Aloft Hotels and MTV Unveil Winners of First-Ever Project Aloft Star in Asia Pacific

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Aloft® Hotels, Starwood’s innovation hub for next-gen travellers and MTV announced the winners of the inaugural Asia Pacific edition of Project Aloft Star, in three key competition clusters covering major markets: China (Pandabros), India (Natania Lalwani) and the Southeast Asia (Clinton and Ashley) cluster consisting of Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Project Aloft Star is a music talent discovery competition that aims to identify and support the hottest emerging music artists, the three-month competition kicked off on 30 June and received more than 200 original video submissions from music talents across the five countries. Fans also placed over 170,000 votes for their favourite entries via online voting.

The 15 finalists had the opportunity of a lifetime performing at the finals held in China, India and Malaysia in front of a panel of judges comprised of Aloft Hotels, MTV and music industry executives from Asia, which included:

- Palash Sen, founder and frontman of India's biggest band Euphoria;
- Yaniz Merican of YZ International which manages top Malaysian artists such as Joe Flizzow, Too Phat and Mizz Nina;
- Shan Qi, renowned planner-musician-producer-director who is also known as ‘China Fashion Festival Godfather’ and Chan Waikei, the Content and Creative Director of MTV China Networks.

Finalists were judged on the criteria song-writing and music composition, creativity and originality, technical skill, “wow” factor, and showmanship and stage presence.

Winners were awarded a US$10,000 cash prize and will be featured in MTV Seen, a video spot of the competition that will air on MTV Asia, MTV China and MTV India’s channels this month. They will also be featured in individual vignettes on MTV’s respective websites. In addition, Clinton and Ashley from Malaysia was invited for a three day, two night all-expenses paid trip to Seoul, South Korea and given the opportunity to perform at the opening of Aloft Seoul Gangnam slated for 14 November this year.

“Helping our guests discover great new music, whether they’re on the road or visiting a w xyz bar in their hometown, is one way Aloft is committed to delivering a vibrant experience that is ‘different by design’. With music in its DNA and millennials in its sights, this collaboration with MTV to kick off Project Aloft Star has been immensely fruitful – sharing the same vision to discover emerging music artists in the region,” said Vincent Ong, Senior Brand Director, Asia Pacific Brand Management, Starwood Hotels & Resorts. “There is no lack of talent in the region judging from the quality of entries; and Aloft Hotels will continue to serve as a platform for supporting great music alongside pioneering cool initiatives in design and technology for the next generation traveler.”

“MTV, being the biggest and boldest global youth brand, is driven by a single aim to constantly engage and involve our young audience. Opening submissions on MTV’s platforms across Asia Pacific for Project Aloft Star allowed us to uncover youths who have shown real dedication to their craft and this has given them the opportunity to showcase their talents to more people,” said Paras Sharma, Vice President, MTV and Comedy Central Brands and Digital Media, Viacom International Media Networks Asia. “Through this expanded collaboration with Aloft, we hope we’ve helped open more doors for the winners. Here’s to more great music from our local musicians!”

Three winners were ultimately chosen for the Asia Pacific edition of Project Aloft Star and they are:

Pandabros (China) - Click HERE to view their winning entry submission “Sky”.

“For the past four years, we have supported and encouraged one another in the pursuit of our music career as a band, and to present our original music compositions to the world. We really appreciate the amazing platform through ‘Project Aloft Star, Amplified by MTV’, which not only offers us an opportunity to showcase our music, but brings us closer to making our dream a reality.”


Project Aloft Star China Winner - Pandabros


Natania Lalwani (India) - Click HERE to view her winning entry submission “Cherry Love”.

“It really is surreal to have won! It was completely unexpected as there was such incredible talent that night. It’s been an amazing experience and the fans have been really supportive and they were like family that day. This achievement wouldn't have been possible without my band that night (Samuel Berlie, Dennis Kaddam and Rozelle Alphonso Kaddam). It's a night I'll remember forever and I'm so grateful and happy to have been part of Project Aloft Star, amplified by MTV. This victory is so overwhelming and I can't wait to see what comes next!”


