Vanessa Hau Mdee (born 7 June 1988),[1] is a Tanzanian singer, rapper, television personality and radio host. Mdee is popularly known for being the first ever Tanzanian MTV VJ. She later rose to prominence as a radio and TV host, hosting Epic Bongo Star Search and Dume Challenge for ITV Tanzania before signing to B'Hits Music Group in late 2012.

Vanessa Mdee
Vanessa Hau Mdee

(1988-06-07) 7 June 1988 (age 35)
Arusha, Tanzania
Other namesVee Money
  • Singer
  • rapper
  • video joskey
  • television personality
  • radio host
Years active2007–2020
Musical career

After joining B'hits Music Group, Mdee collaborated with Tanzanian rapper A.Y. on a record Money and Ommy Dimpoz, a Bongo Flava artist on a record Me and You that was later voted Song of the Year during the 2013 Kilimanjaro Music Awards.[2] She received an even bigger buzz with the release of her first solo single "Closer", which in its first week was downloaded over 30,000 times, a feat achieved by no other Tanzanian artist. "Closer" remained on the charts for over 13 weeks.[3]

Vanessa has had the chance to interview many artists, such as K'Naan, Kelly Rowland, French Montana, Mac Miller, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Miguel, Donald, Nazizi, Xtatic, Stella Mwangi, Camp Mulla, Tay Grin, Teargas and many more African and international acts. In 2015 and 2016, she released three singles ("Nobody But Me", "Never Ever" and "Niroge") which were also received well. In 2018, she was signed to Universal Music Group.[4]

During her Deep Dive With Vanessa Mdee Podcast in 2020, Vanessa Mdee in an unforeseen move, announced to quit the music industry citing pressure and depression as the cause of her decision.[5][6][7][8]

Early life and education edit

Vanessa Mdee was born on 7 June 1988 in Arusha, the third-largest city in Tanzania. Mdee became familiar with various cultures after growing up in New York, Paris, Nairobi and Arusha. She obtained her secondary and high level education at Arusha Modern High School. Mdee attended university at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa to pursue a law degree. Mdee quickly became familiar with many different forms of creative and performing arts.

Career edit

2007: MTV VJ Search edit

In early 2007, Mdee got the chance to audition for The MTV VJ Search in Dar es Salaam. Afterwards, she joined Carol and Kule to host the Coca-Cola Chart Express. By 2008, Mdee had established herself in Tanzania and around the continent, hosting shows in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Angola, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She also became known in the United States and Brazil.

2008: MTV Staying Alive edit

In 2008, Mdee worked with the Staying Alive Foundation on a project close to her heart. She got to visit the Uwanja wa Fisi with then-Staying Alive Foundation Special Ambassador Kelly Rowland. Mdee also joined Malaria No More in their Z!nduka Campaign, a campaign aimed at the eradication of malaria.

2009 edit

In early 2009 Mdee hosted Senses, Sounds and Wisdom with Zantel during the annual Sauti Za Busara International Music Festival, showcasing the ever-growing Swahili culture. Mdee's fashion sense has made her the go-to girl at every MTV Africa Music Awards. She hosted the red carpet event for three years in a row.

2011: Choice FM Tanzania and other media projects edit

In 2011, Mdee's became the host of 102.5 Choice FM's The Hitlist. As host, Mdee played R&B, Hip-Hop, and Pop. She also interviewed many artists, such as K'Naan, Kelly Rowland, Mac Miller, Rick Ross, Ludacris, Miguel, Donald, Naazizi, Xtatic, Stella Mwangi, Camp Mulla, Tay Grin, Teargas, Dr. Sid and many more African and international acts.

Along with her pan-African weekly TV show, MTV's Base Select 10 and daily radio gig, Mdee blogged as a roving reporter on behalf of MTV Staying Alive and UNAIDS on her Dynamites Mission website. She was MTV's voice at the 2011 UNAIDS Mali Youth Summit in Bamako and the subsequent High Level meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, She participated in the International Conference on HIV and STI's in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and cofounded (along with M. K. Asante) STANDWIDTH, under the UNAIDS umbrella. Damian Kimt.

