PROVIDING A PLATFORM: Mercy B
LOVERS OF UK gospel are tuning into OH TV every Sunday to watch the third series of Time2Shine, the country’s leading gospel talent search show.
The show is the brainchild of Christian businesswoman Toby Balygon, aka Mercy B, who is passionate about providing platforms for gifted Christians to share their artistic talent without compromising their faith.
She explained: “One of the reasons I’m doing what I do is to get the gospel talent out there. I believe people’s talent is not just for the local church but for the world.”
This year’s new series has built on the success of the past two series to create something bigger and better. The branding is bolder, auditions were held in three cities instead of just one, and the prize for the eventual winner is worth a staggering £100,000 – the biggest ever prize for a UK gospel competition.
Mercy B shared the reasons for some of the changes, which included holding auditions in Birmingham and Manchester, as well as London. “People were saying they’d like to be part of Time2Shine so we decided to expand the net to see what we would catch. We found some very good talent.”
If you’ve never seen Time2Shine, the format features singers auditioning in front of a panel of judges. This year’s panel comprises gospel rapper Guvna B, Uprise TV presenter Faith Child, comedian and playwright Angie Le Mar, Mercy B and veteran music manager Robbie Ringwood.
Those who got through the first round were called back, and the show is now at the stage where a lucky group of 25 singers are getting ready to enter boot camp to undergo performance and vocal training. Out of the 25 singers at boot camp, 12 will be chosen to perform at the finals taking place at O2 Indigo in Greenwich, south east London on October 13 to compete for the top prize.
One of the special guests performing at the final will be Joshua Rogers, who became the first man to win BET’s Sunday Best gospel talent show last year.
Mercy B says she is looking forward to seeing him perform live. “The first time I listened to his music I fell in love with him. He blew me away. There’s something special about him,” she said.
Mercy B is also hopeful and praying that the judges will chose the person who deserves to win. “I’m believing God will pick the right person and that it will be in his will.”
Previous winners of the show haven’t fared too badly. Divine Divine, winners of the first series, released their debut album last year and are getting ready to do a show at the Jazz Café, whilst last year’s winner Boma Diri is gearing up for the launch of her debut album at the prestigious Cadogan Hall in Chelsea, central London.
For Mercy B, the series is achieving its objectives – of giving Christian artists a platform to perform and not compromise, whilst raising awareness amongst the wider public in gospel music. And she’s looking forward to making a new addition to the family of Time2Shine series winners, and giving them the opportunity to share their talent with the wider world.
Visit www.time2shine.tv for more details and to buy tickets for the Time2Shine final on October 13 at O2 Indigo, Greenwich, London.