MANY persons are of the view that singer Roy Rayon never lost a Festival Song contest in which he participated. Not so.
Rayon sets the record straight on Rise Up Mighty People, an 11-track compilation of his Festival Song entries. Included are four winners, some that did not make the top five and others that did not make the final cut.
The winning songs are Love Fever (1985), Give Thanks and Praise (1987), Come Rock (1991) and 2008's Rise and Shine. Rayon was runner-up in 1984 to Eric Donaldson's Proud to be Jamaican and again in 1988 when Singer Jay took the contest with Jamaica Land We love. On those occasions, his entries were Mek We Do It Again and Jamdown Nice, respectively.
"The album is a compilation of all the Festival Songs I have done over the years, the winners and songs that came second and a few of the songs that never made it. Some were not selected in the competition," Rayon told the Jamaica Observer.
He said the title track was inspired by former Governor General, Sir Howard Cooke who met Rayon at a function 20 years ago and encouraged him to record a song that would inspire national pride.
"He wanted a song that could speak to the heart of the Jamaican people," said Rayon. "He was aware of the things I was doing in schools because at the time I was doing motivational sessions under the theme, 'Yes I Can', which I still do from time to time."
Based on Sir Howard's suggestion, Rayon and Grub Cooper of the Fabulous Five band co-wrote two songs: Plant A Tree and Rise Up Mighty People.
"We never got any sponsorship and so the project never went anywhere," Rayon explained.
There was a problem when it came to finally recording Rise Up Mighty People. Rayon said he could not recall the lyrics.
"All I could remember was the first verse and the chorus of the songs until last year I was going through some old papers and found the lyrics," he recalled.
Rayon said he spent his birthday (June 20) recording the song. Rise Up Mighty People was done on Rayon's Country Boy label.