Project Aloft Star India Winner - Natania Lalwani


Clinton and Ashley from Malaysia (Southeast Asia, comprising Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand) - Click HERE to view their winning entry submission “High-drated”.

“We feel truly blessed and humbled by this experience. We definitely appreciate all the support we got and would like to shout out a huge thank you to all those who voted and rocked out with us during our performance at the finals. Aloft and MTV have provided a great platform for us to stand out and share our passion of music. Winning this year’s Project Aloft Star, amplified by MTV just makes it that much special. It will definitely give us the extra boost we need and the kind of exposure any new aspiring musician would die for.”


Project Aloft Star South East Asia - Clinton & Ashley from Malaysia


To hype up the music extravaganza, Aloft Hotels also partnered with Diageo to create a series of three Johnnie Walker Black Label cocktails. Inspired by the dynamic energy of the next generation alongside the buzzing live music scene, these cocktails were served at all Aloft Hotels in Asia Pacific throughout the period of Project Aloft Star.

Aloft Hotels and MTV collaborated last year to jointly launch a digital platform that helped promote local up-and-coming music talents that have performed at Live at Aloft Hotels showcases at Aloft Hotels’ W XYZ bars across Asia.


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WINNERS’ PROFILES

Pandabros (China)

Pandabros is a high energy, four-member male singing group, consisting of Paipai, Professor Ma, Devil and Wealth. The group made their debut TV appearance in 2011, bringing their unique style of cute, chubby and bearded masculinity. Pandabros released their first self-titled album, “Panda Group” in December 2013. They have since appeared on other TV shows on CCTV, ZJSTV, Dragon TV and more.

Natania Lalwani (India)

Natania, 21, graduated from Musician's Institute (Los Angeles) with a degree in Vocal Performance. Since then she has been writing for other artists like Neon Hitch (Warner Bros) and Grayce (Independent). Her music has been on VH1, MTV, Radio Freedom and you can hear her in over 5,000 locations around the USA in retail spaces like Target, Walmart, and Best Buy. She was named one of the HOT 100 Unsigned Artists to watch by Music Connection and was one of their top 20 reviews of 2013. Her music has also aired on US television in TV shows. She won the legendary worldwide songwriting competition Unsigned Only with the "Honorable Mention Award" in 2014 for her song "Cherry Love". After being in India for the last two months, Natania is paving the way for her music to be heard and it has already been played on VH1, Miss Malini, Pepsi MTV Indies and more.

Clinton and Ashleyfrom Malaysia (Southeast Asia, comprising Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand)

Clinton Liew, 22, graduated from ICOM with a BMus (Hons) in Professional Music - Piano with First Class Honors. He started taking piano lessons when he was 7 and by 13 he was already writing songs. Since then, he has been producing his own tracks and has written more than 40 songs over the years. He has also been performing in the Kuala Lumpur music scene for the last five years in several events and venues as a session keyboardist and has been the musical director for some of them. In July 2014, he signed with Grand Theft Records as an artist and a composer. He has been working on releasing his own songs and producing/composing for other artists and jingles for TV commercials.

Ashley Ally, 21, is a considerably fresh face in the industry. As a toddler, she loved to sing and went on to learn entire songs when she was 5. A few years later, she started singing at family functions. When Ashley was 19, she auditioned with Grand Theft Records and the company signed her on six months ago. Since then, she's been doing gigs at private events as part of her training and she has lent her vocals to local TV commercials. Project Aloft Star, amplified by MTV was her first gig proper.

Along with other members of the band that performed during the Project Aloft Star finals, Clinton and Ashley have now come together as a band, Grand Theft Xperiment. Other members include vocalist Bonnie Teh, vocalist and guitarist, Jude Macson, drummer, Joshua Bani, and bassist, Gideon Yogan.

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