2012: MTV Base Meets and music premier edit

In 2012 Mdee hosted MTV Base Meets, a show geared towards empowering young Africans from around the world by giving them the rare opportunity to sit down with an influential leader. MTV Base Meets brought her in the company of Russell Simmons, Alek Wek, former President of Nigeria Hon. Olusegun Obasanjo, football star Emmanuel Adebayor and Akon. Mdee also hosted the Kili Music Awards (Tanzania's music awards) as well as Tanzania's nationwide talent search Epiq Bongo Star Search (EBSS). Mdee is currently working on her new web series Vee World Wide, about her travels and encounters with various celebrities from around the world. People who have appeared on Vee World Wide include Keke Palmer, Carol Rodrigues, Da Internz, Keyshia Knight Pulliam, Letoya Luckett, DWoods, GOOD Music's D'Banj and many more. Mdee was asked to audition for BET's 106 & Park, although she did not get the gig.

Also in 2012, Mdee was awarded at a gala in New York City by the UNA-YP (United Nations Association of Young Professionals) for being an African change maker. In the same month[when?] she was awarded by the GAVI Alliance for her support in the initiation of free vaccinations for Tanzanian children. In May 2013, Mdee was invited to speak at the World Economic Forum for Africa in Cape Town, South Africa on behalf of the GAVI Alliance on the announcement of the new record low price for the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. Later that same month, Mdee again spoke on cervical cancer at the Global Forum for Cervical Cancer Prevention in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on behalf of Global Health Strategies. Mdee officially became a GAVI Ambassador and an active voice against cervical cancer.

Mdee launched her music career in 2012, working on the single "Me and You" by Ommy Dimpoz. A month later 13 January 2013 – she released her first single "Closer". These scored her four nominations at Tanzania's Music Awards (Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music Awards), including "Bongo Pop Song of the year", which she won.[2] She also won Collaboration of the Year.[2]

2013 edit

In, 2013 Mdee got added to the Dar es Salaam hub of the World Economic Forum as a Global Shaper. In October 2013 Mdee joined the GAVI Alliance again at the UN General Assembly where she spoke on a panel with Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda. This trip ended with Mdee closing the NASDAQ by ringing the ceremonial closing bell, along with UNAIDS Executive Director Michel Sidibe and Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of Mali. Mdee was in turn awarded by the Global Health and Diplomacy for her work in advocacy.[9]

Mdee hosted MTV Base's Hunters Oasis; a music festival around Africa with appearances from some of the African continents hottest artists and DJs. She also hosted Tanzania's Epiq Bongo Star Search Season 7 and Dume Challenge, seasons 1 and 2.[1] Mdee also released her second single "Come Over" in November 2013 which has been on charts in Tanzania, Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya etc.

2014: Music, Awards, Airtel, Coke Studio, Crown Paints, Music Tours edit

In 2014, Mdee was nominated for 3 Kilimanjaro Tanzania Music Awards for Female Artist of the Year, R&B Song of the Year and Female Performer of the Year. On 3 May 2014, she won for R&B Song of the Year for Closer. Mdee released her third single Hawajui on 13 June.

'Switch On' Airtel Campaign; Vanessa Mdee is involved in the 'Switch On' campaign by Airtel that is about connecting users to the internet and charged according to the kind of device in use.

MTV Africa Music Awards; Vanessa Mdee alongside Nomuzi Mabena presented the Best Collaboration Award and Best Francophone Award. During the trip to Durban, South Africa she as an MTV VJ had an opportunity to sit down and interview Trey Songz, Miguel and French Montana all artists from the U.S.

Coke Studio Africa; Vanessa Mdee features in season II of Coke Studio Africa where she collaborates and performs with Nigeria's Burna Boy.

