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Iconic Tastee Talent Competition lauded for contribution to the elevation of emerging Reggae/Dancehall artistes

In the lead-up to the highly anticipated Island Music Conference (IMC) Feb 21 thru 25, 2024, iconic singer Nadine Sutherland has showered commendations on Tastee Jamaica for the company's instrumental role in the cultivation of Reggae and Dancehall talents, via the Tastee Talent contest. Tastee is a major sponsor of the Island Music Conference which is open for registration now.


Sutherland's praise carries a personal note, as she was the winner of the inaugural contest back in 1980 at age 11, which later on also yielded musical giants such as Yellowman, Beenie Man, Mr Vegas and Dancehall quartet T.O.K.

In emphasizing the contest’s historical importance, Sutherland said it was the catalyst which provided a platform for emerging Reggae and Dancehall artistes, particularly during a time when these music genres faced a lack of recognition and were otherwise treated with scant regard.

Singer/songwriter Nadine Sutherland

“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.

Meanwhile, Director of Tastee, Simone Changpong said her father Vincent Chang, had not hesitated back then, when he was approached by the “dean of Jamaican music” to sponsor a musical competition to help upcoming Jamaican artistes gain national exposure.   


“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.

She said the attendance at the competition grew to such a scale and scope, that the stage had to be shifted from one end of the property to the car park.

“At first it was at the location where the chicken shop would be, but it got too big and then it went to the parking lot.  We would set up the stage and everybody would just line up, and they would have their entertainment,” 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 believes that the Island Music Conference will nourish the Jamaican and Caribbean music legacy. She hopes that those with the music industry will turn out for the conference and invest in their careers. The Island Music Conference is set to be held in Kingston from February 21 to 25.  Dancehall artistes Sean Paul, Masicka, Konshens, Reggae artiste Jesse Royal and Queen of Reggae Marcia Griffiths, are among an impressive lineup of influential figures, who are set to  participate at the event, which is being held for the second consecutive year.

l - R  Matthew Malcolm and Quan-Dajai Henriques

 Also in attendance were - Quan-Dajai Henriques, the young singer/songwriter who plays the role of "young Bob Marley" in the soon to be released movie. And singer/songwriter Matthew Malcolm. Both will appear on the IMC Island Vibe showcase amongst a line-up of Caribbean talent. 

The five-day IMC event will include over 15 panels, and workshops, featuring prominent Global music executives and practitioners who will unravel and provide insights into a slew of crucial global music topics, among them, the role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the music industry, the nuances of publicity, branding strategies, artiste management, digital music marketing strategies and effective money management.


YouTube, Warner Records,Meta, Spotify, Audiomack, Amazon, Ineffable, VP and United Masters are just some of the music powerhouses at the conference who will also offer one-on-one consultations.

In addition to the powerhouse convergence of top-tier artistes and key stakeholders, this year’s conference will also feature an immersive two-day songwriting workshop centered on the art of crafting impactful punch lines and clever rhymes. 

A key objective of the IMC is to act as a facilitator, and as a gathering point to engage with artistes and other M.I.P.s, address pivotal questions that can significantly influence careers, and ultimately propel Jamaica and the Caribbean’s music & entertainment sector forward as a cohesive unit.

IMC Sponsors include - TASTEE Jamaica Limited, YOUTUBE, MCGES, JTB, PEPSI, IPRINT, IRIE FM, ZIP 103 FM and CVM TV.

For more information email:

Follow IMC on IG: @islandmusicconference

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