• Feature
    Winner of the 2019 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Jamaica Festival Song Competition, Raldene “Loaded Eagle” Dyer.
    Photo: Mark Bell

    Story Highlights

    • Winner of the 2019 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Jamaica Festival Song Competition, Raldene “Loaded Eagle” Dyer, is basking in his recent success.
    • “It’s a great feeling knowing that this is something I use to watch from I was small and always wanted to be a part of,” he says.
    • He was speaking to JIS News after he was declared winner of the Festival Song Competition, which was held at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, recently.

    Winner of the 2019 Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Jamaica Festival Song Competition, Raldene “Loaded Eagle” Dyer, is basking in his recent success.

    “It’s a great feeling knowing that this is something I use to watch from I was small and always wanted to be a part of,” he says.

    He was speaking to JIS News after he was declared winner of the Festival Song Competition, which was held at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, recently.

    His winning song, ‘Big Up Jamaica’, showcases all the beautiful and positive aspects of Jamaica, such as its beautiful sunshine, coconuts and sugar cane. It has been Jamaica’s 57th Anniversary of Independence soundtrack, under the theme: ‘One Nation, One People’.

    Mr. Dyer tells JIS News that throughout his preparation for the competition, he remained calm, and from start to finish he was always confident that he would be crowned the winner.

    “After doing a couple roadshows, ‘mi know seh mi a guh win’… you have some very good singers, but performance goes a long way,” he says

    Mr. Dyer previously won the 1998 JCDC Dancing Skit Competition, and he points out that he not only has a passion for singing, but entertainment as a whole.

    He was awarded $1 million for his winning entry and an additional $1 million as the writer of the winning song. Mr Dyer also received $600,000 in sectional prizes for the best vocalist and best performer.

    According to Mr. Dyer, winning the competition will help his career as an artiste, because he is now able to meet producers and other artistes, adding that his fans and family are very pleased with his success.

    He says with this achievement he will now have the opportunity to showcase his talents islandwide and abroad, and points out that he will always be grateful for the competition, as he is now one of the champions.

    Mr. Dyer, who was born in Steer Town, St. Ann, attributes his early exposure to singing from his mother who was a member of his hometown choir. His passion was further developed as he was inspired while attending festival programmes in his childhood. As he got older, he began to practise on his own at a studio in his home.

    He then branched out in his solo career with his song ‘Nowadays’ in 2005 and from there collaborated with producer Lenworth “Jupiter Phillips” Philpotts.

    The Festival Song Competition was revamped for the 2018 staging and now carries an overall prize purse of $10 million, which is shared among the performers, songwriters and producers, with the top 10 finalists also receiving prize packages.

    It now features a series of roadshows and special appearances, which give the performers the necessary exposure and give members of the public the opportunity to get to know the songs and the artistes.

    The Jamaica Festival Song Competition is one of the longest-running original song competitions in Jamaica. It started in 1966, and has been the driving force behind some of Jamaica’s acclaimed singers and songwriters and boasts past winners, including Toots and the Maytals, Desmond Decker, Eric Donaldson, Roy Rayon and Stanley Beckford.

    The other finalists in this year’s competition were Alero Perrier, with ‘Queen Jamaica’; Jerome Smith, ‘Embassy Appointment’; Edwin Meyers, ‘Piece A Jamaica’; Jason “Iya Concord” Wright, ‘Hero Fight’; Percival Lord, ‘A Jamaica We Love’; the Escarpment Road New Testament Church of God Choir, ‘Jamaica Bless’; Nickoy “Shawn-D” Green, ‘Sweet Jamaica’; Nester “Humility” Chung, ‘Battlefield’; Vernon “Ramize” Smith, ‘Jamaica Fi Life’; and Meckedah “McKada” Henry, ‘Love for Jamaica’.