Erica Lumsden is the Gospel star
Erica Lumsden, winner of Sunday's JCDC Gospel Star Competition

It's been two days since Erica Lumsden took home the top prize from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) Gospel Star Competition, and she's still on a high.

“It's an amazing feeling. I feel blessed. It's almost like I'm in a dream and I have to pinch myself to wake up; it's so surreal. This is all thanks to God,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

Lumsden triumphed over her four competitors at the virtual competition which aired on CVM TV, as well as the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's (JCDC) website, its Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Second place went to Daron Mitchell (Family, Word and Worship), while Malika James (Wesleyan Holiness Church) came third. The other finalists were Ornela (Unleashing Purpose Ministries) and, Daynea Deacon Jones (The New Testament Assembly).

Lumsden, who is from the Clermont Seventh-day Adventist Church in St Mary, said she was completely shocked that she won.

“I expected to walk off stage (without the prize). I wasn't sure how many votes were coming in, so I was standing up and saying to myself, 'Okay, you did your best and you learnt a lot from the competition, but now it has come to an end.' I was so surprised when they called my name,” she said.

Songs that made up her set included Precious Lord, Take My Hand, Our God is Able, and Hurry Up.

Lumsden, who is also a second-year communications student at the Northern Caribbean University in Manchester, said she was divinely gifted with the ability to sing at nine years old.

“I could not always sing, but my older sister could. She would invite us to concerts and I would see her on stage being the centre of attention — the spotlight was on her. I wanted that. I prayed and asked God to bless me so I could be able to sing and after I got baptised, about a few months later, I could,” she added.

The Gospel Star Competition is a rebrand of the Jamaica Gospel Song Competition. However, unlike its predecessor, which focused on its finalists performing and building momentum for their original song, the Jamaica Gospel Star Competition will see contestants performing cover songs in a weekly televised performance/elimination show, featuring performance themes like: reggae/dancehall gospel, traditional/throwback gospel.

The winner received $1 million, a cellphone, and a basket and will be sponsored a single with an accompanying music video as well as voice training.

Lumsden says the cash prize will be used to further her education and launch her career.

She added that she's pleased with the rebranding of the competition.

“I think the competition should become more popular. It's really exciting and I think it's the best competition in Jamaica. It showcases young talent and brings out the best in young people. This rebrand is better than what was there before, when you had to perform original songs,” Lumsden added.

BY KEDIESHA PERRY Observer writer

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