Sacaj with her original entry, ‘Nuh Weh Nice Like Yard’, was crowned the winner of the 2022 Festival Song Competition on Thursday night.
The St Mary native walked away with a trophy and $3 million in prize money at the grand finals of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC)-organised competition held at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston.
Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange, was among those on hand to share in the celebration.
Sacaj was among 10 finalists in the contest which was held as part of the Jamaica 60 celebrations under the theme ‘Reigniting A Nation for Greatness’.
In second place was Magic Flute with ‘I’m A Proud Jamaican’, while Nitty Kutchie, who placed third with his entry, ‘Defend Jamaica’, also copped the sectional prize for Best Performance.
In addition to their original entries, the Festival Song finalists also regaled the audience with renditions of old favourites, such as ‘Cheerio Baby’, ‘Redemption Song’, and ‘Play De Music’.
The event also featured performances by 2021 Jamaica Festival Song winner, Stacious, and guest artiste, Richie Stephens.
Chairman of the Jamaica Festival Song Competition, Orville Hill, said the winner was selected through a combination of professional judging and public votes.
Fifty per cent of the scores were determined by online votes, and the other 50 per cent by a panel of judges. The first round of the judging took place at the presentation show on July 14.
“That combination of a 50/50 format really brings out the best of what we have to offer. We must recognise the contribution and the position of the public, and at the same time, these are professionals who are performing, and it is good to have professional judges come in and have their input,” said Hill.
He urged that “now that the song for Jamaica’s 60th Independence anniversary has been selected, I ask that all of Jamaica rally around (it) and go into our Independence celebration with this song.”