Best in the World, written and performed by SLASHE has been declared the Jamaica Festival Song 2023 and will form the musical backdrop for the Jamaica 61 Independence celebrations. The announcement was made during the Competition’s Results Show held on Saturday, July 29,2023, inside the Independence Village at the National Arena, Kingston. The song topped the field of 10 other finalists.
The Honourable Olivia Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, who presented the winning trophy and cheque valued at three million Jamaican Dollars to SLASHE, said she was satisfied to see the renewed interest as well as the diversity and quality of entries in this year’s Competition.“This staging was excellent. Every year it gets better and better and post COVID, I think we are back on track. All the Finalists were very good, the songs were rich, the diversity of the selections was really, really satisfying. From Mento, to Reggae, to songs with a fusion of Ska and Dancehall. The performers did well and it was a mix of established names and up and coming talent. As a result of their involvement in this year’s Festival Song Competition, they will all become known and I think they all have a great future in store” said the Minister.
SLASHE, whose actual name is Donald Anderson, and who was previously known as Iceman, has had successful stints as an actor and as a comedian. In a statement following his win he indicated, “This feels humbling. I know I put in the work, my friends voted for me with discipline every morning and every night and I voted as well. Mr. Donovan Germain granted me the opportunity to put this song together with a very talented set of musicians…. I give thanks for the overall results. I want to thank the background singers who came on board and gave of themselves in a selfless way… I am grateful to them. These are wonderful singers who are internationally recognized, renowned and they found time in their busy schedule to link with SLASHE and do this for me so I am grateful to them as well.”
The five-time JUNO winner (Canada’s equivalent to the Grammy Award), Exco Levi, with Feel like Home, placed secondwhilepopular reggae artiste Shuga, one of three female finalists, placed third with Dancing Sameway.
Other favourites were Big up Mama Ja, written and performed by Princess Black and ‘Jamaica Mi Born & Grow’ written, produced and performed by the duo, Mento Tones. Seven-time winner of the competition, Eric Donaldson, was also a good contender in the contest.
Renowned producer Donovan Germain of Penthouse Records was in 7th heaven as the top 3 songs were all produced by him. An elated Germain, who is no stranger to the competition having also produced the winning song in 2020, I am A Jamaican, performed by Grammy-award winning artiste, Buju Banton, expressed pride in the achievement. He said, “I am happy for the artistes because they were hesitant to enter the competition but I said no, the promotional value from this competition you cannot pay for that anywhere. They have gotten constant radio and print media promotion for the last six weeks, you can’t pay for that. Another objective for entering the completion is that Shuga and Exco have albums coming up shortly so this is an excellent platform for them to go forward on the project.”
Minister Grange also endorsed Germain’s sentiments and encouraged other Jamaicans to enter the Competition next year. “I want to encourage everybody who can write, who can sing, who can produce, to enter the Jamaica Festival Song Competition which is the longest running song competition in Jamaica. It was conceptualized to be a competition to select a song that would be on the lips of every man, woman and child and would galvanize the country in celebrating its Independence. I want to see us achieve that. We are getting there but I want us to really get there sooner than later. So I am saying to the industry, enter the competition; and I am saying to the talent out there, enter the competition because the JCDC is about unearthing, grooming and showcasing talent so I want to see it all come together so that we will become stronger and better.”
The winner in this year’s competition was selected by a 50/50 split in number of public votes and the scores from judges.
The show, which is produced by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, was aired live on Television Jamaica (TVJ), the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica (PBCJ) as well as the JCDC’s website (www.jcdc.gov.jm). Live posts were also made on the social media pages of the JCDC, Honourable Minister Olivia Grange, and the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.
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