Nevis Song Competition Judges

Alison Hinds - competition judge

CROWNED THE UNDISPUTED “QUEEN OF SOCA” BY FANS WORLDWIDE, HER POWERFUL, EMOTIONAL VOCALS AND HIGH-ENERGY LIVE SHOWS ARE LEGENDARY IN CARIBBEAN MUSIC. ALISON’S MUSICAL JOURNEY HAS TAKEN HER THROUGHOUT THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS AND THE DIASPORA WORLDWIDE.

AT THE TENDER AGE OF 17 , she joined ‘Square One’ as one of the band’s lead vocalist. The band recorded several albums and won multiple awards with hits like ‘Ragamuffin’,‘Twister’ and ‘Faluma’. Faluma topped the charts in g uatemala for forty-six weeks. in 2005, a lison formed her own band and released her first solo album ‘Soca Queen’ in 2007. t he album delivered her positive message of love and upliftment for one and all and was a celebration created for her fans all over the world. The love she received especially from Jamaica spawned new combinations with Richie Spice “King and Queen”, Jah Cure “Call On Me” and Shaggy “Can’t Let My Love Go.” Her classics “Roll It Gal,” “Togetherness,” and “Faluma,” were also included in the album with a mix of high energy to mid tempo as well as the classically soulful ballad “Island Girl.” Alison was also featured on Mr. Vegas hit single ‘Bruk It Down’remix. Her latest wave of new music include recent hits such as “Pull Up" and "Take ah Wuk".

Mr Gairy Knight has been a professional musician for the past 45 years. His initial instruments were steelpan and piano. Recognized for his prowess as pianist, composer, arranger and conductor, Gairy Knight has held the portfolios of arranger/keyboardist for GI Brass International, Director of the Wesley Methodist Youth Choir, Director of the CFBC Choral Ensemble, Keyboardist with the Art DeCoteau All Star Band, Associate Instructor for the Indiana University Afro American Choral Ensemble, pianist with the Mariano Morales Salsa Band and IU Latin American Jazz Ensemble and President of the College of the Virgin Islands Jazz Band. Gairy also performed keyboards with his own pop-rock band FLITE, while living in the United States.

Gairy holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition, Piano Performance and Electronic Music as well as a Master of Music degree in Composition and Theory from the Indiana University (USA). He also holds a Diploma in Orchestra Conducting from the Centre for Inter-American Music studying under the tutelage of Argentine Conductor Mario Benzecry and a Diploma in Teacher Education from the University of the West Indies. He has had the fortune of studying with world renown composers and educators such as John Eaton, Donald Erb, David Baker and Chilean Composer Juan Orrego-Salas among others.

Knight is currently a Lecturer at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College in the Divisions of Teacher Education and Technical and Vocational Studies as well as Assistant Chief Examiner for CSEC Music. Additionally, Mr Knight operates his own private piano studio for aspiring pianists and performs regularly as a jazz pianist.

Mr Knight who has arranged for many of the Federation’s leading calypsonians has also earned the title of First Junior Calypso King. Gairy has performed for the likes of Sparrow, Kitchener, Arrow, Entertainer, Chalkdust, Crazy and Shadow and Short Shirt to name a few. He has also had the opportunity to perform with pop and Jazz legends including Tito Puento, Jamie Jamieson the Drifters and Courtney Pine. As one of the founding members of the St.Kitts Music Festival, Mr Knight held the position of Executive Director of the Festival from its inception until 2001.

Gairy also formed part of a CARICOM five-member panel to adjudicate and select the CARICOM National Anthem which was won by Michelle Henderson of Dominica.

Mr Knight is a strong advocate for Performing Arts Education. He feels that because most persons aim mainly for popularity and fortune, creativity and skills development are being neglected as everyone is doing just enough to make a name and a buck for themselves, resulting in a cadre of popular but mediocre performers.

