Shawn D eyes Festival history


Shawn D eyes Festival history

Observer writer

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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The Jamaica Observer continues to look at some of the finalists in this year's Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's Festival Song Competition.

Nineteen-year-old Shawn D is the youngest contestant in this year's Festival Song Competition. Big on confidence, he is certain he will take home the spoils with Sweet Jamaica.

“I feel good to be the youngest, because it's great to be so young and make it in this type of competition. I think I will win because of the words of my song; they are positive and will tell the people something good to flow to. This song is a message to the nation,” Shawn D told the Jamaica Observer.

Born Nickoy Green, the singer hails from Green Pond in Manchester and is a sixth-form student at May Day High School. He wrote Sweet Jamaica, which is produced by Salid.

Shawn D heard about the competition from the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's Manchester office and was bent on entering so he could get a positive message across to his peers.

“This song is talking about the crime and violence that is taking place in Jamaica, so the song is encouraging the youths to do good. I would love to do a positive thing to see the crime stop and that's why I wrote the song,” he explained.

The Festival Song Competition was first held in 1966. Toots and The Maytals won that inaugural contest with Bam Bam; the 2018 winner was O'Neil “Nazzleman” Scott, with Jamaica A Wi Home.

Shawn D lists Eric Donaldson as his favourite Festival Song singer because he “has the right punchline for Festival time.”

Donaldson has won the Festival Song Competition a record six times with Cherry Oh Baby (1971), Sweet Jamaica (1977), Land of My Birth (1978), Proud to Be Jamaican (1984), Big It Up (1993) and Peace and Love (1997).

Shawn D feels the Festival Song Competition has lost its flavour because artistes are readjusting to “new norms”.

He added that, “The competition has lost its culture because the music out there has changed, so the artistes are maybe trying to go with the flow, but with hard work, we can bring back the festival beat the original way,” he shared.

There are 11 contestants in the 2019 Festival Song Competition. The winner be decided on Saturday, July 27 at Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in Kingston.

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