Jamaican ‘Groovin’ Idol’ to join legends

All is not lost for Sting’s disciple, Maddadan, who is going after a wild card slot.
Photo by Dave Rodney

Groovin’ In The Park is New York City’s premier reggae and R & B summertime event that boasts a solid track record of attracting the best talent that the music industry has to offer.

This year, a bold new innovation by the organizers of Queens concert is creating a huge buzz within music circles. For the first time, a handful of unknown but dazzlingly talented artists in the New York City area and one show-stopper from Jamaica will get to share main stage with legends such as Michael Bolton, Billy Ocean, Lt. Stitchie, Morgan Heritage, Coco Tea, Capleton and Lucciano.

The initiative is called ‘Groovin’ Idols.’ Upcoming reggae and R&B singers, DJs and spoken word acts living in the New York tri-state region (including New Jersey and Connecticut) are invited to participate in a vote off contest where each act sends in a song or recording. The submissions are played on Groovin’ Radio 93.5 FM New York and posted on the Groovin radio Facebook page www.facebook.com/groovinradio and the acts that get the most nods in a borough by borough vote off will have the opportunity to perform in the opening segment of Groovin’ In The Park on Sunday June 28 at Roy Wilkins Park in New York. Artists who have already been eliminated still have the possibility of a slot on the show through a wild card slot.

But now, based on the tremendous success of the New York Groovin’ Idol segment, a Jamaican leg has been added to the contest. Starting shortly, rising stars that are based in Jamaica can audition for a chance to be selected as the local representative to perform on the opening segment of the dazzling New York summer concert that has in the past featured icons such as Air Supply, Patti Labelle, Gladys Knight, Boyz 11 Men and Beres Hammond. The Jamaica selection will be managed by a local radio station and the winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York to perform at Groovin’ In The Park.

The New York contest started a month ago and the response has been overwhelming. It has opened up a floodgate of some incredibly talented artists in the area. Whereas in past years, the Groovin’ executive team made the decisions about the talent that would perform in the opening segment, this year that honor goes to concert attendees, radio listeners and visitors to the Groovin’ Facebook page and the web site. New Yorkers get to decide who they want to see, and now that opportunity has been expanded to include Jamaica.

In the first week of the competition, it was a closely fought battle between eventual winner Jhaytea and Jeo Da Dancer, and two weeks ago, in the clash of the Dons, Queens resident Rooster Don inched past Sting’s disciple Maddadan to secure one of the slots in the segment. All is not lost yet for Maddadan as he is going after the wild card slot.

“We’ve been just blown away by the positive response to Groovin’ Idol,” CEO and founder of Groovin’ In The Park Chris Roberts told Caribbean Life. “The concept has been such an immediate smash that we had to find ways to include Jamaica to enable us to bring in one astonishing artist from the home of reggae to join the segment,” he added.

Brooklyn singer Jhaytea is expected to perform on the main stage at Groovin’ In The Park.
Photo by Allyson Ione

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