Chifa K wins Alter Ego 2017

Chifa K was crowned the winner of Alter Ego 2017 in front of a sell-out crowd at Hackney Empire on Friday 19 May.

Nine acts performed in the final of Hackney’s number one talent contest, hosted by Snoochie Shy and Kat B, with music from Urban FM’s DJ Semo. The event launched the Council’s youth arts festival, Discover Young Hackney, one of the biggest of its kind in the UK. Snoochie Shy said: “This is such a great event for young people to get involved in, showcase their talent, get out there and believe in themselves. It’s all about having confidence, every young person in Hackney should get involved in the festival.”

Winner Chifa Khelfaoui, 18, wowed the audience with an original spoken word piece, she said: “I wasn’t expecting to win tonight! I loved every minute of Alter Ego, I love Hackney, there are so many talented people here.” She went on to say that she hoped other young people would be inspired by the show, saying: “Don’t ever listen to the bad things people say, whatever you want to do just go do it, work hard for it.”

Chifa K was selected through a 50/50 combination of audience online votes and judge votes. The panel included Paul Ryan from Rising Tides, George Ebenezer manager at Urban Development, JB Editor at Radar Radio, Stephen Amfo of Kruger Cowne management, Slix, a founding member of Ruff Sqaud, G FRSH artist manager at Disturbing London Records, Hussain Manawer, Shane Mizermilli and DJ Semo.

Second place went to Urban Flames, a 15 person choir of singers aged between 16 and 18, who brought the house down with their original song, The Art of Love. Princess, one of performers in the group, said: “It’s a powerful moment for us to come in second place and I am very proud of everyone here and everyone that is part of it. Alter Ego is amazing, it is a lovely experience.”

Cai Rowe, a 15 year-old solo singer, came in third place singing Say Yes by Floetry. He said: “I liked working with the other contestants, I didn’t really see it as a competition because everyone was so good and I kind of fed off everyone’s energy, it felt really good. I think it’s a really good programme to get your talent on stage – I’ve seen myself on other people’s snap chat, I feel like I’ve gone viral!”

All of the Alter Ego contestants took part in an artist development programme that included working with industry professionals and mentoring from previous Alter Ego finalists. The three winners will now receive prizes that include a full bursary for a programme with Urban Development, a music studio recording session, music mentoring from top professionals in the industry and the chance to perform on the music stage at the Well Street Market Discover Young Hackney takeover day on Saturday 1 July.

Alongside Hackney’s talented young people there was also spectacular performances by Big Tobz, Yxng Bane, Vianni as well as special guest performances from Daj Jordan, Steppaz and Avant Garde Dance crew.

Alter Ego is part of Discover Young Hackney, visit www.discoveryounghackney.com, for the full Discover Young Hackney festival programme. The festival is running right through the summer until September, thousands of young people can take part in a range of free or low cost taster sessions, workshops and performances. Keep up to date on the festival by following Discover Young Hackney on FacebookInstagram and Twitter or by using #DYH17.


Alter Ego finalists

1st - Chifa K (Chifa Khelfaoui)

2nd - Urban Flames

3rd- Cai (Kai Rowe)

Penvision (Peter Onuba)

Prophet (Elijah De Ocampo)

Nina Hudson

Shalamar B (Shalamar Baker)

Edweezy (Edward Boateng)

Nickoy Nelson

Photograph link (Credit: Hackney Council / Sean Pollock)