While growing up in the community of Waterhouse, in St Andrew, Singer Irie (formerly known as Patrick Irie) was a huge fan of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Festival Song Competition.
“Festival was my time of the year. I was very much into it and I always loved the songs and what they stood for. Eric Donaldson’s Cherry Oh Baby is my all-time favourite,” Singer Irie shared.
The New Jersey, USA, resident has now thrown his hat in the ring for the 2022 staging of the Jamaica International Independence Foreign Song Competition. The competition is promoted by Garfield McCook and was launched in 2021.
The competition is open to people who are Jamaicans or of Jamaican heritage who reside in the Diaspora.
Singer Irie’s is one of 12 entrants in the competition this year. His entry is entitled Mama Jamaica.
“The reason why I sing the song, Mama Jamaica, is because I think Jamaica is like a mother and how welcoming it is to everyone with a smile. The treatment we give to our visitors and Jamaicans on a whole is like a mother taking care of her child. I wrote the song and it was produced by Young Lion Entertainment,” said Singer Irie.
He said that with Jamaica celebrating its Diamond Jubilee this year, it was fitting for him to be a part of the celebrations by entering the competition.
“I hope to achieve the joy of being a part of a wonderful celebration. What I enjoy most is the love that I am getting and the joy I feel by giving my talent to a worthy cause.”
The grand finals of the Jamaica International Independence Foreign Song Competition is scheduled for July 31 in Atlanta, Georgia. The first-place winner will receive US$8,000, while US$4,000 and US$1,000 will go to second and third-place winners, respectively.
Singer Irie has been putting in the work over the years. He began his career by honing his skills on sound systems in Jamaica, including Black Scorpio, Cave Man International, Creation, and Youthman Promotion.
Among his better-known songs are Girls Dem Anthem, How Some People Stay, and Too Much Gun. In recent years, he hit multiple reggae charts stateside with songs, including Vampires and Mama.
He started a production label, Kamau, which scored a hit with Time Bomb by Capleton.
Between 2014 and 2016 he received the Tri-state Singer of the Year Award from New Jersey radio station Vibeslink 96.1 FM.
Singer Irie’s most recent album, Success, was released in January last year.