I Love JA is the 2014 Festival Song
WITH his song I Love JA, Rushane Sanderson — 2012 Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall champion — added another major accolade to his burgeoning musical career by winning the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Jamaica Festival Song Competition at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, St Andrew, on Saturday night.
"I never thought I'd win in my wildest dreams," Sanderson told the Jamaica Observer.
Second place was won by Sanjay 'Sanj' Thompson for Jamaica Boom, and third went to Sujae 'Kahani' Johnson for My Jamaica. The all-male field also consisted of Rodger 'Rojjah' Mendez, Phylbert 'Pehtrol' Graham, Oliver 'Oliver Smoothe' Gordon, Calvin 'King Saloman' Wisdom, Richard 'Bastic' Patterson, Carl 'Clearance' Grey, and Evol 'Bono G' Holness.
Twenty-three-year-old Sanderson, who goes by the stage name Deep Jahi, received a trophy and $500,000 in prize money. He also joins the list of distinguished festival song winners including Roy Rayon, Eric Donaldson, Tinga Stewart, and the late Stanley Beckford.
In light of several quality performances, especially from Sanjay 'Sanj' Thompson, Sanderson managed to squeeze ahead of the field once he touched the microphone, displaying excellent vocal control and range in what was a challenging song.
Thompson would take home to the Best Performer and Voters Choice awards. Both he and Sujae 'Kahani' Johnson had excellent performances getting the crowd up and out of their seats dancing in the aisles.
Between the initial performances and the announcement of the winners, the audience was treated to music from Ikaya, Nesbeth, and Bugle, who received good response while belting out his hits like What I'm Gonna Do and Nuh Compatible.