I-Octane wants back vibesThursday, July 01, 2021
BY KEDIESHA PERRY
Today, the Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk begins a series of stories on the Jamaica Festival Song Competition which is marking its 55th anniversary milestone.
I-Octane is looking to reignite appreciation for festival songs among Jamaica's youth with his entry Land We Love.
“The country a mash up. The connection of the people just isn't there anymore. People don't converse like they used to, and back in my day, no matter who a run the place, whether Bounty [Killer], Beenie [Man], and the many others, you would still hear people singing Give Thanks and Praises by Roy Rayon and festival songs that were just as big as dancehall songs,” the 37-year-old singjay told the Jamaica Observer.
I-Octane is one of 12 finalists in this year's staging of the Jamaica Festival Song Competition, which is in its 55th year.
According to him, his entry was completed in five minutes and was a joint production between Bartley Music and himself.
The singjay, whose given name is Byiome Muir, said he is not afraid of any stereotypes that may be attached to him for having entered the competition.
“Mi have mi album a promote right now. It's a 14-track album and it was number two on the Billboard [charts], so it doesn't concern me if people want to look at me as a festival song man. Trivial minds will always think trivial things, and people will always have expectations of you that they probably don't even have for themselves. Last year, when Buju and Freddie McGregor entered, nobody neva look at them as just festival song artistes,” he said.
The winning song will receive a prize of $3 million to be shared among the producer, the writer and the singer. I-Octane said the prize purse is the last thing on his mind.
“It's not about the money, and it never was. It's about taking the initiative to showcase the different sides of Jamaica and to show that a festival song can be just as popular as any other song in Jamaica. When I was going to school, we never and a disconnection between festival songs and regular songs. It has been years since a festival song has been big, and you go anywhere and hear it,” he said.
I-Octane is popular in dancehall circles. He got his break more than a decade ago with his single Stab Vampire. He is also known for the songs Lose A Friend, L O V E YOU, Mama You Alone, Wine and Jiggle, and Puff It.
In addition to I-Octane, this year's other high-profile entrants are dancehall deejay Stacious ( Jamaican Spirit), 2011 Jamaica Festival Song Competition winner Everton Pessoa ( Celebration – Wet Sugar), and Fab 5 ( Unwind). Incidentally, Fab 5's leader singer, Asley “Grub” Cooper, penned and the group played on Roy Rayon's winning 1987 festival song entry Give Thanks and Praises.
The other entrants include Ernie Wilks ( JahMekYah), DB ( Love Jamaica My Land), Tamo J ( Real Talk – Jamrock), Dez-I Boyd ( Rumba Box), Reggae Maxx ( Sweet Jamaica), Candy ( First Day Bash JA), Althea Hewitt ( Jamaica Nice), and Father Reece ( Jamaican Talawah).
The public will select the winning song through telephone voting, which will begin on July 5. Television Jamaica will air two virtual shows on July 15 and July 22.
Buju Banton was last year's winner with the song I am a Jamaican.