How Hellen Mtawali Nearly Lost Ksh 1.7M in Citizen TV Show

  • A collage of former TPF judge Hellen Mtawali
    A collage of former TPF judge Hellen Mtawali
  • Veteran vocalist Hellen Akoth Mtawali recounted how she landed a gig on Citizen TV's Tusker Project Fame (TPF) show that aired between 2006 and 2013.

    In her narration to KDTV, the vocalist detailed how she almost short-changed her pay when asked to submit her quotation for voice coaching lessons.

    Mtawali, who was initially a voice coach at a university in the city charging Ksh200 a session, was perplexed by the offer presented to her. 

    She noted a friend recommended her to the music show organisers that glued Kenyans and other viewers from the East African community to their screens.

    TPF judges Hellen Mtawali (left) and Ian Mbugua (right) at a past event
    TPF judges Hellen Mtawali (left) and Ian Mbugua (right) at a past event

    "My friend told me someone will call me to discuss the contract and I was eagerly waiting," she stated.

    "When my phone rang, the organisers told me to give them a quote for 14 people. I used to charge Ksh200 per person a day, so for 14 people, it would be Ksh28,000 a day.

    "I told her I had never done that before, and she hung up the phone," she narrated to KDTV.

    Afterwards, the friend called her, advising her not to quote a low price and to remain calm regardless of the money they will offer.

    "The organisers called me again but this time I decided to ask her what was their offer. She told me they were willing to give me Ksh1.7 million," she added.

    Remembering her friend's advice, she calmly told the organiser she would consider the offer and give feedback.

    She eventually signed the contract, and on top of the salary, she was offered a car to ferry her around.

    Mtawali, popularly known on the show as Principal Hellen Mtawali, noted that the name stuck. 

    Notably, on the show, she coached contestants on articulating their voices to stand a chance to win the Ksh5 million grand prize, among other goodies.

    Interestingly, the vocalist can speak 16 languages. 

    A signboard showing Royal Media Services (RMS) broadcast stations along Dennis Pritt Road.
    A signboard showing Royal Media Services (RMS) broadcast stations along Dennis Pritt Road.
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