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Nadine Sutherland Praises Tastee Talent Competition for Elevating Emerging Reggae/Dancehall Artists

In anticipation of the eagerly awaited Island Music Conference, the seasoned singer commended the major sponsor of the IMC

Nadine Sutherland during the IMC last year (Photo: Jamar Cleary)

Iconic singer Nadine Sutherland commends the main sponsor of the Island Music Conference for its pivotal role in nurturing reggae and dancehall talent through the Tastee Talent competition.

Sutherland, winner of the inaugural competition in 1980, emphasized its historic significance in providing a platform for emerging artists at a time when these genres were largely unrecognized. "Every interview I mention Tastee. Respect to those that stood in the background and were financing; the corporate entity that stood and said ‘yes, a wi culture’, because at that time, how people looked at our music was: we had to be very cabba-cabba ‘a Reggae music dis’: They (Tastee) didn’t (see it as such). They were financing a contest that made Nadine Sutherland can stand right here now and talk," the Action singer said, during an IMC press briefing at the Tastee headquarters at Half Way Tree Road in St. Andrew.

Director of Tastee, Simone Changpong, highlighted the company's commitment to supporting Jamaican talent, tracing back to an idea proposed by Sonny Bradshaw in 1979. Changpong's father, Vincent Chang, readily embraced the concept, leading to the competition's growth in popularity and impact over its 33-year span. "How it started was Sonny Bradshaw approached my dad, back in 1979 about this idea to unearth talent but give them an opening and at the same time, to have the free concert. It was really fascinating. They looked forward to it,” she said. “My dad was proud. That was his way of giving back to society. It did a good 33 years. A lot of famous artistes came out of it," she added.

Members of the Media in conversation with IMC's Judith Bodley & Tastee's Simone ChangPong

Changpong expressed optimism about the upcoming Island Music Conference's potential to enrich the region's musical legacy. Scheduled from February 21 to 25 in Kingston, the event boasts an impressive lineup including Sean Paul, Masicka, Konshens, Jesse Royal, and Marcia Griffiths, among others. Young talents like Quan-Dajai Henriques and Matthew Malcolm are also set to feature.

The IMC agenda encompasses over 15 panels and workshops featuring global music executives and practitioners delving into topics such as AI in the music industry, branding strategies, digital marketing, and artiste management. Moreover, the conference will offer one-on-one consultations with industry powerhouses like YouTube, Warner Records, and Spotify, alongside immersive songwriting workshops.


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