Nyota Parker. Picture: Instagram

It’s been quite a year for young musician Nyota Parker, culminating in her now winning the Festive Lights Switch-On Music Challenge for the second year in a row.  

The eighteen-year-old rapper, vocalist and songwriter received a record-breaking 105 617 online ‘buzz points’ for her music video submission "Oh My".  

The crowd pleaser will perform on Sunday, as part of the entertainment line-up at the 2018 Festive Lights Switch-On. 

Drawing on rap, hip-hop, jazz, trap and soul, Congolese-Irish-South African Nyota has created her own unique style that she calls Trazz.  

It’s music with a message and it’s winning her fans by the thousands who connect to the thought-provoking lyrics and deep bass beats, infused with almost nostalgic trip-hop and neo-soul elements. She says about her upcoming performance: "This year’s audiences should prepare to be inspired by a genre many consider to be just hype. I want to encourage young people to be individuals, and not to feel that they must conform to society."

Dan Plato, Executive Mayor of Cape Town, said, “I’m really pleased that the City of Cape Town is providing platforms for our youth to develop their talents and show what they have to offer. 

"This year’s switching on of the festive lights will have around 100 000 guests in attendance, and we will be seeing some well-established and top performers, as well as welcoming to the stage, two of our local up and coming stars, one of them being Yanga from Delft, the winner of this year’s Idols and, Nyota Parker, who won the Festive Lights Switch-On Music Challenge. I’m looking forward to seeing our youth put their talents on display."

The Festive Lights Switch-On Music Challenge has grown over the past three years, attracting a variety of young artists from across the greater Cape metropole.  In 2018, it proved the most hotly contested race to the top yet, with Khofhi The King coming in a close second with 98 078 'buzz points' garnered through the social media sharing system that tracks the activity.  Ultimately though, it’s the people’s choice and Nyota will step out front and centre on Sunday to perform "Energy".  It’s a favourite song of hers that has seen some radio play on various stations and is a sure crowd-pleaser.  

Asked why she entered the Music Challenge again, Nyota says: "Quite a few people asked me if I was performing this year and I felt I had to take a chance to really maximise the opportunity since it’s such a fantastic platform to perform for a huge audience."

Since winning in 2017, Nyota has been busy working on projects such as the Swift 16 video with Red Bull Studios and with artists such as Proda, producer for Afrofuturistic duo Oshun, New Orleans musician Jamal Batiste and hip-hop emcee Sun Zulu from Baltimore.  She has released an EP entitled Purification Project, and a number of music videos for her songs "Oh My", "Free Us" and "Future Me".

"Future Me" - a collaboration with "Expresso" presenter Graeme Smith - is about inspiring young kids to look beyond their current circumstances and be inspired to move forward to where they want to be – tying in perfectly with the #BeInspiring theme of this year’s Festive Lights Switch-On.  The music video for "Oh My" has just been accepted for play by MTV and Nyota will be touring to New York and Atlanta in early 2019.

Nyota espouses the qualities required to make a success of the music business – courage, self- belief and an urge to excel – she’s definitely a star in the making and is looking forward to Sunday, “It’s an honour to win again and I can’t wait to showcase my music to everyone who will be there!”

The Festive Lights Switch-On event takes place on 2 December from 4pm – 9pm at the Grand Parade.  

The entertainment lineup includes Dr Victor & the Rasta Rebels, Yanga (Idols 2018 Winner), Shekhinah, Kwesta, YoungstaCPT, Kunjalo, Emo Adams, Sarah Theron, Nyota Parker & Robin Pieters.