McKada shows love for JA

BY KEDIESHA PERRY
Observer writer

Sunday, July 21, 2019

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The Jamaica Observer continues its look at some of the finalists in this year's Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's Jamaica Festival Song Competition

Festival song finalist McKada believes that it has been too long since a female won the competition.

“I believe with all my heart that it's time for a female to win — not only because a lot of conversation has been going on around female empowerment, but because me and the other female shot! We a gwaan wid di road…great vocalists. We both have two strong songs and stage presence and I really believe that we are two of the best talents if not the best talents, in the entire competition. If a nuh me, win a she, and if a nuh she win, a me but a woman need fi win dis ting,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

The only three female winners have been Heather Grant with Mek We Put Things Right (1992), Cheryl Clarke (Born Inna Ja; 1999) and Abbygaye Dallas (Real Born Jamaican; 2012).

McKada, whose given name is Meckedah Henry, was born in Linstead, St Catherine, but moved to the parish's capital after her mother passed.

Her entry track is titled Love for Jamaica, first written and produced by Courick Clarke before being reworked by Penthouse Records.

Through her set she hopes that Jamaicans will become more optimistic about the fate of the island, despite the adversities.

“With love we can conquer everything. I believe that over the years, for some reason, the love for Jamaica has deteriorated and we're looking to different sources; but if each of us loves our country then we can work from that starting point and do great things for our country. There are so many things in the song to love and the song talks about that' life on the island sweet even though sometimes it's hard'. So the thing is that there are hardships but the old mantra says 'hardships there are, but the land is green and the sun shineth', so we know from day one that there are hardships, but the land is still green and the sun is still shining,” she explained.

The Jamaica Festival Song Competition was first held in 1966. The Maytals won that inaugural contest with Bam Bam; the 2018 winner was O'Neil “Nazzleman” Scott, with Jamaica A Wi Home.

McKada said Jamaicans should refocus on their own culture and assist in bringing back Jamaica Festival Song Competition to its pride of place.

“We have somewhat, as a people, taken on a lot of other people's culture to the detriment of our own. So, the competition hasn't lost its culture, I just believe we need to enrich, develop and nurture…We nurture the culture for other territories — we water it, we invest money, time and effort. Of course, we see the fruit and oh! It's wonderful but that could be our very own country. If we were to put that same effort into our very own country we'd see beautiful fruits coming,” she said.

Even if she does not get first place, McKada says she has already reaped several benefits frombeing in the contest.

“I've already won in a number of ways. I've won where development is concerned — I watched my first video and saw improvement in my stage presence, in how I interact with the audience…I am having so much fun, and within my spirit I can feel the growth,” she added.


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