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The IAMDV8 auditions were frankly death-by-talent. From the start the standard was set high by Santi Santego who was the first to break the ice. Bearing in mind that these were open auditions, the judges as well as other artists were all sat watching in the same room.
Despite this, none of those who came to audition showed any sign of stage fright. The confidence levels literally oozed from each and every act. Each one claimed the stage in their individual ways which will surely make the judges decision pretty difficult.
Variety is definitely one of the IAMDV8’s unique selling points. Not only did singers and guitarists apply, poets, rappers and dancers were all in the mix. We had performances from the likes of Kane who is a singer/songwriter and producer, Diamond who is a rapper, singer and dancer as well as The Goods who are an Indie, R’n’B, Rock influenced rapping and singing quartet. So it’s pretty clear that many of the acts are more than just artists but are multi-faceted with bags of extra skills as well as talent.
Despite the shortage in ladies ratio-wise, the few that made an appearance each had applaudable gifts. I managed to draw one of them to the press room for a quick chat. Her name is Sade Joseph and she’s one of the poets whose audition left the room in silence as the audience literally hung off her every word.
The 19-year-old from Stratford definitely had what I would call the Susan-Boyle-Shock-Factor. She told me how she’s been writing for a few years but only got stuck into the world of spoken word two months ago. Brought into the auditions by her mate Tim who is involved with DV8, she saw an opportunity to inspire others as well as boost her confidence in her art. Sade herself is inspired by those she looks up to such as The Striver’s Row as well as numerous Def Jam poets.
Speaking of inspiration, one of the things that you could not miss at the auditions was the atmosphere of support. That’s what sets this event apart from the others. There was no X-Factor slating or booing from any of the performers. When each act came off stage, they were met with encouragement and handshakes, such a wonderful thing to have at such an event. I even struggled getting a hold of some of them as they were so engrossed in conversing about each others art and networking!
If this is the epic standard of just the auditions, I daren’t think how much more each act will bring to the actual event. So I’d like to take this time to tell the judges one thing, best of luck as none of these acts have made your job easy!
Photography by Mikaela Westerholm
Words by Nyasha Takawira