Popeyes Music to Your Mouth winner thanks God
Winners of the 2023 Popeyes Music to Your Mouth song competition Waydiann "Pebbles" McDonald (second right) first place; and (from left) Saja "Prince Saj" Smith, second place; and third-placed Steve "Apollo Tafari" Grant; with Popeyes Brand Manager Oshane Thoms.

"ONLY God, only God!" That was how Waydiann McDonald, otherwise known as Pebbles, began her acceptance remarks following the announcement of her victory over four other finalists in the 2023 Popeyes Music to Your Mouth song competition.

The 23-year-old may well be on her way to a hoped for career as an artiste with a first-place prize that includes having her song Free My Mind professionally produced by Zimi Nick of Zimi Records.

In addition, she will benefit from vocal coaching while recording the song from celebrated songwriter and recording artiste Qyor and a music video will be produced by Ruption, accomplished video director and owner of RD Studios.

Pebbles also took home $250,000 in cash, $25,000 in meal vouchers, and the first place trophy of the competition.

The 2023 Popeyes Music to Your Mouth song competition winner Waydiann "Pebbles" McDonald with (from left) Popeyes Brand Manager Oshane Thoms; competition judges Qyor Ra'xoul, songwriter/recording artiste; Zimi Nick, owner, Zimi Records; and Ruption, video director/owner RD Studios, at the recent awards ceremony.

A regular on Tik Tok, she said that her song was "very personal" with a story line that speaks to dealing successfully with depression and her faith in God.

"This song speaks about freeing your mind especially by fixing the intangible. A lot of people go through depression and are silent about it. But they need to know that with the help of God and counselling they can overcome it," she said.

Pebbles had her own journey through depression at the age of eight when she attempted to overdose on her mother's prescription medicine, but a subsequent move to a better environment, improvement in financial status, and regular attendance at church gave her a peace of mind that she had been seeking and helped her to heal.

The St Catherine High School graduate holds a bachelor's degree in accounting with a minor in psychology from The University of the West Indies and works a 9-5 in accounting.

But she says singing is her passion and, having previously performed at various school and church events and now emerging winner of the 2023 Popeyes Music to Your Mouth competition, she feels closer to accomplishing a career as an artiste.

Not limiting herself to gospel or any other specific genre, Pebbles says she will be "doing music with a message; touching on topics not readily spoken about like child abuse, the state of the country, and, of course, depression".

"I want to thank Popeyes for their thoughtfulness in creating this platform for success," she said, adding high praise too for her fellow contestants Saja Smith aka Prince Saj, second place winner; and Steve Grant aka Apollo Tafari, third.

The second staging of the Popeyes Music to Your Mouth competition attracted over 70 entries. The judges shortlisted 10, social media selected the top 5 and finally, the judges weighed in on the Top 3.

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