Congrats to Jody Kay for winning Digicel’s 12th Rising Stars Competition, but congrats also to Digicel for having a good season. It has been quite a while since Suga has followed a season of Rising Stars. I probably haven’t watched since the season when Brown Suga won. It had become boring and repetitive with less and less talent. But not this season! This season had a lot of talent, a more Professional feel to it, a good host (Terri-Karelle Reid), good judges including international ones, and good themes for the contestants to work with each week. What or who made the difference? Word has it that Sharon Burke is the lady responsible for taking over the show and making a positive impact.
Sharon Burke is CEO and President of Solid Agency responsible for booking artistes such as Shaggy, Tessanne Chin, Wayne Marshall, Tifa, Marfia Griffiths, QQ and more.
She was a promoter in the local entertainment business for years, managing events such as Fully Loaded, working with Reggae Sunsplash, being a co-producer for the Shaggy and Friends Show and the list goes on. So she is very involved in the industry with regards to Event Production and Artiste Management.
She has worked with International artists such as Rihanna, P Diddy, John Legend , Shakera, Chris brown and Mary J Blige. She therefore must have used her International contacts to help spice up Digicel Rising Stars this season. Very current and influential persons in the music and entertainment industry were brought onto the show as judges. They were also scoping for talent, probably hoping to discover another Rihanna as they have done before.
It was refreshing to see honest critiques but in a more dynamic way, highlighting where the contestants went wrong or right and how they could improve. I believe that vibe and quality critique became contagious as the competition went on, filtering to the other judges such as Conroy Wilson, Alaine and well we all know Anthony Miller.
So what’s in it for the winner? A lot of International opportunities will be created for Jody Kay, for instance, David Miller from New York will do an international campaign and will give her a Developmental Contract. There will be an album distribution deal and more. The money? She won a million dollars (Jamaican). Peanut money. So perhaps they can work on the prize money.
Sadly, Suga doesn’t think Jody Kay will go far with music. She is a lovely singer and was the most consistent throughout the competition, but runner up Marsha K who was a wild card entering the competition, improving tremendously towards the end, seemed more passionate about music in her future. She was the better performer in my opinion and showed she enjoyed performing as well. She won $600,000JMD. When asked before the announcement of the winner what they would do with the money, Jody Kay mentioned going to school, the spa and helping family. Marsha K on the other hand said she would ensure she puts some into her future for music.
I think the 3rd place winner, Anna Mariah was the most marketable contestant in terms of stage presence and sound. With time and more growth she could make it big. Unfortunately she was a late bloomer in the competition and was not consistent with good performances and song choices, preventing her from winning the majority of Jamaica’s votes. But win or lose, if you really want it, it is not the end of the road.
So wow, I am actually looking forward to the next season of Rising Stars! A bit less confetti next time though.