Kili Music Tour; Vanessa Mdee was among the artists that graced the Kili Music Tour 2014 stage in Mwanza and the finale in Dar es Salaam. Serengeti Fiesta Music Tour 2014 – Sambaza Upendo (Swahili for 'Spread Love'); Vanessa Mdee was on Tanzania's biggest nationwide music tour, covering various regions. The tour final took place on Saturday, 18 October 2014 in Dar es Salaam where American rapper T.I graced the stage; other acts included Diamond, Davido, Waje, Victoria Kimani, Patoranking to name a few.

Vanessa Mdee received an endorsement deal from Crown Paints, to be its brand ambassador in Tanzania. Crown Paints is a number one paint manufacturing company in Eastern Africa.

AFRIMA Awards; Vanessa Mdee nominated for two categories: Best Female Artiste in Eastern Africa and Best African RNB & Soul[10] in the All Africa Music Awards. On 27 December, Vanessa Mdee won Best Female Artiste in Eastern Africa award in Lagos, Nigeria.

On 8 November, Vanessa Mdee joined forces with another Tanzanian songbird Barnaba Elias to release their latest up tempo Afro Pop duet Siri. It tells the tale of a cunning young man who tries to convince a young bride to embark on a love affair with him, with promises of plenty material things. Despite her upbringing the story ends at a crossroads, leaving the listener wondering. Siri is already rising fast on the Tanzania radio charts plus East African charts. Later on 8 December, the much anticipated video for Hawajui was premiered on MTV Base and has gone on to capture the attention of the African continent and beyond.

2015: Samsung, ESSENCE,, Awards edit

Mdee performing in 2015

Early this year, Vanessa Mdee signed a brand ambassadorship deal with Samsung Tanzania. Vanessa has continued to attract a lot of attention from plenty of corporations due to her enormous talent and continued effort to grow her brand.

On 26 March 2015, Vanessa Mdee released her fifth single Nobody But Me where she joins with heavy hitting South African rapper K.O on. Composed by Vanessa Mdee, Ntokozo Mdluli and Nahreel, the light hearted collabo will transcend from the airwaves to the club. Nobody But Me is already topping charts in various countries in Africa.

On 4 April 2015, Mdee performed in Lagos, Nigeria at the Gidi Culture Festival known to be Africa's biggest beach festival, that was presented by Eclipse Live and Lagos State. The festival was held at Eko Atlantic. Vanessa Mdee shared the stage with some of the continent's top artists like Burna Boy, Awilo Longomba, M.I, Waje, Sean Tizzle, Victoria Kimani, Efya, Skales and many more. Vanessa Mdee was the only artist representing Tanzania at the festival.

Mdee is up for three Kilimanjaro Music Awards[11] i.e. Female Artist of the Year, Female Entertainer of the Year and Afropop Song of the Year. The awards are set to take place 15 June 2015 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Vanessa Mdee's also nominated for Favorite Female Artist at Tanzania's People's Choice Awards Tuzo Za Watu that take place on 22 May 2015 in Dar es Salaam.

On 13 May 2015, Mdee joined forces with arguably seven of Africa's most popular songstresses for ONE[12] mission and ONE mission only – Celebrating girl power! The campaign is calling on world leaders to put girls and women in the forefront in 2015. This is the year when the new development goals will be set by world leaders at the United Nations. Apart from Vanessa Mdee, the other artists are Victoria Kimani (Kenya), Judith Sephuma (South Africa), Waje (Nigeria), Arielle T (Gabon), Gabriela (Mozambique), Yemi Alade (Nigeria), Selomor Mtukudzi (Zimbabwe) and Blessing Nwafor. The song promotes the Poverty is Sexist Campaign globally, and will be officially launched in Nigeria, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa during the World Economic Forum for Africa and the African Union Heads of State Summit. The song is released in conjunction with a report by ONE titled, "Poverty is Sexist: Why girls and women must be at the heart of the fight to end extreme poverty". The report shows how unlocking women's economic potential could improve the lives of everyone in society. It also illustrates the structural nature of the social, economic, political and cultural barriers that militate against women and girls. The campaign has a petition which is calling on world leaders to track the fight against inequality and injustice by investing more in women and girls if the world is to end extreme poverty by 2030.

