National song competitions to improve next year

August 03, 2017
Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange

Despite dubbing this year's grand finale of the JCDC Gospel Song Competition as a high-quality production, Minister of Culture and Entertainment Olivia 'Babsy' Grange says there is room for improvement.

With some patrons reminiscing on the Gospel Song Competition in previous years and expressing that it is not what it used to be, Grange, in an interview with THE STAR, said that like the Festival Song Competition, the Gospel Song Competition will also be reviewed going into next year.

"The customer is always right, one can say that, and so we will review the competition," she said. "I think that like any other product, you have to step back, take a look at it and make adjustments to make it new and improved. The same way we are reviewing the Festival Song Competition is the same way we will review the Gospel Song Competition because we have to refresh."

Grange pointed to a number of reasons why some people may feel like the competition has been watered down significantly and vowed to do her best to restore the national competitions to their glory days.

"I think one of the main things that we have to do now is get back into the intense workshops that we used to do in the past," she explained. "Even before I became minister, I was junior minister responsible for culture. We had workshops throughout the year where we used to go across the island to scout for talent, and out of that pool we would have entries for the various competitions, and I think it is important that we go back to that."

The minister, who this year announced that the National Festival Song Competition would be discontinued, expressed that there is a need to groom contestants before they enter these contests, as it will help to raise the bar for the participants.


"We need to groom contestants that will be participating in these national competitions on stage craft, music theory, how to write lyrics, deportment, and just generally how you present yourself on stage, how you deliver your song," she said.

Grange also said that in an effort to improve the competition in the years to come, her ministry will be looking into getting maximum exposure for the national competitions via radio and TV. The minister explained that in previous years, the competitions used to generate a lot more attention, as the songs used to be featured on local radio and TV stations.

"We are going to go back to basics next year and the years after that. We are going to go into the nook and cranny of Jamaica to find the talent and then get maximum exposure for these persons," she said.

"The marketing also has to be improved because, in the past, we took the songs and the contestants from these competitions right across the island on tours, and we used to get heavy rotation on radio and television and maximum exposure in print. Now that we have social media and a broader landscape, we should be getting more exposure, not less."

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