Hanzel Manners - competition judgeMr. Hanzel Manners, born in Gingerland, Nevis, has for a long time demonstrated a keen interest in the arts, specifically music, singing, writing and poetry. He is the composer of the lyrics of the school song of the Charlestown Secondary School, Industrtia et Virtute, the popular Nevisian folk song, Nevis Lovely Nevis, and several poems that have been presented at the annual Poets in the Square and at other events on the island. In 2001, he published his first book, BambooShay, a collection of short stories of Nevis. He is currently working on his second book about Nevis to be published later this year.

Mr. Manners, aged 75, holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree from The University of the West Indies (UWI), and professional qualifications in Accounting (Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants-FCCA), and (Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (ACIB).

Ricardo Drue - competition judgeBorn on the island of Antigua on July 31, 1985, Ricardo Drue has become one of the most passionate breakout artists in the Soca Industry. After moving to Cocoyea San Fernando, Trinidad & Tobago at the age of 4, and growing up in a musical family, Ricardo realized at a young age that music was his passion. After being influenced heavily by Soca, Reggae, R&B and Hip Hop all his life, Ricardo became the lead singer of Crossovah, a dance and vocal quartet in 2006. Crossovah became known internationally after being the opening act for recording artists; Jeffery Osborne, Fat Joe, Sean Kingston, Red Rat, TOK, Patrice Roberts, Allison Hinds, Destra, Machel Montano and many more.

Ricardo broke away from Crossovah in 2010 to focus on a solo career. Between 2010 and 2014 Ricardo garnered many musical achievements. In 2011 he became the co-lead singer of the Roy Cape All Stars band in Trinidad and Tobago. In 2012 became a brand ambassador for Digicel Antigua & Barbuda. The year 2013 saw the release of his first studio album; Dreams of My Reality with the breakthrough single Dreaming. In 2014, Ricardo released his second album My Time, the city of Boston dubbed June 21, 2014 "Ricardo Dose Day", became the Power Soca Monarch of Antigua and Barbuda and launched his mega hit Vagabond onto the world. Vagabond gained quick popularity and became Ricardo's first international hit catapulting him into a successful 2015.

The year 2015 has been Ricardo's breakthrough year. He entered Trinidad & Tobago's International Groovy Soca Monarch competition where he placed 2. Runner Up with Vagabond, won Music Video of the year at the 2015 International Soca Awards, won breakthrough artist of the year at the COTT Awards and defended his crown as Antigua & Barbuda's Power Soca Monarch and released the singles; No Shame, Rider, Winner and Bet. Ricardo is once again seeing international success with his groovy release Professional which has a mass following in Antigua, Barbados, Canada, North and South America. His single Bet has been gaining momentum in the later months of 2015.

With 2015 coming to an end, you can bet that Ricardo Drue will continue to release new music for his fans AKA the members of ID Nation to groove and dance to for years to come.

Tessanne Chin - competition judge While she was introduced to most of the world as a contestant on Season 5 of NBC's reality TV singing competition The Voice, singer Tessanne Chin already had a successful career back home in Jamaica, charting with the reggae hit “Hideaway” and touring the globe with the legendary Jimmy Cliff.

Tessanne launched her career a few years earlier, at first leading the rock-reggae group Mile High and then joining Jimmy Cliff’s band for a worldwide tour. In 2007, her hit Jamaican single “Hideaway” kicked off her solo career in earnest, but she was more known for her collaborations in the following years, releasing the single “Never Let Go” with superstar Shaggy, while mixing genres with the soca group Kes on their hit single “Loving You.”

After releasing the indie album “In Between Words” in 2010, old friend Shaggy encouraged her to compete on The Voice. She made the cut after auditioning with her version of P!nk’s “Try,” and as the season progressed, she joined Adam Levine’s team, topped the digital charts with her versions of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” and finally won the competition with contestant Jacquie Lee as runner-up.

Later in the year she released the competition’s winning song, “Tumbling Down,” written by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic. Her first album for the Republic label, “Count on My Love”, was released in July 2014. Her hit single “Fire” debuted, May 5, 2015 on iTunes, and her single “Love Suicide, released February 2016 blazed up the US Billboard Adult R&B National Airplay Chart and was at the top of Sirius XM Radio‘s Heart & Soul music chart after its debut.

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