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Making moves at MOBO launch

STRIKE A POSE: Tinchy Stryder and Jas

THERE WAS plenty of excitement as the urban music industry and beyond made their way to the St Pancras Renaissance hotel for the recent MOBO (Music of Black Origin) nomination launch party.

On arrival, there was a huge wide red carpet covered with paparazzi and fans, and on entering the glass function room we were greeted with champagne and nibbles.
UK chart topper Jessie J leads with five nominations, whilst Adele is up for four.

Other females with four nominations include Katy B, Emeli Sande and Yasmin, whilst males with four nominations include Wretch 32 and Tinie Tempah – all extremely well deserved nods.

I was also thrilled that new kids on the block Rizzle Kicks got three nominations. I got to know about them a couple of months ago when I had lunch with their team, and already they’ve arrived – and received award nominations!

At the launch party, DJ Swerve kept us all entertained in the main room on the decks; N-Dubz (minus their female lead star turned X Factor host Tulisa) were causing their usual attention grabbing commotion on the press run; Tinchy Stryder was professionally doing all his press in his stunner shades; Mz Bratt looked casual-trendy; and Wretch 32 was rocking a long sheepskin looking coat and looked extremely pleased with himself.

This night always makes the longer in the tooth players like myself smirk. It’s a night when every manager drags out their new emerging act onto the red carpet in the hope of a sprinkle of the main action. But alas, most of the media attendees just turn away and whisper “who’s that?’’ to each other, before moving on and leaving the acts looking awkward with frozen smiles.

There were more than ever of them this year and like last year I bet this time next year, one of those acts will have broken through. It’s a tough game and if you’re in it for the long haul, it’s good to know that all the acts you see that are successful now have been slogging away for years.

In the main room were industry tastemakers from Choice FM, BBC 1Xtra, SBTV and of course, The Voice, as well as DJs including Shortee Blitz and Ras Kwame.

I still wish the MOBOs had kept the Best DJ award. I know it caused a lot of controversy, but in the urban music scene, the DJ is the number one tastemaker and so integral to the music’s success. It seems wrong to eliminate it. Also, just for purely selfish personal reasons, I used to love the DJ bitching sessions that this brought on!

I know the show will be great in Glasgow on October 5, as I’ve worked on MTV Awards there. Glasgow is buzzing, friendly, and is the first city outside London that held the MOBOs. And with Boys II Men performing at this year’s show, I know it’s going to be another winner!



CROWD: Fans party

THE RECENT Afrobeats Festival held at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo brought London to a standstill. No one could have prepared the 5000+ fans for the type of show the organisers had in store for them.

Choice FM’s DJ Abranteee did an awesome job in hyping the crowd. But it wasn't until 2011 MOBO award nominee Wizkid (far right) came on stage that the crowd went nuts (above).

The Nigerian star thrilled the audience with hits such as Don't Dull and Tease Me, and the response from the crowd was epic. But the adrenaline hit a new high when Wizkid jumped into the crowd. He left he's female fans in awe!
When he left the stage, it felt as if the show couldn't get any better.

Little did the crowd know that popular duo P Square was about to give them a world-class performance. Witnessed by an audience that included MOBO CEO Kanya King, head of MTV Africa Alex Okosi and former Lagos State senator Bola Tinubu, P Square – who are also previous MOBO Award nominees – shocked the crowd with a spectacular set.

Their choreography was out of this world as they performed all their classics and gave the crowd exclusive new songs from their new album Invasion. P Square brought the Afrobeats Festival to a climax when they performed the ballad No One Like You acapella.

The festival exceeded everyone’s expectations and the organisers Cokobar, Phoenix Media and SMADE in association with Choice FM outdid themselves. It was an award winning night, which now raises expectations for the Afrobeats Festival 2012!



PERFORMANCE: Kanye West (left) and D'Banj (right)

THE NEXT day, African star D’Banj (left) did a solo show where his label boss Kanye West (far left) shocked the audience by jumping on stage to join him. Of course, this sent Twitter nuts, with attendees tweeting “OMG Kanye West is onstage with D’Banj!” Great show.

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