On 23 June 2015, Mdee took home two KTMA Awards for Female Artist of the Year and Best Female Entertainer.[13] The awards were held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – which takes place every year.

Essence[14] a popular US magazine – hadn't shot a cover in Africa since 1978. They decided it was time. They travelled to East Africa and photographed Erykah Badu in Zanzibar, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya for the August issue. Vanessa Mdee features in this Essence issue where she opens up about Tanzania, her music, inspiration and many more.[15]

2016: Music, Mombasa Rocks, One Africa Music Fest, Fiesta Tour edit

The Mombasa Rocks festival was held at the Mombasa Golf Club – Kenya on 8 October 2016. Vanessa Mdee delivering an electrifying performance[16] was among the headliners that featured international singing sensation Chris Brown, Nigeria's Wizkid, Tanzania's Alikiba and others.

Fiesta Tour: Vanessa among other Tanzanian music artists[17] have been touring various cities in the country. Vanessa has performed in Dodoma, Morogoro, Arusha and is set to perform at the finale in Dar es Salaam.

One Africa Music Festival: Vanessa performed live at the Toyota Center – Houston[18] on Saturday, 22 October 2016. This unforgettable night featured Africa's finest such as Nigerian afrobeats stars 2Face, Banky W, P-Square, Dbanj, Olamide, Flavour, Kcee, Harrysongs, DR Congolese Fally Ipupa, South African duo Mafikizolo, East Africa's Vanessa Mdee, and many more.

Mdee Music edit

In 2018 Vanessa Mdee unveiled her own record label titled Mdee Music[19] which housed Mimi Mars and Brian Simba. Brian Simba left the label in 2021 leaving Mimi Mars and Vanessa Mdee as the only members of the label.[20]

East Africa's Got Talent edit

In July 2019, Vanessa Mdee was unveiled as one of the four pioneer judges for the debut season of East Africa's Got Talent, which began airing in August 2019.[21]

Money Mondays edit

Vanessa Mdee released her debut album 'Money Mondays' on 15 January 2018. The album consists eighteen tracks, two as bonus and sixteen as official tracks.[22] Including Bambino ft. Reekado Banks, Cash Madame, Bounce and Kisela ft. P Squares's Peter.

The album enjoyed guest artists suchas Cassper Nyovest, Joh Makini, Reekado Banks, Radio & Weasel, Mohombi and Jamaican Dancehall king Konshens[23]

Money Mondays broke many records in East African Music history, a report announced by African most loved music streaming platform BoomPlay. The album showed great potential from the onset when it sold 2 000 pre-ordered copies 10 days before the official release date of 29 January 2017.[24]

MTV Shuga edit

Vanessa Mdee appeared on MTV Shuga Down South several episodes as Stormi the glam madam.[25] Vanessa Mdee is the first and the only Tanzanian musician to appear on the TV show.

Personal life edit

Vanessa Mdee has been rumoured to have been in a number of romantic relationships but the only confirmed relationship is with her now ex, Tanzanian music star, Juma Jux. The pair were in a relationship for six years before the final breakup in 2018 which they mutually agreed to keep secret before Vanessa revealed the news in an interview in 2019.[26][27] Juma Jux later revealed in an interview that his first breakup with the singer was as a result of a picture of Vanessa with Nigerian rapper, Ice Prince, with the two looking cozy.[28][29] Vanessa was also linked to a rumoured romantic relationship with American superstar, Trey Songz,[30] which she later refuted in an interview.[31]

