This past Saturday the Dome Mall played host to the Honey Jam auditions for the 2018 programme.
A panel of 11 judges, including: Mahalia, Faith Callender, Adaeze, Barry Hill, Vayne, Paul Husbands,Empress Zingha, Andre Clarke, Island Levvy, JJ Poulter, and Cici were impressed by what they heard and looking forward to seeing the chosen artists on the big stage.
Honey Jam founder Ebonnie Rowe said:
“I was extremely pleased with the level of talent that came out and to see brand new artists along with artists who had tried out in earlier years and weren’t chosen but took it as an opportunity to improve and came back stronger. This is a positive youth initiative that we are happy to offer again and are looking for support to be able to continue. I can’t wait to introduce Barbados to some new faces and voices. I would like to see more of is artists in more varied genres, those who can also play an instrument and also artists auditioning with Soca. It’s unbelievable that in 8 years no one has ever auditioned with Soca! We have to get away from the idea that soca is just to be marginalized locally to one short season. It has the potential to become mainstream and played on all platforms around the world. It would be amazing to see an artist from Barbados be the one to make that happen in Soca and be winning Grammys and such. We have the talent!”
Any artists who were unable to make the live auditions at Dome Mall can submit a 1 minute video along with their photo and bio to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The lineup will be finalized by the end of September and then between October and November, the artists will attend a vocal & performance workshop, a songwriting workshop, and a music business workshop along with other experiences and opportunities, culminating with the concert November 17.
Mahalia – 2MileHill, Mahalia’s Corner
I believe that Honey Jam is amazing for young artists who have something in them that they want to share and may not yet have the confidence and need somewhere to start, a jump off point, a stepping stone.
Honey Jam is really good in that way – even though it is a concert you also get elements you need to grow as an artist – you get vocal, songwriting and industry workshops. You learn about other aspects of the music industry that you can also pursue. Ebonnie makes those educational opportunities available at no cost to the attendees, and not just to those chosen for the programme that year but to both women and men in general who are interested to attend to get that knowledge. Any programme that gives multi-talented people in Barbados a place – I think that’s very important for them to have a place that they feel safe and they can share and learn and grow and inspire.
Today has been amazing. It’s always an amazing experience and the thing that stands out to me at today’s auditions and whenever I go to anything related to Honey Jam is the amount of talent that we have. It’s always mindblowing to see the young women who come out and when they step on the stage it’s an amazing surprise at how talented they are.
Ian Donovan, sponsor, Massy Properties, Manager Dome Mall
It’s always fantastic to see and hear all the young talented people we have in Barbados. This is a fantasic opportunity for them to showcase. I enjoy it every single time. It’s a joy to be here. This is extremely important. HJ is a fantastic opportunity for young people. I think business people in Barbados need to come out and see it and do more for it to be able to continue. Ebonnie does everything she can to keep it going and thanks to her efforts there are a lot of young women who have used the opportunity as a jumping off point and are well on their way to success. There are so many more out there and they can be found right here and without this opportunity they may not be discovered. I appeal to Corporate Barbados to support this initiative whether as a sponsor, to buy tickets to the show. The point is it’s a fantastic vehicle and young people need it.
Empress Zingha, writer, poet, artist manager, co-founder Gine On Magazine
I think Honey Jam is very important as a platform for young talent. Today we had so many great artists– it was hard to judge – everyone was so talented! We’re forever saying like a broken record how much talent we have in Barbados. When we see these artists come out to the auditions we wonder where were they? Why haven’t we seen them before? Were they hiding under a bushel? That’s why we need these platforms so they can be seen.
There are not enough platforms such as Honey Jam. Big up to Ebonnie who keeps doing this year after year out of sheer love for the artform.
We need to have more people in culture showcasing what Barbados can do and people who are interested in coming in. who respect the artists. We need more mentors within the community to help those who are trying to succeed in arts and culture. This is something that Honey Jam provides.
My experience as a judge is awesome. I am not a singer but I am an artist manager and a poet.
The amount of talent blew me away. I think people should come out and support the homegrown artists and scouts should come and see what we have – support our culture – not only people from Barbados but from all over. They will be well happily surprised by what they see at the show November 17!
I think a platform like this is fantastic. There are so many young girls who want to be a star but to get the information they need and training there aren’t a lot of opportunities for them to learn about the industry. That’s what Honey Jam provides. The opportunity to meet local and overseas experts in the industry to teach the dos and don’ts.
When you get on the big stage the show runs like a massive concert –audio, lighting, style everything is so professional. It is great and needed.
Hosting is great, a lot of fun. Always a pleasure for me to host the auditions. An opportunity to give some of the artists a little feedback and encouragement. A lot of them are scared, for many it’s their first time on stage and they are freaked out. So it’s Good for me to just be there – tell them that they can do it and to just breathe. It’s also great to see everyone who came out to cheer them on!
Barry Barman Hill, Cover Drive
I think HJ is a great! What Ebonnie is doing to bring strong talented artists to the forefront is brilliant. Tons and tons of talent in Barbados and we need to showcase them. We need to bring people forward. I really appreciate 100% what Ebonnie is doing. It’s really good. As a judge at the auditions which I’ve been doing for a few years now – everyone was great and it was hard to choose. I’m so happy to see the progress I’m seeing and growth in the talent. I love that!
Island Levvy, Recording Artist
I think a platform like HJ is very important. As a young artist coming up I felt like there were not enough avenues to showcase your talent and get feedback, get assistance.
I like that it’s not a competition – it focusses on growth and encouraging young women to come out and show their talent. It’s very beneficial to the culture. I think they should include males one day. I wish I had an opportunity like that as a male when I was coming up trying to be an artist. There are so many things you can learn as an artist just from being able to get in front of judges and perform.
I was really honoured to be chosen to judge – I liked the experience and being able to see how many talented artists there are in Barbados. It’s so heartwarming to see that. I love to see it and it motivates me.
Cici – Honey Jam host/ radio & tv personality
Even before the girls came to the stage, even though they didn’t know each other I saw a sisterhood forming. There was one girl in particular who seemed very nervous and another young lady was there encouraging her which I think is super important so we had people who may have never performed in this kind of space before which is an opportunity they have to get experience, to build a name for themselves. It’s a great platform to start because you’re going to get training – songwriting, vocal & performance, music business information so you are better equipped to go out into the world. The sisterhood as well is very important – to have that support, that community looking out for you. We’ve seen the artists wind up working together, writing, touring, etc. That’s what it’s all about and why it’s so important.
At today’s experience – so much talent! No one was bad. It was just varying degrees of good. For some you could tell it was their first time but over months leading up to the concert they will receive training and will learn and grow and I really am excited to see their personalities and that raw talent grow and shine on the night of the show! The transformation from audition to stage – makeup, hair, stage presence, vocals – can’t wait for the show!
Adaeze – producer, writer, artist, business and studio owner
Being a part of Honey Jam for about 6 years and going through all of the various stages and participating in all aspects of the programme I really have to say that I think Honey Jam is one of the keys to development for artists in general because the workshops are open to all artists. It really is the shot that a lot of them need to build a fan base, to get the training that they need and I really would love to see more people support it financially and take hold of the vision because from my experience and seeing what other islands have and other countries have I think we have a real gem in Honey Jam in Barbados.