REMARKS BY TIM EKANDJO, CHIEF HUMAN CAPITAL & CORPORATE AFFAIRS OFFICER OF MTC AT THE NAMA 2014 PRESS CONFERENCE:
Let me thank the media for making time to attend this press conference. The purpose of this press conference is to announce the changes we have agreed on for the NAMA’s 2014. We are making these announcements early enough so that artists do not blame us for having communicated too late
The organizers, MTC and NBC, are indeed very optimistic about the next NAMA event and despite the challenges we experienced this year, we can already assure the public that the NAMA’s 2014 will be an event to look forward to.
The changes that we will announce now are all meant to place emphasis on quality and making sure that we systematically continue to raise the of the standard of music and the event itself
Judges vs. Public Vote:
Because we have always placed greater importance on quality rather than popularity, the current 70% Judges vs 30% Public vote has continued to compromise the aspect of quality. You would recall that I have announced that 17 winners of this year’s NAMA’s were influenced and decided on by the 30% public vote. It is also a fact that the public vote is not always informed by quality but by popularity and we therefore do not want to disadvantage artist with good quality sounds that might not have the fan base. We have therefore taken an executive decision that going forward the Judges will have a 100% vote
Public Vote categories:
To however ensure that the public continues to play a participatory role in the NAMA’s, they will still have a 100% say in the Song of the Year Category and in addition we have added 3 more categories in which the public will have a 100% vote in…
To ensure that we continue to build the capacity of the NAMA’s, we have created the following new categories;
1. Most Popular Artists of the Year: this is the artists that is according to the public the most popular and will be voted for 100% by the public. Please take note that the most popular artists is not necessarily decided on by the quality of their music, but simply popularity with the public for whatever reason
2. Most Socially Responsible Artists: this is the artists that has been the most socially responsible during the said year and here artists will not be required to submit a song or entry, but they will be required to lists exactly what they have done and this will be verified by the Organizers
3. Most Disciplined Artists of the Year: although this is an existing category, unlike last year when the winner was decided by the Nominees only, we have now decided to open this for a 100% public vote subject to scrutiny from the Steering Committee. We are saying that the winner is subject to review because we still need to ensure that the winner as voted for by the public is reflective of the artists behavior in terms of discipline. The Most Disciplined Artist will be the artist that is being perceived BY THEIR FANS as the most committed to their music, performances and craft as an artist and vetted by the Steering Committee as Industry Experts
4. Best Live Act: because performing live is such a significant part of the music entertainment business and of the livelihood of artists in Namibia artists commit a significant portion of their time to the art of live performance and therefore we want to recognize and reward great live performing artists as well, we have now allowed the public to decide who they think has been the Best Live Performing Artists in the said year as the public and fans are the ticket buying audience at the end of the day and the best to judge which artists over the past year provided the fans with the best live entertainment value. Therefore this category will also be voted for by the public 100% which bring the number of categories voted for exclusively by the public to 4 in total
Because we have now placed much greater responsibility on the Judges by allowing them to decide 100% on who the winners in the various music genre categories are going to be, without the interference of the public, we are mindful that the Judging panel have to be absolutely on point as far as experience and musical background is concerned. The process of ensuring that we have an INDEPENDENT and COMPETENT judging panel in place has therefore already started
We will definitely go heavy on music lecturers top radio DJ’s, music programmers, music personalities from Namibia and across Africa from various top radio stations. We will then have a separate judging panel for Best Music Video that will consist of various judges from experts at the top of their game when it comes to vetting what makes a great music video from all aspects related to the music video production process and final product and therefore this panel of judges will be representative from some of Africa’s top music video channels like Channel O, Trace, YouTube, 1Music Nigeria, Watagwan etc to give the winners more credibility and exposure
Artists will still be allowed to enter in any music genre irrespective of their traditional music genre that they are known for and music entries will still be based on song entries. As usual the Steering Committee will decide whether entries qualify or not. We have however decided to limit the number of entries that any one/group or duo can enter themselves into which allows us to manage the entries better and to allow for traditional artists in certain music genres the ability to still compete.
