Earlier this year on May 18, 15 year-old Kafaye Rose performed at the Glen Gould Studio on Front Street in downtown Toronto, Canada, opening for Jay Douglas. When he was leaving he glanced across the street and saw a sign for YTV’s The Next Star and auditioned the very next day.
He knew that the competition would be narrowed down to Top 12 from thousands of entrants but his passion and dedication to music, coupled with the security of knowing the he had his family’s support, compelled him to enter. The thought of the opportunities that could be presented to him as a result of being seen on national television was a huge incentive.
Gemini-nominated host Adamo Ruggiero returns this season and welcomes JUNO Award-winning R&B/pop sensation Keshia Chanté, country sweetheart and TV personality Tara Oram, and A&R exec at Universal Music Canada Mark Spicoluk as this year’s judges and mentors. As in years past, special guests will participate throughout the season. Justin Bieber, Nikki Yanofsky, Fefe Dobson, Josh Ramsay, Black McGrath, Shawn Desman, Kay and Allstar Weekend have all been guests on the show.
Viewers are encouraged to cast their votes for their favourite finalist via text message or by visiting YTV.com. The winner will take home the coveted title, as well as prize packages which include two songs to be released on Sony Music Canada and a $5000 spending spree at Sears.
Fans have a chance to get to know the contestants and judges even more this year on YTV.com, with new Next Star content available from Monday, July 9. New videos will be added to the site throughout the series, and viewers can visit YTV.com to watch full-length episodes and exclusive behind the-scenes footage of the judges and contestants; also an inside look at mentors offering advice and candid conversations between the Top 6 finalists.
Here are some of the numerous Next Star themed prize packs that Fans can win throughout the season:
- The Think You Know the Show Contest for a shot at a prize package which includes an iPad 3 and $250 worth of swag
- The Virtual Next Star Contest for a chance to win one round trip airline ticket for the winner and a parent or guardian, plus hotel accommodations, and $500
In a recent interview with The Caribbean Current Kafaye described himself as a first generation Canadian of Jamaican parentage. He attended Belair High school in Mandeville, Jamaica, and Silverthorn Collegiate Institute in Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada. His favourite subject is Art. He love Art because it is based on graphic design and advertising. “I have always been an average student who excelled in creative hands on subjects. I have never been fond of numbers, so, I never enjoyed mathematics much,” he states.
In his spare time he’s either on Adobe Illustrator practicing graphic design, or singing and dancing to any melody he hears. He says proudly, “I was around the age of 6 when I began singing on Sunday evenings at Sydney's, a small restaurant in Mississauga, Ontario.” Kafaye dreams of becoming an international recording artist, but will always love graphic design and may pursue a future in Marketing.
As the youngest of his closely knit family he gets a lot support. He stresses, “They are my support system and I'm lucky because whether its academics or leisure they always have tips for me. My relationship with my parents is like any average teenager's relationship. There times when there are petty arguments but I know that in the end they only want the best for me.”
“My father, who is also a singer, has influenced me the most. He has supported me and because we share the same passion it is easy for us to relate to each other. I believe that my mom has given me the strong willed spirit that keeps me going each day,” Kafaye said. He continues, “Being a member of a close knit family I would have to say that my siblings are my most trusted friends. I've lived in different countries and have made many friends. My siblings and I share many of them since we are pretty close in age. Throughout the years I've learnt that your real friends will always be there for you, full of positivity.”
He perceives that any positive element of life is an inspiration that motivates him to do well and excel. However, he believes when it comes to music his role model is Jay Douglas. Kafaye says, “Jay has been there with me from the beginning of my musical career until now. If it wasn't for him I wouldn't have seen the sign for The Next Star and I wouldn't have been in the top 12.”
Kafaye believes his optimism is a personal quality that helped him stand out among other contestants. Even though he didn't make the top 6, he got something better, something that will last a lifetime. He sums it up as, “I have made amazing friends with all the contestants, people who I can be myself around, and randomly burst out into song with. Those people who you can relate to will always remain in your heart.”
The Next Star competition has made him realize his passion for music, entertainment, and given him a better understanding of the film industry. “It’s nice when someone stops you in the street to tell you that they saw you on television and thought you were great,” he says with pride.
For Kafaye, winning The Next Star competition would have been a stepping stone to bigger and better things that would enable him to reach more people while showcasing his talent. Entering ‘The Next Star’ competition was an amazing experience from which he learned a lot. His advice to other youths who are thinking about entering – “…do it! Just remember don't be shy and make sure to hide your nerves, just be confident with yourself and your abilities.”
What advice would he give to Black youths in the same situation? Kafaye answered by saying. “Growing up I was taught not to use the word Black (relative to people) but instead to say that someone was of African descent just as other nationalities or ethnicities are referred to as European, Asian and so on. On that note, I would give youth of African descent the same advice I'd give anyone else –believe, implement, and then achieve. That’s what my big sister tells me.”
Kayafe has been described as an “old soul” by many different people when they refer to him after hearing him sing. He attributes this to his choice of songs that he enjoys singing and listening to, as well as the magic of puberty.
To other young people out there he has this to say about setting and achieving goals for themselves. “Don't give up on your goals and dreams. If you have a career choices in mind, such as, music, go for it. Always have something else that you’re passionate about in case one doesn’t work out. Always put out your best and you will never have regrets.”
So what is next for Kafaye in terms of developing and pursuing his passion for music? Well he was one of the headliners at the Jamaica 50th Gala held in Toronto, Canada on August 11 which was for him an honour and an amazing experience. “I have been told to continue to enter contests, so Canadian Idol, Canada Got Talent, and anything else that might just come up, I'll be ready.”
We expect to see Kafaye at different venues across the country and perhaps internationally as well. With his talent and charisma he can accomplish anything he sets his mind to doing. He must be congratulated on setting such high goals and standards for himself; Top 12 finalist of The Next Star is just the beginning for him.