Kiwi singer flying high in competition run by musical megastar Usher

The rollercoaster continues for New Zealand singer Chris Black as he’s made it to the top 10 of an international music competition.

Black, 25, is in the final rounds of American pop star Usher’s Megastar music competition.

Last week he made the top 20 and he found out on Sunday he’s made the cut for the top 10.

Chris Black is closing in on the finals of Megastar, backed by usher to go to L.A.


Chris Black is closing in on the finals of Megastar, backed by usher to go to L.A.

He ranked sixth overall at the moment and needs to move up a place in the final four days of public voting to make the top five finalists who will go to Los Angeles to “battle it out” in front of the judges.

“I’m just like a big bag of mixed emotions, excited and nervous,” he said.

Usher launched the Megastar competition via an online app, where contestants upload videos of their music, with the winner taking home the top prize of US$1 million.

The winner is chosen based on a voting system as well as judges who follow the competition and cast their votes through the app.

From the thousands who initially entered the competition from the US, Canada, the UK, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, only 10 are currently left.

Black is the only New Zealander left in the running.

“I’m very overwhelmed with it, I didn’t expect it at all.”

He is based in Motueka where he is staying with friends, one of who

mentioned the competition to him and urged him to give it a go.

“It sounded a lot like X-Factor, I kind of turned a blind eye to it because I did that when I was younger and I wasn’t a fan of how it all works, it just wasn’t really for me.

“I’m glad that I listened to him [as] it’s worked out pretty good in the end.”

Black was born in Christchurch and grew up in Australia.

He came back to New Zealand to enjoy the summer months, with the plan to move to Auckland at the end of the season.

Black said he started singing and playing guitar when he was seven but it was only a couple of years ago he taught himself how to play piano.

“I just fell in love with the piano and it was probably at that time that I realised this is something I want to do and pursue for sure.

“I’ve never had a singing class in my life.”

Usher had been one of his favourite childhood pop stars, but he’s branched out, taking inspiration from Ed Sheeran, singing anything from R&B to pop.

Black said he’s done a few gigs here and there but mostly focused on growing a platform and audience on social media.

“It seems to be the way to go,” he said.

Black said his goal was to eventually live in Los Angeles and sign up with a record label.

“It’s the place to be in the industry.

“That’s where I want to be eventually at some point in my life.”

To vote for Chris Black, download the Megastar app on your phone, log in with Facebook or email, search his name at the top, click on his video and cast your vote.

 – Stuff


This Artist Is Bringing Music That Heals Mainstream Through Global Competition App “Megastar”

Think of one of your favorite songs. How does it make you feel?

In August, I lost my best friend of a decade, and admit to nights where I didn’t know if anything could heal the hole that had been left in her passing.

I remembered this incredible song I had heard, and searched for it online to at the very least, distract my mind. The song was entitled, “Surrender” by an artist named Monique Benabou.

I played the song, and about a minute in, I felt like my heart burst wide open, and I was flooded with beautiful memories I had shared with my friend over the years.

I felt, connection, joy, and though I had a ways to go, a beginning to understanding and accepting of what had happened. I felt, healed.

When I saw Monique as a contestant on the first global talent competition app, Megastar, I was compelled to find out more about her journey as a singer/songwriter, and more about what differentiates the music she creates.

Q: I experienced something different about your music from everything that is currently out there, what is it?

Monique: “My music is different from what’s out there, because I am not afraid to say what wants to come through. There is no ego in my music, it is 100% stone cold truth and has no agenda attached to it, other than making the listener remember who they are. I sing the things, thoughts and feelings we all experience but are too afraid to say or identify and that’s how it is able to cut through the B.S. and hit you right in the feels. It’s ‘lit’.”

Q: You talk about bringing the world “music that heals”. Can you explain what that means?

Monique: “Music that heals is music that makes you feel. It cuts through the ego mind and goes straight to the soul of your being. It activates things within you that you had forgotten about or didn’t know even existed. It is a 100% cellular activation and possible opportunity for cellular reprogramming. It is a support system meant to offer a place of belonging, comfort, empowerment, inspiration and encouragement. It is a technology in and of itself that has been around for thousands of years and utilized by ancient civilisations, to heal, attune and open the body, so that the spirit can flourish.”

Q: You are a finalist in Megastar’s global talent competition! Can you share the journey that got you here?

Monique: “I was born in Alameda, CA and I have been singing since I was 3 years old. My family is a first generation Moroccan American jewish family and I am one of 5 children. I have always known since I was young that I had a big purpose that had to do with music and singing and sang my way through elementary, middle school and high school. Music was my salvation and refuge as a young child and teenager. I was harshly bullied to the point of switching schools and finally dropping out of high school but that didn’t stop me from going after what I knew I was meant to do and become. I got my GED, preceded to attend junior college, and moved to LA to pursue a professional singing career at 19 years old.

