‘The Sky is Your Limit’: Talent Competition IC Star Gives Young Artists a Voice on a Global Platform
A highly curated image and shocking behavior, calculated to garner attention in the tabloids and on social media, can only get you so far as an artist. The public’s attention span is short, and only a select number of artists end up with the staying power it takes to become something more than a brief source of entertainment.
Salwa-Lauren, voice of the newly-launched streaming platform ICTV Network and judge on international talent competition IC Star, believes that the true mark of success– both as an artist, and as an individual– is authenticity and a focus on morals.
In other words, art can speak for itself, and her goal of “writing songs with meaningful and thought-provoking lyrics to make people think and feel” is a way to positively impact people by virtue of her art, rather than a contrived image.
ICTV Network is intended for people who want media that’s appropriate for the whole family. The network prides itself on upholding ethical standards, promoting fair treatment for all, and showcasing talent with clean song lyrics and visual content that is suitable for everyone.
Prior to the launch of ICTV Network, there was a distinct lack of morals-based media. This lack of representation of positive morals is a problem for young, impressionable viewers; it’s easy for kids and teenagers to internalize the idea that their looks are more important than their beliefs and actions. This idea is everywhere in the media, and it’s both incredibly damaging and virtually unavoidable.
It also seems like global media is often oversaturated with Western artists and personalities; people from other places in the world often rightly feel underrepresented.
ICTV Network’s IC Star is taking steps to address all of these problems head-on. The judging panel alone provides positive, diverse representation, featuring well-respected musicians Humood Alkhudher, Ilyas Mao, Najam Sheraz, Mesut Kurtis, and Salwa-Lauren (from Kuwait, Somalia, Pakistan, Macedonia, and the UK, respectively).
The judges were tasked with choosing just 32 finalists from a selection of 60,000 applications from hopeful artists all over the globe. The final selection consisted of people from 28 countries, providing visibility for artists from Indonesia, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Zanzibar, Bosnia, Kosovo, Canada, and many more.
IC Star itself is structured like other popular talent competitions like The X Factor, American Idol and The Voice. The biggest difference is the focus on morals-based art, and the high value placed on true talent rather than a flashy image or larger-than-life personality. Salwa-Lauren’s vision for the show, and for ICTV Network in general, is to give talented people a voice without making them compromise their values.
With the ubiquity of spectacle- and image-based media, people faced with the prospect of a network that focuses on morals and ethical standards might want to know: “Isn’t that boring?”
The answer is: not at all. IC Star showcases the genuine talents of its contestants (which is incredible in itself with so many amazing singers on that stage!), but it’s also lighthearted and fun.
Scrolling through the network’s social media accounts gives a well-rounded impression of each contestant, featuring segments where contestants compare their native languages, compete in blindfolded tasting challenges, and share their memories, families, and friends with the audience. The show allows them to show their personalities and talent in a genuine way, without having to fake or exaggerate anything to be accepted.
ICTV Network’s goal is to create meaningful, high-quality content for people who are seeking clean entertainment, and they accomplish this goal by streaming TV shows, movies, documentaries, music videos and more– all with a focus on modesty, morals, avoiding explicit language and imagery.