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Jamaica Gospel Song Competition

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The Jamaica Gospel Song Competition was introduced by the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission in 1987, as the Commission pursued its vision of unearthing, developing and showcasing the best of Jamaican culture. It has quickly become an iconic presentation of indigenous gospel music in Jamaica.

In a country where Gospel Music inspires and fostes spiritual development within the ethos of the Jamaican people and culture the J.C.D.C. launched an Original Gospel Song Competition in 1987. It encourages writers and vocalists to challenge themselves in thriving to become the best new artiste/ writer for the year.The competition has become an avenue for the unearthing and development of writers and vocalists through training with the best writers, vocal coaches, producers and experts within the industry, with an aim of showcasing their talents across the length and breadth of the island. As such , since inception, has attracted on average over 260 artistes, producers and song writers of original gospel music each year.

Diamara Neil Walker - Jamaica Gospel Song Winner 2015, with Minister of Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna - Song "God Is"

What to expect from the Competition

In 2008, island-wide auditions were introduced, with the hope of attracting more artistes and tapping into a wider gospel talent pool across Jamaica. More than 200 gospel hopefuls auditioned across the island and at this level, the originality of the songs were evaluated. This was followed by an elimination round, where the judges made selections based on performance and overall delivery. At the semi –final round, entrants were invited and from that grouping, the ten(10) finalists were selected. From this point, alot of work was put in by the JCDC to compile the album and producing individual music videos.

The 2009 Competition, under the theme “I Believe in Praise”, took a new twist with the traditional road shows or ‘street blockers’ being replaced with an all island tour called the “I Believe tour", that allowed each parish to see the ten (10) finalist performing live.The road-shows provide participants with an opportunity to perform for large audiences and to further hone and develop performance skills before the final show.

Participants each year are exposed to a series of workshops, which are intended to provide them with the necessary grooming and training, while familiarizing them with the music industry. The workshops are addressed by professionals within the Jamaican Gospel music industry.

At the final show, the participants are encouraged to provide a professional performance and are assisted by the JCDC to choreograph and prepare their acts. This year’s final show will be held at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston.

The entrants are not the only ones who have and will continue to benefit from this Competition, as the active producers get an opportunity to work with the finalists each year as they scout for the next best new act. Our sponsors also gain an opportunity to promote their product as they align themselves with the Road shows and tours across the island. The general public probably stands the most to gain as they get the only Gospel event of its kind which takes wholesome family entertainment to them over an extended period

Many of our present music ministers have used the Competition as the avenue to launch out into full time Gospel Ministry; some such are Humming Bird, Edwin Myers, Lester Lewis, Winston Bell, Glacia Robinson, Kerron Ennis, Kevin Downswell, Jabez, Lubert Levy and George Gordon to name a few.


Entering the Competition

Completed entry forms are submitted with a copy of the lyrics to the songs, each entrant will sing his or her song to a panel of very acclaimed judges who will listen to the whole or a part thereof once they are satisfied that it is original and vocally satisfying. The next level is the Elimination round; here the entire song is performed and judged according to originality, musicality and composition; once 65% or more is attained then automatically you are in the semi finals. Now the semi Finals; here the top ten will be selected, the ten highest scoring items will be awarded places in the finals and will get the opportunity for their songs to be on the album and videos for that year, subsequently performing at the National Finals for the Title Jamaica Gospel Song Competition winner.