Meet the contestants
Stories by Kimberley Cummins
With fingers crossed, this is what Jonathan Jeffrey was hoping for. He is one of the finalists of this year’s Richard Stoute Teen Talent contest.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY, he explained that each time he made it to the semi-final, which was on two previous occasions, something happened and he never moved on to the next stage.
In 2009, singing John Legend’s Save Room, he forgot the lyrics and sang the first verse three times. In 2010, he fell ill with a bout of dengue fever and the flu simultaneously; so because he was recovering when he performed he was not able to hit many of the high registers of the song.
Last year, he stayed out of the competition but 2012 seemed to be the year to break the cycle as it was the first time he reached the final.
“I tell myself this year I have to come hard,” the 20-year-old said and that was exactly what he did throughout the rounds of the competition. With a good voice and attractive physique he was a favourite with the females in the audience who would often scream upon announcement of his name.
Jeffrey, a third year Sociology and Criminology student at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill campus, acknowledged that the competition was very close but he was confident in his ability and he would perform his heart out.
“Last year, sitting in the audience, I could already tell who would win, but this year the competition’s stiff. You don’t know who will win there is a lot of competition. In the semis I thought my first song was weak so I will change that. I have some ideas but I don’t know which song to choose yet.
“I am my biggest critic so I just got to really go all out for this – nothing less than all out. I am focussing on my performance because the vocals are good. There are a lot of great voices in the competition but it takes more than a great voice to win Teen Talent. Creativity, use of stage; I am looking to maximise every criterion.
“I’m looking to change up the songs and make it my own and I will be choosing more difficult songs. It has been a while since a guy won and if I don’t win I want another guy to win. I will be much better in the final,” he said. SNbS
This Sunday when Chantal Griffith walks onto the stage of the Plantation Garden Theatre to compete against 15 others in the final of the 36th annual Richard Stoute Teen Talent contest she will have one person on her mind – her mother, Anita Griffith.
That was because if not for Anita, Chantal would not be in the contest, far less competing for the coveted title.
Despite the fact that the 20-year-old has an incredible voice, last year she was unable to reach the final of the competition. As a result she decided to quit and vowed never go back again. However it is encouragement from her mother that made her break that vow and re-enter once more.
“My mother pushed me to join – she is my main reason for doing this. She believes in my ability to sing and she is always saying that each time I perform she sees my improvement; she likes seeing me on stage, showing my talent.
“I felt as if people didn’t see what I could produce and I doubted myself and lost confidence, but my mother told me it was probably my song choice and not to see it as a bad thing. After that, she comes to the workshops every Thursday and every Sunday without fail. She comes to support me when I sing.”
Griffith, who lives in Britton’s Hill, was currently studying Accounting at the University of the West Indies. She said her number one focus was music but she decided to pursue Accounting as a “plan B”.
At the final she will perform Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing and I Who Have Nothing by Shirley Bassey. She would be outfitted by Diane Lopez and will aim to bring the total package.
“I am planning to give what I gave in the semi plus more because the standards are high and I don’t want someone to get that spot. My mother was very happy when I reached the final and she is very anxious for Sunday to see what the outcome will be. I think I have the potential to win, I will focus on looking good but I think that bringing quality songs and a great performance is more important. I think everyone will bring their best but some people’s best will be better than others, so may the best man or woman win,” she said. SNbS
This nickname had a good ring to it, she said, as she fused her first loves; becoming a soldier in the Barbados Defence Force and a singer.
The 18-year-old was one of the finalists selected to contest in the October 28 final of the Richard Stoute Teen Talent contest.
From young, she told Barbados TODAY, she always knew she wanted to be in the army but it was only from the age of seven that her love for music began and at age 12 she entered the junior segment of the Teen Talent contest.
This year was her sixth in the competition; she has been in the semi-finals on four occasions and this was her first in the final.
“I was shy but then I realised I have a talent so I want to broadcast it,” she said.
While some have questioned her place in the final since they believed she did not have one of the best singing voices, she should be applauded for her persistent spirit; always willing, always trying. She said that she too heard of the comments but noted that she was not discouraged by them but would continue to give her best.
“I don’t really care what the critics say. They don’t move me in any way; the judges say I am good enough and it’s up to them – the judge’s decision is final. In the end, I will try, I going out there and do my best and give my best.
“There are a lot of good contestants in that pack but I am not nervous, I know I can sing and that gives me enough confidence that I can take wherever I go. Everytime I come out to sing the confidence grew. As I in the final it gives me more confidence. I am cool and casual, I want to try my best but I would be happy to get a spot up there. It is good to be unique – the Singing Soldier,” she said.