My first few years in LA were rough and full of life lessons. I learned to harness those life lessons and painful experiences into song writing for the first time when I was 20 years old. I was 23 when I got my big break in LA after auditioning at a cattle call audition back in 2012, I landed a spot on the second season of the Voice and was mentored by Christina Aguilera for the duration of my time on the show.

Following “The Voice” I entered an agreement with a management company that was closely affiliated with Justin Timberlake and spent the next 2.5 years circuiting some of the most incredible studios and writing with some of the most sought after songwriters, Brian McKnight, James Fauntleroy, Tank and performing alongside the likes of Colbie Caillat, Jason Derulo and many other overseas artists.

Fast forward to 2015, I had a breakdown and realised that I was no longer happy pursuing my career and didn’t like the music I was making, so I left my management company. I was on the brink of releasing my first EP, which was postponed because of the management separation, until Jan 2016. It was after the release of my EP that I realised I needed break and was unsure if I had the ability to carry on in the industry.

I felt lost. I began cooking for the next year to find my joy and reconnect with pure expression and creativity. I ended up creating a pretty successful LA based supper club, which made its premiere on the Bravo Network in February 2017.

After some time away from music, I began to find my mojo again for singing and songwriting, revisiting my roots and unearthing my core desires to inspire and help heal my fellow brothers and sisters on this planet. It was then that I declared my desire for a new direction and began my journey as a conscious music artist and artist activist.

Earlier this year I was approached by Pepsi to do an artist feature which I celebrated because I would be the first independent conscious artist to pair with a major brand. This last year has been one of the most aligned and fulfilling years of my life and career. I have had the opportunity to work with incredible talent and artists, as well as other celebrity activists like America Ferrera and Wilmer Valderrama as a collaborator at the most recent capital’s Harness event in Hollywood.

I had my first song placement on a major TV broadcasting network, ABC’s “Once Upon A Time”, and an opportunity in Indonesia to use and licence one of my original songs, “Comfort Zone”, as the focal point for a ‘We Are the World’ style campaign in efforts to raise $1 million for a Bali relief fund and clean water initiative that will launch in 2018.

 And now we are here with Megastar. I am currently one of the top 5 finalists in the grand finale and one of the only conscious artists on the platform.

My journey with Megastar started when my roommate, Dijon, introduced me to the platform. He was doing some work with the app and felt that it would be a great fit and platform to showcase my original content and connect with fans. And here we are now.”

Q: What are your goals as an artist moving forward?

Monique: “My goals for the next year will be to complete and release one of the most profound pieces of art and music albums of the last 20 years. As a pioneer of the divine feminine awakening and new world order, this record and medicine that is coming through me is so much bigger than myself and will impact so many incredible human beings. It will raise the collective consciousness and vibration of the planet and acts as a full activation installment by tapping into the neurological binary frequencies of the brain and ancient chakral wisdom or tuning. For those who don’t know what all that means – it is damn good music that makes you feel good on a scientific and cellular level. This record is engineered to create an induced state of flow, love and is an entry way for deeper interpersonal connection. It is healing in every sense of the word.

After the release I hope to travel the world performing with other like minded and like spirited artists and continue to collaborate with other revolutionary thought leaders to continue waking up the human race. So many people are hurting, so many people feel alone in this digital world and it’s my goal to bring the heartbeat back to humanity and feeling back into our function, being human, being spirit in this human experience is challenging, no doubt and it’s awesome.”

Q: You have accomplished so much, despite the obstacles you’ve experienced. What are 3 pieces of advice for readers who are in the “tougher times” of pursuing their own dreams?

Monique: “First, when you are tapping into your genius, you will know it because you will have moments when you feel crazy. Just remember that your genius is so advanced and ahead of time that it’s going to take some people a little while to understand and see your full vision, so hold the vision, hold the space and believe in it unwaveringly

Second, my mentor, Preston Smiles, says and I carry this with me every day – love always finds a way and anything else will find an excuse. Love wins yo.

And third, the magnitude in which you grow your business or career, is a direct reflection of how much you invest in the development of yourself. So stay curious, get to know you and find your truth.”

Q: You are in the final round of Megastar, how can readers support your music to help bring this album to the masses?


What needs to happen for the #1 position is the following:

1.Download MegaStar the App

2.Search ‘Monique Benabou’

3.Click on the last video uploaded “Comfort Zone”

4.Click ‘Vote’ on the bottom left corner of the video (everyday that voting is open!)


Direct Link to Comfort Zone on Megastar


Megastar App Akil Davis is a shooting star!

