JAMAICA CHOOSES DALTON HARRIS AS THE 2010 DIGICEL RISING STAR
After months of voting, the top sixteen dropped to ten, and then five and then two, which became one on Sunday night. After a two hour performance show with an all Rising Stars cast line up and few collaborations with popular artistes such as Cherine Anderson, Turbulence and Khago, the final two contestants realised that though the long journey was over, the wait had just begun, as finally, the host, Lady Rennae was ready to announce the winner!
Dalton Harris, a 16 year old boy from Sanguinetti, Clarendon has experienced many hardships in his young life, but what doesn’t kill you can only make you stronger, and it seems these past struggles gave him the strength to endure, and ultimately come out on top in Season 7 of Digicel Rising Stars.
The 11th grade student at the Edwin Allen High school in Frankfield, Clarendon, Dalton said he realized he could sing at primary school at the age of 12.
“I was messing around after school in the music room, they had a music club and the music teacher caught me. That was Sanguinetti Primary school, and I went to JCDC festival and won an award, and later when I crossed over into high school I was sent to Festival again and won another one.” He said.
As Dalton’s talent grew and developed, his home life went in the opposite direction. But he finally caught a break when he auditioned in May Pen earlier this year for Digicel Rising Stars 2010. Little did he know that only a few months later he would be clutching Lady Rennae’s, and fellow contestant, Camaley’s hands as he waited to hear his name called as the winner.
From Dalton’s very first performance show, where he performed Season 4 winner, Romain Virgo’s Rain is Falling, the judges and the audience knew that he would be a force to be reckoned with. Judge Nadine Sutherland was so impressed with his performance, she simply said, “I cyan talk! No man, yute, yuh bad!” But Judge Anthony ‘Killer’ Miller said what was clearly on everyone else’s mind: “Very few of the male performers I’ve seen thus far are credible, it’s just ironic that it’s taken a sixteen year old kid to kinda feed the starving.”
Since that performance, Dalton has not failed to impress, having hit after hit in the competition, and even being deemed by Judge Clyde Mckenzie as a triple threat in the third week. With star quality performances like Hoobastank’s Reasons, Michael Jackson’s Who’s Loving You, Jodeci’s 1993 hit, Lately, and the oldies hit, The One That You Love, which stunned the judges, including guest judge Cindy Breakspeare – mother of Grammy winning Reggae artiste Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley – it was then no wonder that he walked away with the title and the million dollar cheque.
“The journey has been fun, hard work and full of new experiences. I never go in a hotel yet from me born, and a Rising Stars mek me know in a hotel!” He laughed and explained that his most memorable moment in the competition was the day spent with his fellow Top 5 contestants at the Chukka Adventure tours. The humble and loveable young man said that he would do the entire show over in a heartbeat, expressing his love for his fans, fellow contestants and the producers.
And after campaigning for months, holding massive weekly street dances in Frankfield, learning the bus route around Kingston and visiting areas even some Kingstonians are afraid to pass through; his singing on the streets, befriending street vendors and begging for votes on buses has finally paid off. He worked his way into Jamaica’s heart and our credit into his votes.
“And the Digicel Rising Stars 2010 Winner is… Dalton Harris!” boomed Lady Rennae at the end of the season’s final show on Sunday night. And amidst the confetti, the shocked and humbled look on Dalton’s face reminded all those who had voted for him why they dug deep into their pockets to support this talented, humble and extraordinary young man.
His final performance was the same performance which had reached out to Jamaica just a week before, Craig David’s Walking Away, a song about walking away from your troubles and moving on to a better life. And Nadine’s comment from the week before rang true to all who witnessed it in the Courtleigh Auditorium that night, “A lot of people don’t know your journey in this competition… I know your story my dupes, and you’re walking away.”