Festival finalists share inspiration

Observer writer

Thursday, May 23, 2019

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The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) Festival Song Competition was launched last Thursday at Emancipation Park in Kingston. Eleven contestants will compete for a winner's prize of $1 million, with the victor to be crowned on July 13 at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre.

At last week's launch, some of the artistes who spoke to the Jamaica Observer gave their reasons for entering.

Edwin Myers, who first participated in 1992 as composer of Little But We Tallawah (by The Conquerors), returns with Piece A Jamaica .

“I think I have the winning song, and that's my reason for entering this year. No matter what is going on in Jamaica, we have to appreciate it. Everybody all over the world wants to identify with a piece of Jamaica in some shape or form,” said Myers.

St James-based Nester Chung, known professionally as Humility, said he entered Battlefield to enhance his career.

“I see JCDC as the platform to greatness. When you enter their competitions, the whole Jamaica get to know you,” he shared.

Alley Bless is one of two females in the competition. Her song, Queen Jamaica, addresses the good things happening in the country.

“The song is all about just showing the good parts and the good things about Jamaica. Jamaica is often referred to as a woman, so I'm just showing that Jamaica is a queen overall,” she said.

St Elizabeth's Jay Smith will perform Embassy Appointment which was a hit at the launch. So too Jamaica Bless by Escarpment Road NTCG Choir who make their second appearance.

“We want to spread a positive vibe about this nation and we're glad to be back, all of us. We decided to re-enter because we have a concept that our involvement in the Festival Song Competition is more about impacting the culture. We want to win because one great way of impacting, is winning. But the bottom line is impacting the culture,” stressed choir leader, Reverend Stevenson Samuels.

Last year, Escarpment Road NTCG Choir won Best Performer and Most Popular on Social Media.

First-time entrant Nickoy “Shawn-D” Green of Manchester is concerned about crime and violence gripping his parish and the country. His song, Sweet Jamaica, is a call for an end to that chaos.

“The song is inspired by what is going on in Jamaica. The crime, the violence, and the killing of the children. I want the song to touch the hearts of Jamaicans because we cannot continue like this,” said Green.

Percival Lloyd, who performs as Dharma, is a wild card entry with A Jamaica We Love.

“A Jamaica We Love is my entry and I am looking forward to going on the road and meeting people and just networking,” he said.

Iya Concord (Hero Fight), Ramize (Jamaica Fi Life), Loaded Eagle (Big Up Jamaica) and McKada (Love For Jamaica) complete the 2019 field.

Chairman of the Festival Song Competition committee, Orville Hill, is satisfied with the entries. He also explained the rationale for a wild card.

“The judges at the semi-finals selected 10 songs to be in the finals. When we looked at the quality, we decided to add a wild card. We have had the experience where persons in the finals weren't able to continue to the roadshow, nor able to make it to the final night. And therefore, having an additional competitor, which we classify as a wild card, would give that extra robustness to the competition,” he disclosed.

The Festival Song Competition was first held in 1966 and went to Bam Bam by Toots And The Maytals. Jamaica A Wi Home by Oneil “Nazzle Man” Scott won in 2018.

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