The Day I Auditioned For Tusker Project Fame. (PART 2)

The team of Ugandans proceeding to Nairobi, Kenya for this year’s Tusker Project Fame is good. The other five nations sending representatives to the region’s biggest vocal talent show will have to triple what they are bringing to the stage. But, contestant number 6012, Songa Samuel-Stone, is not part of that good team. 

I know. Disappointing. I lived the moment and surely, for as long as it lingered heavily, it was deflating.

Sunday September 8th, 2013 will always be that day when one risky move brought to an end what could perhaps have been a longer journey. Since my first audition in Mbarara, I segued through the list of songs from which I intended to choose songs for as long as I stayed in the race. Two options were earmarked; I studied them line by line, I understood the notes involved and in some cases, carefully made changes. But as I would later learn, even two can be many. 

The day before was spent catching up with Christine and Ritah. The two were part of the six who made it out of the western region audition. We chatted, lunched…they met my friend Deon and later, we attended the Saturday service at Watoto Central where they congruously met Tony, another friend. But as Tony who is on his way up the ladder of music directing shared a few crucial tips with the girls, one unanswered question lingered silently. Which one of the two songs is perfect for tomorrow?

If only Tony had listened to the two and swerved my mind the other way. But he didn’t. If only I had listened to Ritah who insisted I sounded better on option #2 that bright Sunday morning. But I didn’t. IF ONLY Danny’s advice less than an hour before I went in had beaten my insistent gut. Again, it didn’t. If only my mind had changed when the compère called out my number. Still, I didn’t. A million respondents would have nodded YES to the me rolling in the deep but I insisted on doing things personally. My reason? A slower mellow chorus-only version of P. Square’s PERSONALLY was not heard of and it portrayed my ability to deliver consistent notes. (No I didn’t sing the “bakaboom boom” version). How about we preserve the Adele-tistic notes for the next rounds?

Moments after I walked into that room and my eyes met three pairs of familiar eyes, they unanimously fronted the assessment that my choice gave me away as someone that can sing. But not as someone who deserves to proceed because I stood out. 

More IFs. If only I had asked them to give me a second chance. But contestants had been warned against that because the judges were to say no. Later, the judges were asked by the producers to grant a second shot in scenarios where the contestant deserved so. If only I had broken that rule. I didn’t because I guess I am not one who breaks rules. 

And that was it. I spent the next hours going over and over the scenarios that could have made this story different. I even lurked around for a second chance. I nearly got it but I didn’t. 

Music has been part of me immemorially and on countless occasions, I nearly ventured into it. But that never happened; ideas such as going for singing competitions have always been distant…the closest I have allowed my vocal talent to shine was being part of a choir. Even as a chorister, I shunned (and perhaps still do) graduating into a lead singer. And there is a sound reason. As early as I can remember, I have always aspired to be a journalist and I have dedicated (and still do) the past years of my adulthood at achieving success solely in that line. At 16, I coupled childhood dreaming with action to embark on my journalistic journey. From contributing articles to magazines for free to my first day in a newsroom…first radio job and the current one, the story is already something. All along, music sat in the back seat and even when I resolved to give it a chance (just one), it was because it presented itself as an inviting boat that could take me a step(s) closer to the ultimate journalist I see myself becoming. That is like shunning a girl and the only time you choose to pay attention to her, it is because you want something from her. And what did “she” do? Shunned me too. Sounds like fair game. 

But the whole experience underscored something. Forget the docked boat, however inviting. Strip to the undies and jump into the cold water. And swim. That is the harder way of doing things but having tried to hop onto the TPF boat and scored insufficient success, it looks like that is my only option. And I am glad it is. Such a route is like going through a long tunnel; the other side is a distance away…the uncertainty is abound and the challenge is real. But when I make it there, I will be back here to tell you about it. For now, I choose to roll in the deep. And do things resolutely and PERSONALLY. Sorry music, journalism wins. Not the best place to enter with thirst for the mighty dollar but I will take it. 

One of the judges said they will buy my music when it comes out. Speak of comments I can only smile at. I will always love music and as an avid consumer of worthy arts, it will always remain a book I love owning. But not making. 

To the fifteen that will soon be in Kenyatta land, the journey gets tougher but when the chance comes, take the steep road…opportunity comes once. ROLL IN THE DEEP. 

“If Only I’d Rolled In The Deep. But I am Glad I Didn’t…”

Follow @SongaStone 



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