MTN’s Natasha Basson shares some insight into the 17th MTN SAMA’s

1)   Congratulations on supporting a great venture.  How long has MTN been supporting the SAMA’s?

MTN has been a proud supporter of South Africa’s diverse and dynamic music and are continuing their involvement this year, making it the company’s eighth consecutive year as title sponsor of the South Africa Music Awards.  Following from its world class and electrifying, multi-dimensional television showcase in April 2010, from here onwards all roads lead to what is set to be the most spectacular event to be broadcast live on SABC 1 from Monte Casino on Saturday 21st May 2011.

2)   What is MTN’s stance on local music?

MTN is a proud supporter of the local music industry supporting various genres of music, including SAMA’s, gospel (Joyous Celebration), Jazz and Afrikaans. The idea is to recognize talented local artists through the awards and provide a platform for young, up and coming musicians to showcase their talent and be acknowledged for it.

3)   How else does MTN support local music?

MTN is the title sponsor of the MTN Durban Jazz Festival which showcases the best local and international jazz talent. However, the festival is not just about the music but plays host to ethnic food stalls, craft areas and all kinds of entertainment to suit every age group. Our aim here is to enhance and enable those entrepreneurs out there to succeed hence the provision of stalls, craft areas etc. MTN Varying Fees is another sponsorship that is under our umbrella that supports Afrikaans music and allows families and friends to celebrate their heritage as well. As a proudly South African company we move to the local beat – whether it’s supporting local artists and helping them make it big through the MTN Play or Muziq distribution platforms, recognising our local musicians at the MTN South African Music Awards, or sustaining great live music festivals and concerts.

4)   Tell me about MTN Play?

MTN Play is MTN’s global mobile content portal, offering a rich variety of downloadable content and services including, ringtones, CallerTunez, wallpapers, games, the latest news and sports results. The portal offers interactive mobile access to up-to-date content.

5)   What is on your iPod right now?

Alone by Liquideep and Arno Carstens’ Dreamer

6)   Why did you move the SAMA’s from Sun City to Monte Casino?

In line with the objectives of making the Annual MTN South African Music Awards bigger, better and more glamorous, while continuously pushing boundaries as the primary and most important all inclusive marketing platform for the South African recording industry and its artists and musicians it was agreed upon that this move was for the best. The level of access and engagement opportunities for the public with the stars is unprecedented in SAMA history.  A host of exciting after parties and events will bring the SAMA’s to life on a whole new level this year. The event will still take place over two nights, with the same spirit of celebration and unity in the music industry that the MTN SAMA’s has become known for – the coming-together of celebrity, media, industry and- fans.

7)   Who are you rooting for to win Record of the Year?

MTN supports all South African artists and the SAMAs provide them with the launch pad for international stardom. The nominees for the Record of the Year are all outstanding artists and performers and we wish them all the best of luck. May the best man win!

8)   How do you select the Record of the Year and what’s MTN’s involvement?

Once again MTN will host the Ultimate Record of the Year Competition. Fans will be able to vote for their favourite Record of the Year by SMSing the corresponding artist’s code to 083 123 SAMA (7276) to stand a chance to win a VIP experience on award night. From the sms’s received winners will be drawn out of this and obviously the artists that receives the most votes will win the Record of the Year title. Fans are encouraged to visit www.mtn.co.za/sama and click on the MTN Play link to download SAMA content and stand a chance to win more prizes.

9) How do corporations effectively support music without getting in the way?

MTN believes that enhancing and enabling music festivals such as these provide the platform for artists to be recognised and acknowledged for their contribution to the South African music industry. By providing the support and platform i.e. utilisation of MTN Play, Facebook, Twitter and other mediums we in our own way help to support the local music industry and recognise talented local artists.

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