Just like other countries, Cameroon has tuned in to the concept of stars made on TV. Through programs like star2demain, Mutzig Star and now Castel Comedy club, we are witnessing the birth of a new set of stars: those born and bred on TV. While the concept works in other countries where the winners go on to become famous, the story seems to be a little different in Cameroon. Nobody is questioning the raison d’être of these shows. On the contrary, we salute them as they provide a free platform for our generally -broke aspiring artists to sell themselves. The issue here is the fate of the artists from these shows. In Cameroon, one cannot help but notice that most of the artists concocted by these shows move on to lacklustre careers. Apart from a guy like Achale who can boast of 1 and a half hits to his name, the rest are, to be polite, musically mute. You might disagree if you reduce being an artist to releasing an album or video. But if define artistry by the number of hits produced then you will concur with me. Test this fact by asking people the name of the other winners of star2demain apart from Achale. If they know the names, ask them the title of songs released by these artists or ask them to sing a chorus from any of their releases. Do same for Mutzig Star and its winners. If you cannot do this, simply tell me who Zinnia, Dina Michou and One Face are? If you happen to know them, quiz acquaintances of yours and get their response. One thing is undeniable with most of these TV-produced stars. They hardly ever make a splash or more than a splash in music. This raises the question of whether going through TV shows is the best way to kick start a musical career in Cameroon. If it is understood that business and ratings and not the artist’s career are the main motivations for these shows then many aspiring artists will think twice before joining them. Being on these shows involves running the risk of losing your musical identity since you will be bequeathed to a producer who has his/her own vision of what your music or art should sound like. This situation often culminates in the artist being stranded after their first album gets a muted response. When the show ends and TVs are turned off, the artist often finds his/herself alone with the infamy of a poorly-done artwork. Aspiring artists need to know that choosing to be made by a TV show is a risk they mustn’t take. Are we together?
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