Following Sunday’s final show, the 2020 Jamaica Festival Song Competition album has cracked the coveted top 10 of the iTunes Top 100 Reggae Albums chart, and Buju Banton’s winning song has also surged up the singles chart. The album, which entered the Top 100 last week, moved up to number eight overnight, and prior to that, its highest charted position was number 13. I Am a Jamaican, the song declared the winner by popular vote, soared all the way up to number 26 on the iTunes Top 100 Singles chart from a previous position in the ’70s.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange had sent out an appeal to the public, particularly members of the diaspora, to download and stream the album and add it to their playlists as it would “send the album further up the charts”. They obviously did, and Grange was fulsome in her praise of Jamaicans at home and abroad for their active participation in making this year’s festival song contest a memorable one.
“This is truly a defining moment in Jamaica for the Jamaica Festival Song competition,” a satisfied Minister Grange told The Gleaner yesterday. “At this time, the sky is the limit. This album has as good a chance as any other on the charts to go to number one. An opportunity of a lifetime has been given to the new and emerging artistes who have entered the contest. Our established artistes were able, by their involvement, to motivate the diaspora and the nation across age, colour, sex, political beliefs, and standing in life. We have been unified in our efforts, and the results have reflected that.”
FAN LOVED SONG
In an interview with The Gleaner, Donovan Germain, the producer of the winning song, echoed similar sentiments. “Buju’s fans loved the song, and they voted. Those in the diaspora downloaded the app. They went on YouTube and like the video all because it resonated with them. This is a song that will transcend beyond festival,” Germain said.
For the first time in the history of the competition, the album was made available for download and streaming on Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music, and Tidal as well as the Apple Music platform. It was also the first time that Jamaica Festival songs, in the entry stage of the competition, have made it to an international chart.
Minister Grange pointed out that although a winning song was selected as a result of the votes polled, “the life of this album will grow stronger”.
She also commended the performers. “The performance of all the finalists has, been outstanding. I hope that they all are as truly motivated as I am. This is good for Jamaica and it is good for everyone who is involved and certainly good for reggae music.”
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jamaica Festival Song Competition was staged as a virtual event this year. The finals, which were broadcast globally on Sunday, attracted thousands of interactive viewers.