Multi-JUNO winner Exco Levi takes on Festival Song competition
Exco Levi

While growing up in the community of Harmons in Manchester, Wayne Ford Levy (better known in music circles as Exco Levi) was fond of the mango trees there.

They were among the many things from the community that he missed when he migrated to Canada in 2005.

"I started traveling in 2005 and I can truly say, regardless of where I travelled across the world, the only time I feel like am truly at home is when I am in Harmons, Manchester. Just to see the same mango trees, the same football field you grew up on; it truly feels like home," Exco Levi shared in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Wednesday.

Feel Like Home is the title of his entry in the 2023 Jamaica Festival Song Competition.

The five-time JUNO winner (Canada's equivalent to the Grammys) is among 10 finalists who were selected from more than 200 entries.

While he has had success in the Canadian reggae music scene, Exco Levi yearns for recognition in his homeland.

"Well I would love to win the festival song competition, but just to be among the 10 finalists is great for me. Most of my musical achievements and accolades I got them overseas. So to be honoured in my country would be great for me," said Exco Levi.

He continued, "Jamaica is my home and Canada has been my home away from home since 2005. Just like reggae icons Jackie Mittoo, Leroy Sibbles who embraced Canada as their second home, it is the same thing for me. Most of our past reggae legends use to embrace the United Kingdom as their second home because that's where the economical structure of the business started. I always know that patriotism is thicker than blood, so 90 per cent of my recordings are done at Penthouse studios in Kingston."

Exco Levi has been following the festival song competition over the years and he even has a few favourites from the competition.

"I grew up listening to the festival songs on the radio. Songs like Cherry Oh Baby (by Eric Donaldson), Baba Boom (by The Jamaicans), and many more. So I am knowledgeable about the cpmpetition. When I wrote the song I felt patriotism all over it, so I told Donovan Germain of Penthouse that I wanted to enter it for the competition," Exco Levi disclosed.

He has been nominated 10 times in the JUNO for the Reggae Recording of the Year category. His most recent nomination was for this year's event, which saw him nominated for the song Jah Love.

He has won for Bleaching Shop (2012), Storms of Life (2013), Strive (2014), Welcome the King (2015), and Siren (2017).

His latest single Change Your Mind, features diamond-selling dancehall artiste Charly Black and Spexdaboss. It will be released on June 10.

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer

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