Five female acts will be tasked to impress the mixed crowd this month at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay, and also online courtesy of streaming services. In a line-up of predominantly men, Etana, Spice, Jah9 and newbies Shauna Controlla and Dovey Magnum have little room for error.
But according to their peers, they’ve got it covered.
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“The most important thing is to be yourself and allow the audience to feel you,” Pam Hall told The Gleaner .
“Make sure you know your material well and on a technical level. When you have the technical part down then you really can have some fun with the audience. I wish them all the ‘bless’ and I just want them to do very, very, well.”
Having bedazzled the Sumfest audience in the past, Hall added that a little jitters are natural, and is only reflective of the body readying itself for the action to come.
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“Don’t worry about a little performance anxiety, yuh good, man, just go mash up the place,” she assured.
Dancehall deejay Lisa Hyper also knows a thing or two about this anxiety. She held her own performing alongside Lady Saw (now Minister Marion Hall) in 2015 when the latter closed Dancehall Night.
“When you are just going to perform you always feel the butterflies, that is normal, even the man dem get it, too,” she stated.
“Do your best and perform like this is the ultimate way of showcasing your talent.”
Though Nadine Sutherland says she has never been invited to perform at the 26-year-old event, her advice still oozed wisdom based on her performance virtuosity mastered over the past four decades.
“Even as a seasoned performer, every time I go on stage I get nervous because you might have a slight flinch and ache in your knees and all of the nightmares you can think of,” she said. “I’ve learnt meditation to calm myself, so I just wanna say to them, enjoy it. When the audience sees that you are enjoying yourself, they will, too.”
She had a special message for Dovey and Shauna who are set to make their Sumfest debut.
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“Don’t look at the hype, this is your first time and you don’t know what the response will be,” she said. “Make sure you love your art. I find that when you go and love your art, you could be nervously shaking, the crowd will see the love you have for what you do. You will be amazing. I can’t wait to see the response for the newbies, it’s gonna be wonderful for them.”
Dancehaller Macka Diamond, a frequent entertainer on the Sumfest line-up, was in accordance with her contemporaries, but noted the importance of each performer staying true to her style despite the influences around them.
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‘BE YOURSELF’ “At the end of the day, even though you might look up to and respect other people’s performances, you have to be yourself and do your best because you can’t compare with anybody else’s set, performance or fan base,” she said.
“The best move to make when it comes to a show like this is to remain focused and give your 100. Go mash it up, tun it up.”
Festival organiser Joe Bogdanovich told The Gleaner his ‘fabulous five’ decision was based on the diversity and availability of the female acts
“Jah9 is a very serious reggae artiste and she’s an independent lady and has been working her way up internationally, and she has some good songs. She has a solid fan base so you can check her off,” he said. “When it comes to Etana, she’s such a powerful artiste, she’s independent and doing well and doesn’t cause problems. She is somebody who has great lyrical quality and also has a great fan base. I think Spice is one of the most entertaining female artistes in the business, and I think she has earned the reputation of being the queen of dancehall right now.
“Dovey Magnum is someone with Jamaican roots. She is a little controversial and has a lot of fans, and so she has a certain fan base and we are appealing to that. Shauna Controlla is another young artiste that we are supporting and one that has a lot of dynamics that many don’t know about. It takes a lot of perseverance to succeed in this business and she certainly has been challenged and keeps getting better and taking on the challenges. They may not be what everybody wants but we can’t get everybody every year and that’s why I chose them.”
Koffee, the youthful reggae sensation, is also expected to appear on the show that has been billed the Greatest Reggae Show on Earth