On 25 November 2019, Rotimi, popularly known by his character, Andre, in the popular TV series, Power, shared a picture of him and Vanessa posing in an elevator on date night, with Vanessa also confirming their relationship by posting the same picture with a different caption.[32][33] Rotimi told the story of how the two met at a party and hit it off [34] and Vanessa also said in an interview how she knew he was her husband, only two days after meeting him.[35] In a video posted on Instagram with Rotimi who was later joined by Vanessa, the pair revealed that they both had tattoos of each other's name on their bodies; her (middle) name, Hau, on his right wrist and his name, Rotimi, on her chest.[36] They also have matching tattoos of the number 1045 on their wrists.[37]

In December 2020, Vanessa announced her engagement to Rotimi by posting a video of her diamond ring on Instagram along with a long caption.[38] The pair was expecting their first child together. It was announced with a series of maternity photos. On 29 September 2021, they welcomed a boy. They were expecting another child and Vanessa confirmed via her Instagram that it was a girl.

Vanessa Mdee is also the older sister to Mimi Mars who is a renowned Tanzanian singer, actress and TV Host. The two sisters have a close relationship.[39][40]

Discography edit

Title Album details
Money Mondays
  • Released: 15 January 2018[41]
  • Label: Mdee Music
  • Formats: CD, digital download
Expensive TBA

Awards and nominations edit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2013 Tanzania Music Awards Best New Artist Nominated[42]
Best Afro Pop Me & You Won[43]
Best Collaboration Me & You Won
2014 Tanzania Music Awards Female Artist of the Year Nominated[44]
RnB Song of the Year Closer Won[44]
Female Performer of the Year Nominated[44]
Tanzania People's Choice Awards Favourite Female Video Closer Nominated
All Africa Music Awards Best African RnB & Soul Come Over Nominated[45]
Best Female Artiste In Eastern Africa Won[46]
2015 Tanzania Music Awards Female Artist of the Year Won[47]
Afro Pop Song of the Year Hawajui Nominated[48]
Best Female Entertainer Won[49]
Tanzania People's Choice Awards Female Artist of the Year Nominated[50]
MTV Africa Music Awards Best Female Nominated[51]
African Muzik Magazine Awards Best Female Artist East Africa Won[52]
All Africa Music Awards Best African Pop Hawajui Won[53]
The Future Awards Africa Prize in Entertainment Nominated[54]
Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards 2015 Most Stylish Female Artist East Africa Won[55]
Africa Entertainment Awards ( Canada) Best International Female Artist Africa Won[56]
Africa Entertainment Awards (USA) Best Female Artist Africa Nominated
2016 Kora Awards Best Female Artist – East Africa Pending[57]
Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best Female Artist ( Non Nigerian) Nominated
Africa Magazine Muzik Awards Best Female East Africa Nominated
Africa Entertainment Awards (USA) Best Female artist Nominated
MTV Africa Music Awards Best Female Nominated
Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards 2016 Most Stylish Female Artiste (East Africa) Won

