Emotions ran high, and tears flowed uncontrollably in the last episode of Naija Star Search when Toms delivered a solemn resonating rendition of late Sound Sultan’s hit song, ‘Motherland.’
Legendary Sound Sultan died last year from complications of Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma in the throat. He was notable for using his music to speak against Nigeria’s poverty, corruption, bad governance, and societal ills.
Whilst his memory lingers on, his imagery comes alive in Toms’ voice as though it was Sound Sultan himself performing on stage. Toms, widely referred to as ‘small but mighty alias ‘Omo-Maamé’ took the show to a crescendo of emotions.
Judges, Keke Ogungbe and ID Cabasa, couldn’t control their emotions. All attempts to stay strong failed, bursting into tears. Eventually, they had to excuse themselves from the stage immediately after the performance to cool off.The touching performance even punctured the toughness of the third judge, Asha Gangali, who wore the look of a torn heart.
While Sparrowh’s performance couldn’t save him from eviction in the week, Toms’ performance got several tongues wagging. Toms rendered the song expressing very deep emotional vocals which depict the untold struggles, pains, silent groans, and cries faced by Nigerians, a reflection of Sound Sultan’s musical themes.
Motherland was released under the imprint of Ogungbe’s Kennis Music. Toms’ vocals and lyrical dexterity took the judges and audience on a memory lane that ended in soberness for all.
Toms’ performance didn’t only move the judges and in-house audience but also VJ Adams, the show host, who couldn’t help but feel sombre after the performance.
ID Cabasa shared a conversation he had with Sound Sultan shortly before his death. “What I am wearing now is what I wore the last time I saw Sound Sultan. And it was intentional since I was told this song would be performed. There was a conversation I had with Sound Sultan on this song. When all this Japa stuff started, Sound Sultan and I were recording a song in a hotel room on the Island.
He said if he could go back to this song, he would probably change some lines because of what is happening in Nigeria now. Toms, you didn’t just bring this song back to life, but you gave it a new meaning intended by Sound Sultan,” the sober ID Cabasa said in his assessment of Toms performance.
And afterwards, tearful ID Cabasa called everyone to stand up for a one-minute silence in respect of the Jagbajantis crooner.
Emotional Kenny Ogungbe tried hard to pull himself together to give his assessment but only ended up walking to the stage as though he had seen Sound Sultan. He took off his necklace, wore it on Toms, pointed to the effigy on the necklace and said in a tearful voice, “This is Sound Sultan.”
Toms is a graduate of Pefti Film Institute, where she studied music technology. To her, music is home and an expressway to endless emotions. She sings Afrobeat Afropop/fusion and is one of the top contenders for the star prize.
Naija Star Search is a collaboration between StarTimes Nigeria and Kennis Music toward preserving Afrobeats.
Highlights of the previous episodes are on Naija Star Search channel on YouTube. New edition airs every Sunday at 8pm on ST Nollywood Plus, ST Nollywood and ST Yoruba channels on StarTimes, as well as the StarTimes-ON mobile app.
Winners will get a whopping sum of N10m in cash prizes, a recording contract, and an opportunity to reach the skies.