Reggae Artiste Stacey Scarlett Bryan’s entry, ‘Jamaican Spirit’ was voted the top song in the 2021 Jamaica Festival Song Competition.
The singer also received a trophy and a cheque for $3 million, presented by the Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange and Digicel Brand Marketing Manager, Reshima Kelly-Williams, at a virtual presentation show held on Thursday night (July 22).
Second place went to Kevaughn “DB” Scott with his song ‘Love Jamaica My Land’, while Dwight “Tamo J” Allen was third with ‘Real Talk (Jamrock)’.
Other finalists in the competition were Desmond Boyd (Rumba Box), Lloyd Reece (Jamaicans Talawah), Grub Cooper (Unwind), Kimiela Isaacs (Birthday Bash JA), Anthony Martin (Jah Mek Yah), Errol Graham (Sweet Jamaica), Everton Pessoa (Celebration), Althea Hewitt (Jamaica Nice) and I-Octane (Land We Love).
The competition was staged as a virtual event this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the ban on large public gatherings to contain the spread of the virus. It included a pre-recorded video presentation highlighting the history of the competition, with snippets of quotes from late former Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Edward Seaga, who was instrumental in starting the Festival Song contest.
In the pre-recorded message, Minister Grange said that the Festival Song Competition, celebrating its 55th anniversary this year, is on the “rebound”.
“Over the years, it has had some glorious moments and then at times it has had its bad moments, but I would say that it’s on the rebound,” she said, noting some innovations by the organisers.
Additionally, she said that many performers have benefited “tremendously” and have launched their careers after having participated in the competition.
“The potential and possibilities are awesome…what we have done is to prepare these songs and provide these songs to the world, so that they can be exploited in the interest of those who have participated in the competition,” she added.
Minister Grange said that when the competition was first conceptualised by Mr. Seaga, it was intended to galvanise a sense of nationality and celebrate Jamaica’s culture.
“He wanted a song that would be on the lips of every man, woman and child and one that would bring the nation together. It was a call to action,” she said.
During the show, there was also a special tribute to international superstar and national Festival Song icon, Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, who passed away earlier this year.