergoing mentorship under you in Atlanta?
We will record songs, definitely write them together, shoot a video. I will take the winner to dinners, show him/her around, and it is gonna be fun and I am looking forward to it.
As an artist, What challenges have you faced in your career that you can share with the hopefuls as a guiding tool?
There was a point in my career where I was feeling like I did not give my best shot to chances. That feeling was really not a good one, so I advise that the contestants should give their best at all times as that is the way to excel at all times
Who was your mentor at the beginning of your Career?
I did not have just one mentor. Because I hold the believe that everyone at every point in time should be your mentor. For example, My manager is my mentor, My lawyer is my mentor. So anyone you’re working with is supposed to be a mentor because in some like ways you get to learn a thing or more from them.
But to mention a few “Timbaland, Mary J Blige, Anthony Dent, Usher, R.Kelly and lots more”
How was the experience of being nominated for a grammy award for best new artist from your debut album?
I was and still grateful. All hard work came live for me but not winning as an artist was like a kick in the butt for me to go the extra mile. I am hopeful that I will win the award someday.