From Shocking Vibes CEO and former manager of dancehall kingpin Beenie Man, to columnist and judge on Jamaica’s most popular television show, Digicel Rising Stars’ the name Clyde McKenzie defines ‘entertainment insider’.
Most Jamaicans will remember McKenzie commenting on Beenie Man’s escapades in the music industry and that unforgettable press conference after Beenie was released from hospital following his harrowing crash on the Mandela Highway. However, for the past four years, Clyde has been beamed into millions of homes in Jamaica as one of three judges on the Digicel Rising Stars series.
With all five audition sessions completed, McKenzie is excited about season six. McKenzie, who has become known as a fair judge, with sometimes lengthy comments spiced up a little with various puns and jokes, comments on the success of the show: “I think what is happening to Digicel Rising Stars alumni such as Laden and Romaine Virgo is very exciting; they have used the platform provided by the competition to propel themselves to the next level.
“Digicel Rising Stars Season 5 was an interesting competition. As a judge, it’s special for me because I get to watch these people grow as entertainers and performers from audition stage to the studio finals, until a Digicel Rising Star is crowned.”
Of the thousands of persons expected to audition this year, 16 will see make it into the studio finals, and benefit from the experienced hands of Michael Harris and Michael Holgate, the shows’ voice specialist and performance director respectively.
Mckenzie who has been with the competition since 2005 is pleased with how the competition has been able to shape potential artistes. He is pleased with the growth the competition has seen: “As time goes on, you see that people get more comfortable with the idea of being not just singers and deejays, but entertainers. They get more comfortable with the stage, the microphone, the audience, and it’s good for our industry that we have an avenue like Digicel Rising Stars, whereby these people can get exposure and experience.”
Last year, Cameal Davis created history by becoming the first female winner in the show’s history. Davis, who recently premiered her first video for the single Believe, has been encouraging all potential Digicel Rising Stars to bring their “A-game”, and Mckenzie agrees.
“Impress us,” McKenzie said, before adding that Digicel Rising Stars “has turned some kids from very humble circumstances who can get an opportunity to better themselves and their families. Many of them have not become top recording artistes but are still able to make a living. This, I think, is very good for the country and the music.”
Watch Clyde McKenzie in action on Digicel Rising Stars every Friday and Sunday on TVJ.