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Vee Money on SDK". 14 April 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Tanzania Music Awards#2013 winners
  3. ^ "Vee Money on Ghafla". 14 April 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  4. ^ "Vanessa Mdee: "It's Tough to Be a Female Artist, You Have to Work Five Times Harder Than the Men"". 11 February 2019. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
  5. ^ "Vanessa Mdee quits music, says its demonic - P.M. News". Retrieved 3 September 2023.
  6. ^ Kamau, Richard (19 June 2020). "Vanessa Mdee Speaks on Quitting Music: 'I Love Music But the Industry is Demonic'". Nairobi Wire. Retrieved 3 September 2023.
  7. ^ "Vanessa Mdee hints at next career move after quitting music". Mpasho. Retrieved 3 September 2023.
  8. ^ "I was depressed and alcoholic, says Mdee". The Star. Retrieved 3 September 2023. {{cite web}}: External link in |last= (help)
  9. ^ "Join the fight against extreme poverty". 13 May 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  10. ^ [1] Archived 26 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Majina ya wateule wa KTMA 2015 yatangazwa". Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  12. ^ [2] Archived 18 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Ali Kiba, Vanessa Mdee win big at Kilimanjaro Awards". Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  14. ^ "". Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  15. ^ "ESSENCE Global Issue: Get to Know Tanzanian Pop Singer Vanessa Mdee".
  16. ^ "VIDEO: Vanessa Mdee's Electrifying Performance at Mombasa Rocks". 10 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Vanessa Mdee Ft. Jux – Juu | Download | Bongo Exclusive". Bongo Exclusive. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 2 May 2018.
  18. ^ "One Africa Music Fest – Houston Toyota Center".
  19. ^ Ayo, Millard (27 February 2018). "VideoMPYA: Mdee Music imetuletea video mpya kutoka kwa Brian Simba "stimu"". Millard Ayo. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  20. ^ "Brian Simba afungasha virago kwa Vanessa Mdee | East Africa Television". 28 April 2021. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  21. ^ "Vanessa Mdee aka Vee Money joins Jeff Koinange, DJ Contact Makeda and Gaetano Kagwa on the panel of judges at the first edition of East Africa Got Talent (EAGT)". 10 July 2019.
  22. ^ "Vanessa Mdee reveals album 'Money Mondays' was a labor of love – Capital Campus". Capital Campus. 31 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Vanessa Mdee unveils "Money Mondays" album Tracklist | Notjustok East Africa". Latest East African & Bongo Flava Music, Songs & Video - Notjustok. 26 December 2017. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
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  27. ^ Ajanma, Soomto. "Vanessa Mdee and Juma Jux finally break up". Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  28. ^ Ajanma, Soomto. "Ice Prince caused my breakup with Vanessa Mdee". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  29. ^ Ajanma, Soomto. "Juma Jux reveals Ice Prince caused my breakup with Vanessa Mdee". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  30. ^ Ajanma, Soomto. "Trey Songz and Vanessa Mdee couldn't keep their hands off each other". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  31. ^ Ajanma, Soomto. "Vanessa Mdee – I did not sleep with Trey Songz". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  32. ^ Ajanma, Soomto (26 November 2019). "Rotimi confirms relationship with girlfriend Vanessa Mdee". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  33. ^ Ajanma, Soomto (26 November 2019). "Who is 'Power' Star Rotimi's new girlfriend?". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  34. ^ Ajanma, Soomto. "Rotimi and Vanessa Mdee's Love Story". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  35. ^ Ajanma, Soomto. "Vanessa reveals she is in a relationship with Rotimi". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  36. ^ Ajanma, Soomto. "Vanessa Mdee and Rotimi get matching tattoos". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  37. ^ Ajanma, Soomto. "Vanessa Mdee and lover get matching tattoos". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  38. ^ Ajanma, Soomto. "Rotimi and Vanessa Mdee are engaged". Soomtee. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  39. ^ Digital, Standard. "What my sister's break up with Jux has taught me – Mimi Mars". Standard Entertainment. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  40. ^ Katunge, Gloria (5 July 2019). "Vanessa Mdee and Mimi Mars lovingly mark their late Father´s birthday". Ghafla! Kenya. Retrieved 4 January 2024.
  41. ^ Muendo, Stevens. "Singer Vanessa Mdee releases debut album 'Money Mondays'". Standard Digital News. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
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  49. ^ "Tanzania Music AWARDS 2015 Winners". Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: 1 June 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
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  53. ^ "Tanzania Winners 2015". Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: 10 November 2015. Retrieved 10 November 2015.
  54. ^ "Meet The Future Awards Africa Class of 2015". Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: 1 December 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  55. ^ "Meet The Future Awards Africa Class of 2015". Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: 1 December 2015. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  56. ^ [3] Archived 30 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  57. ^ "KORA Awards 2016: full list of nominations". My TV News. Retrieved 26 January 2016.

External links edit