Single artists will be limited to a maximum of 2 music genres only. This however excludes nominations for Best Male or Female Artists of the Year as well as Best Music Video, Best Collaboration (provided it is not the same song as entered into the 2 allowable music genre categories), and of course Radio Song of the Year and all the Public vote categories. For Groups/Duo’s the same applies with the only difference being they can additionally enter for Best Group/Duo which single artists can of course not enter into
New entry requirements:
All artists will now be required to have the legitimate Producer of the song sign to give consent that the song can be entered if the song still belongs to the Producer or the Record Label to ensure that we do not have to deal with conflicts that may arise between artists and Producers. Once they have signed they will not be allowed to withdraw the entry from the NAMA’s even if they change their minds afterwards. All artists will now also be required to sign consent form that will not allow them to withdraw their entries from the NAMA’s after it has been entered.
To ensure that performing artists selected by the organizers to perform live during the NAMA’s are able to take care of travel expenses to and from the venue, as well as drinks during rehearsals we will now give every performing artists an allowance of N$ 1000 to cover for such basic expenses to ensure there is no inconvenience caused on their part. This will be specifically for live performing artists only, not nominees.
MC’s and Category Presenters:
We will have auditions for MC’s and category presenters to give everybody an opportunity to be part of this opportunity. This auditions will already commence this year so that we are able to select our main host and presenters early enough to be able to work with them over time to ensure they are ready for the occasion. Should the auditions not produce the kind of quality that the panel will be looking for the panel will then headhunt. Those selected will undergo sufficient training and rehearsals and NBC will play a major role in this process. This is a critical area that we will ensure is well taken care off for the next NAMA’s
Show rehearsals will now take place offsite, first rehearsals offsite from two weeks before the show and final rehearsals during the week leading into the awards weekend to ensure that performances, MC’s and guest presenters are better prepared and final rehearsals will take place after set up on stage
This year we will set aside a full week for the activities of the NAMA Academy with a more formal and targeted approach. The first 2 days of the week will entail a more classroom type approach with the rest of the days more practical running into the final week set up week where participants will physically work on the show to ensure maximum skills transfer. Skills transfer can however only take place when there is a willing body to who skills can be transferred to so we once again encourage people to join the NAMA Academy. This year the NAMA Academy will also hand out certificates of participation to all participants which will be a great accredited addition to the CV of all participants both from a work experience and skills exchange and direct learning experience at the highest level of the various disciplines involved with a major multi-platform production such as NAMA.
Friday Night Awards:
The year 2014 will see the NAMA’s event being celebrated over a full weekend and not just on the Saturday evening anymore. Because we have so many categories and added more categories, the show as it is, is too long, compromises the overall impact and entertainment value plus we have so many performances to accommodate on the night. We have therefore introduced the NAMA’s Gala Awards on the Friday evening before the main event and be more of an industry focused awards. This will obviously be held at a different venue than the Saturday night awards, and it will typically be cinema style and glamorous with performances just like the main event where we will concentrate on the more less mainstream awards eg Best Producer, Lifetime Achievement Award, Most Disciplined Artists, Most Popular Artists, Most Socially Responsible Artists, Best Music Video, Radio Song of the Year and a few of the less popular music genre categories in terms of the number of entries.
This event will not be live but recorded and it will be more industry focused, exclusive and by invitation only. We will however record the winners and show the highlights at the main event as inserts into the main so that those who did not attend the Friday night event would also be informed of last night’s winners and offcourse will be loaded to the website and social media platforms for the viewing pleasure of audience across Namibia and elsewhere.
This also means that we will typically scale down on the Nominee Launch to make it less exorbitant and more press conference styled event with announcements made by a panel made up from organizers, stakeholders and Namibian celebrities.
This therefore makes the main show less tedious, less audience fatigue, greater focus impact and respect for all categories nominees and winners and more entertaining and allows for greater flexibility for the organizers in terms of logistics, more flexibility for artists and presenters schedules during rehearsals, which ensures that we have an awesome NAMA’s 2014 event.
We have off course also discussed and agreed on key technical and production timelines as far as the show is concerned and we are now more than confident that we will deliver beyond expectations come 2014
Call for Entries:
The eligible date for entries has not changed and it remains from the 1st December 2012 till 31st November 2013. We usually call for entries from anytime from after the 1st December however this year we will make that call much earlier. Call for entries this year will therefore start from the 1st November 2013 and deadline will be 5th December 2013