FESTIVAL SONG ENTRANT WINS RECORDING CONTRACT
Jamaica first heard of the singer Ieye when she won a slot as the only female among ten Festival song 2008 contestants. Singing then as ?Versatile`, Ieye showed true versatility in her performances and voice range and gained invaluable experience of performing to large public audiences. Versatile ? did not win the competition`s million dollar prize, though she received an award as Most Improved Performer. But her talent caught the attention of Clifton ?Specialist` Dillon " the mega-music manager who made Grammy-winning stars of Shabba Ranks, Patra, Cobra and Italian-Jamaican reggae artiste Alborosie. The man music industry insiders refer to as The Star Maker ?, Dillon has signed her to a recording and management contract and begun working with her on tracks for a debut album.
Underneath Ieye`s shyness and inexperience, I saw the makings of a new female superstar ?, says Dillon. With this objective, he has embarked Ieye on a rigid recording and rehearsal schedule, grooming her to handle performances and public appearances with the air of a true professional. It`s quite a change for the 24-year old from Linstead, St. Catherine where she grew up, went to school and attained her CXC`s. One of eleven children born in a religious Christian family, young Ieye`s voice developed singing gospel songs. Her talent was first exposed when at the age of 8 she began singing at weddings and parties at the request of friends who had heard her sweet voice in church, so it`s no surprise that it was the Gospel Song competition she had entered first. But when she did not make the final selection, she decided to cast her hat into the Festival Song Competition. The rest is history.
This is something I`ve always dreamed of from I was a little girl, that my talent as a singer would be recognized and helped to grow ?, she replied when asked how it feels to be ?discovered`. I wasn`t surprised that I didn`t win the Festival Song Competition, because all the entries were good singers and songs, so I just give thanks to reach so far and to have the chance to perform all over the Island and on television. All that was a dream come true ?, she smiles. To get a call later from Mr. Dillon saying he wanted to guide my career, well that was an even bigger dream I never thought would ever come true ?, she laughs with happiness. God is good ?.
Ieye has already recorded more than a dozen songs from which the album will finally be selected. With ?Specialist` as executive producer and manager, the quality of each song is first class and the variety of rhythms and lyrical topics gives Ieye a chance to show why her first performing name was Versatile ?. There are cultural reggae songs, vintage remakes, soulful ballads, raunchy dancehall raps and social commentary all performed with a strong voice that carries emotions, power and control with competent ease. There`s a sense of maturity in this poised young lady and a lot of it comes from the confidence gained by recognition and professional acceptance. She has also undergone a glamorous image upgrade that is more in keeping with her new persona as the mysterious Ieye ? " a name that is a meaningful sound.
Clifton Dillon is single-minded about Ieye`s future. Serving as Special Advisor to the Ministry of Information & Culture, he commends the Honourable Minister Olivia ?Babsy` Grange for re-introducing the Festival Song Competition in its original format, giving greater opportunities for artists to exhibit their talents and enter the performing mainstream. He points to the fact that although Ieye did not have a winning competition song, the Festival Song Competition showcased her vocal and performing talents well enough to command his attention. Maybe other producers saw other performers in the competition and are working with other artists somewhere ? who knows? ? he asks. Ieye is proof that the Festival Song Competition is as good an opportunity for stardom as any other competition in Jamaica or the world and with the Ministry`s full support, it will continue to provide more opportunities in years to come ?.