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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » ANCIENT PRIEST WINS 2015 FESTIVAL SONG CONTEST WITH “CELEBRATION TIME!”

ANCIENT PRIEST WINS 2015 FESTIVAL SONG CONTEST WITH “CELEBRATION TIME!”

 By Simone Morgan—

 Top: Jamaica Festival Song winner Ancient Priest (right) collecting his prize from Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s board chairman Aston Cooke at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Center in St Andrew, on Saturday. (PHOTOS: MICHAEL GORDON)
Bottom: Third place winner Sherlette “Princess” Black and Second place winner Oniel “Nazzleman” Scott–

 IT was celebration time for Lee-Roy ‘Ancient Priest’ Johnson as he won the top spot at Saturday’s staging of Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Jamaica Festival Song Competition.

Based on the applause inside the tightly packed Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew, it was clear that Ancient Priest was one of the favorites in the competition.

During the performance of his single Celebration Time, almost everyone stood and danced to the lyrics. The cheers grew even louder when he was announced the winner. Besides the JCDC trophy, Ancient Priest walked away with $500,000 and a consolation prize of $30,000 for Best Performer.

“I entered this competition very confident. Being a Christian, I prayed a lot and knew that I had the song Jamaica needs now,” an elated Ancient Priest told the Jamaica Observer, after being announced winner.

A music teacher by profession and enrolled at Northern Caribbean University in Manchester, the singer said he is working on his debut gospel album entitled I Am Ancient Priest, slated to be released in October.

This is not the entertainer’s first entry in the JCDC song finals as he was also a finalist in 2010 and 2012. Both years, he copped prizes including Best Performance, Best Lyrics and Best Arrangement.

Another crowd favorite, Oniel ‘Nazzleman’ Scott earned the second-place title and $250,000 for the single Little But We Tallawah, while third place went to Sherlette ‘Princess’ Black. The visually impaired Princess warmed the hearts of the audience and judges with her single Sweet Festival Sound.

Marsha Marie Campbell cropped the Online Voters Award and $20,000.

Between the 10 finalists’ performances, the audience was entertained by past winners Heather ‘Brown Sugar’ Grant and four-time winner Roy Rayon.

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