I must confess, I trend toward bad moods more often than I like, in these days of chaotic politics and daily news reports of how divided we are as a nation and people – my thoughts spinning in turmoil and unable to focus which doesn’t help when you have a script deadline and the juices aren’t flowing. So, when a friend called and interrupted to ask me to vote for a friend of hers who is participating in an online application contest called Megastar, I wasn’t very hip to pay attention. Against my “better judgement” I downloaded the damned thing simply because I was happy to hear from her and with total contempt prior to investigation was ready to be disappointed. Much to my delight, I was profoundly wrong.

Akil Apollo Davis

Now, for those who haven’t heard of Megastar – like me – here’s the scoop. MEGASTAR is a global talent competition app, where one contestant will win US 1 million dollars. The winner is chosen by Fans and celebrity judges who follow the competition and vote in the MEGASTAR App. Megastar App

I was blown away! Talent untainted by commercialism – raw, pure but sophisticated. The heart-warming country crossover stylings of Andie Case. Soulful, velvety voiced Monique Benabou crooning. Leather clad Paul Spaeth attacking the piano like a violent lover – a chariot on fire racing towards the gods of Olympus. The irresistible duo of AdamandKizzie. Yes, they spell it together because – well, watch and you’ll see why. I was reminded of the power of music – GOOD music. These artists were all fabulous but there was one who spoke a truth so powerful he reached into my heart and soothed the ache. Akil’s Youtube Video

Part guru, shaman, teacher, dancer, singer, actor – this man, this being, is much, much more than a performing artist. “If I can help ease suffering in someone else then I’ll do it. Through dance, theater, music, education and art”. There on my phone screen Akil danced with abandon. An ancient energy springing from his fingers, balinese fans, masks and flowing fabrics and speaking words my soul was hungry for. More a painting in motion than a man dancing, Akil pauses looks right into the camera and says, “If the Buddha is already enlightened why is he or she always meditating? That is because enlightenment is like everything else in the universe, temporary”. He then launched into a trapping, dope, rap leaving me in a state of peace at the words I had just heard. Akil reminds me that just as enlightenment is temporary, all our current world strife is temporary too. So, I’m voting for Akil. And I hope you will too. He also says, “artists are the priests of our culture [who give], I came to give”. Thank you Akil for quieting my mind. And, oh yeah. I finished the script and had time to write this article too. Megastar App

The deadline is Thursday. Download the app and vote for Akil. Thank him for making the world a better place.


Gold Coasters urged to vote local singer Chris Black into finale of Usher’s search for a Megastar

THE State Election isn’t the only poll Gold Coast voters are being urged to support.

From 7am today, music lovers can help turn a local musician into an overnight megastar by voting for his performances in a groundbreaking global talent search that carries a first prize purse of $1 million.

Homegrown singer and musician Chris Black, 25, is on the verge of securing a place in the December 14 grand finale of Megastar, a mobile-first talent contest overseen by US star and judge Usher.

Gold Coast singer Chris Black is in the mix to be crowned a Megastar as part of a global talent search being overseen by Usher.

Black’s soulful vocal performances have struck a chord with Megastar voters and propelled him through the contest’s early rounds.

“I have a really big chance to potentially take this thing out,” the former Merrimac High student said.

Black’s original audition video for the contest was a soulful performance of Sam Smith’s Too Good at Goodbyes featuring fellow Gold Coaster Hemi.

Gold Coast singer Chris Black. Picture: @chriddyblack Instagram

“It got us through and I placed fifth in my heat to advance to round one of the finals,” Black said.

“Each time you advance you have to upload a new video for people to see and vote.”

Fans who download the Megastar app on their mobiles have 48 hours from 7am today to vote for Black’s latest video and send him through to the next round.

“I’m sitting in 10th at the moment and the Top 10 go through,” he said.

“I’m two rounds away from the grand final.”

US star Usher is overseeing the global Megastar talent search. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Devised by ASX-listed entertainment app firm MSM, which has more than 130 million social media followers, the competition covers categories including music, dance, sport, extreme, comedy, magic and variety.

“I’d love to bring home first place to and for Australia,” Black said.

Voters can download the Megastar app, search for Chris Black and click on his video to vote or click on the link in his @chriddyblack bio on Instagram.

Fans can also follow Black’s journey via his Facebook page.


‘You’ve got nothing to lose’: Meet the Aussie finalist in mobile talent search Megastar

AN Aussie singer is poised to make the grand final in the world’s first global mobile talent search, Megastar, backed by Usher.

AN Australian singer has made the top 10 in million dollar talent search, Megastar.

Chris Black, of the Gold Coast, is one of the finalists in the global app-based contest backed by R&B singer Usher.

