Festival song finalists selected
7-time winner Eric Donaldson among top 10 for this year's competition
Eric Donaldson

Seven time winner of Jamaica's premier song competition Eric Donaldson is one of 10 finalists announced by the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport for the 2023 Jamaica Festival Song Competition.

The minister made the list public by a release on Tuesday.

The finalists in the 2023 edition of the contest are: Av&TE (Avante), Jamaica Ah Mi Yaad; Eric Donaldson, Reggae Jamaica; Exco Levy, Feel Like Home; Hot Rod, More Love; Lady Denna & the Whole Note Mento Band, Little Paradise; Mento Tones Jamaica, Mi Born and Grow; N Rich, Sovereignty; Princess Black, Big Up Mama JA; Prince Fabulous, No Weh Like Yard; and Slashe, Best In The World.

Grange said they are "ten good songs that will add to the excitement of Jamaica's Emancipation and Independence celebrations this year".

GRANGE... they are 10 good songs that will add to the excitement of Jamaica's Emancipation and Independence celebrations this year (Photo: Karl Mclarty)

The ten finalists were selected from more than 200 entries.

The selection panel was led by the veteran music producer Augustus "Gussie" Clarke.

Grange thanked the panel for their work and expressed joy for what she called a "flood of quality entries" this year.

Many of this year's finalists are experienced practitioners in their own right, including Slashe and Mento Tones, who are repeat finalists having made the top 10 in 2004 and 2016.

Donaldson was ecstatic at being selected.

"I was victorious with Cherry Oh Baby in 1971 and have won the competition on six other occasions, as recent as 1997 with Peace and Love," so clearly I have the formula. But it's a most talented group [of competitors this year], and I know that I will have to come with my A-game – and that I will most certainly do," said Donaldson.

The only woman among the finalists is Princess Black, a visually impaired singer who declares: "I am in it to win it." She is a repeat finalist having made the top 10 in 2015.

Listed among the producers is veteran music producer Donovan Germaine of Penthouse Records with two of the songs.

The festival songs will go into rotation by the end of June, with the winner being announced in July.

Minister Grange said the nation will help to select the winner through public vote. The winning song will receive a prize of $3 million to be shared among the producer, the writer and the singer.

The winning song will also form the musical backdrop for this year's Emancipation and Independence celebrations.

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