Australian-raised, New Zealand-born Black is currently placed second in the rankings, as voted for by the public. If he makes the grand final, he will fly to Los Angeles next week to meet Grammy-winner Usher, who is Megastar’s “chief creative officer”.

“I should know by Saturday night whether I’m going to LA,” Black, 25, said today.

“I’ve been pretty safe inside the top five for the last two weeks, alternating between third, fourth and fifth (place).”

Megastar is broadcast worldwide via its app and Australia is its second-highest audience behind the United States.

Black has been competing against entrants from the United States, Canada, UK and South Africa, as well as Down Under.

He credits his success in the contest with overhauling his partying lifestyle, and shedding more than 10kg since January.

“It has definitely helped not only physically but mentally,” Black said. “I was in a rut, just not in a great way, partying heaps, drinking and going out.

 “And then I just decided to make a change and I did, focusing on health and fitness. I went six and a half months (and) didn’t touch a drop of alcohol,” he said.

“I’ve only been out a couple of times this year. It’s very rare that I’ll party hard now.”

Usher, right, pictured with Diddy at DJ Khaled's birthday party this week, is the face of app-based talent search, Megastar. Picture: Getty Images

Usher, right, pictured with Diddy at DJ Khaled’s birthday party this week, is the face of app-based talent search, Megastar. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Australian-raised, New Zealand-born Chris Black is in the top 10 of Megastar Millionaire. Picture: Instagram

Australian-raised, New Zealand-born Chris Black is in the top 10 of Megastar Millionaire. Picture: InstagramSource:Instagram

As part of Megastar, contestants submitted a weekly video of them performing a song, with Black’s entries including versions of I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, Drake’s Hold On, We’re Going Home and Sam Smith’s Too Good At Goodbyes.

“One of my best friends told me about (the competition),” Black said. “He said to me, ‘you’ve got nothing to lose, man, upload a video.’

“I auditioned for The X Factor a few years ago,” Black said. “There were tonnes of auditions before you perform the judges. I ended up pulling out of it because I didn’t think it was for me at the time. Not that I wasn’t ready … I just wanted to kind of do my own thing.”

Launched in September, Megastar — which has a prize of US $1 million — was branded the world’s first mobile talent competition.

The grand final is being held in LA on December 15, and streamed live via the Megastar app.

Sydney-based Megastar co-founder Adam Wellisch said Australians had taken to the app-based talent search concept.

“We are a country of tech savvy, mobile obsessed individuals and Australian users of the Megastar App come a close second to the US in minutes of livestream viewed in the Megastar App,” Wellisch said.



Arvada man competing in MEGASTAR competition

ARVADA, Colo. — A musician from Arvada is competing in a digital talent competition that could land him a $1 million prize, as well as entertainment opportunities.

Paul Spaeth has been playing the piano since he was 3-years-old. His talent allowed him to become a finalist in the first couple rounds of ‘Megastar’, which is an app-based competition created in part by pop-star Usher.

“It’s most similar to American Idol because there are various acts, just not musicians,” Spaeth said.

Spaeth’s musical style is introspective, yet edgy. He’s been able to advance in the competition the last few weeks, putting him in the top 10. The first round of the competition featured 1,000 contestants.

“It’s really kind of cool to be up against so many people from across the world,” he said.

You can help Spaeth by voting for him daily. Just download the Megastar App for your iPhone or Android phone. Click here for the download link.


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MSM hits on a recipe for success with Megastar

ake some the biggest names in the entertainment world, add in a base jumping legend, combine them with one of the most successful audience participation concepts in recent memory, throw in the excitement of using the latest in communications technologies and a US$1 million grand prize and you have the recipe for success that is MSM’s Megastar global talent show competition.

ASX-listed digital technology and entertainment company MSM Corporation International Limited (ASX: MSM) has grabbed international media attention with its bold Megastar talent quest which is backed by some of the world’s most powerful entertainment stars, including eight-time Grammy Award winning superstar Usher…


You can read the full story here:


Megastar’s talent comp kicks off

ASX-listed entertainment app firm MSM has launched its global talent competition, Megastar, in Australia and US over the weekend.

The company, which has pop superstar Usher on board as celebrity judge and Chief Creative Officer, said it had a total audience reach of over 130 million social media followers and its million-dollar competition has kicked off successfully.

The way the competition works is fans are in charge of who rises and falls through voting with their mobile phone, across categories including Music, Dance, Sport, Extreme, Comedy, Magic and Variety. Auditions are already running across South Africa, the UK, New Zealand and Canada.

The five-week competition will culminate with a grand finale on December 14, 2017, with one performer awarded a $US1 million prize.