Tuesday, 27 September 2016

MAN OF THE MOMENT: 2016 Rising Stars champ Elton Earlington deserves the stamp of approval

BORN TO WIN: Elton giving one of his signature powerful performances that won him the title.

On Sunday night, a high-energy finale inside the Courtleigh Auditorium brought the curtains down on the 2016 season of Digicel Rising Stars, crowning a worthy champion in twenty-something powerhouse singer Elton Earlington, the father of a two-year-old daughter, who says he will be investing in early childhood education.

For his community project, Earlington plans to spearhead a $1.5-million initiative at his alma mater, the Temple Hall-based Evelyn Peterkin Basic School, which urgently needs bathroom facilities among other things. Thanks to funds from the Digicel Foundation, Earlington is looking forward to improving amenities at the 23-year-old institution, which his daughter will be attending next academic year. And it’s a fitting gesture from a young man who clearly wants to give back to his roots in a meaningful way.

That $1.5 million is a separate sum from the cool $1.5 mil he secured as the main prize for winning the competition, turning back a spirited challenge from up-and-coming pop-reggae princess Monifa Goss, an Ardenne High lightning-rod, whose mix of fierce singing talent and living-out-loud personality has her poised to land a place among the Ikayas and Denyques of the local music industry.

But this is Elton Earlington’s moment and, in his own words, his triumph marks the culmination of months and months of “hard work” (in-the-streets campaigning, tonnes of vocal training). The results speak for themselves, and he now joins that growing roster of exciting male vocal talent who’ve used the reality competition to launch viable singing careers.

For many, Earlington (with his lush vocals, sturdy built and darkly handsome features) comes off as a cross between Season One winner Cavan and the competition’s most popular product, Romain Virgo, who’s released a handful of albums, mixtapes and EPs since 2007. Can Elton follow suit?

It’s way too early to predict what kind of career he will have, but Elton has the makings of a formidable presence on the reggae scene, the potential to reach Virgo-type success and go beyond that. The tens of hundreds of fans and well-wishers who voted for him week after week obviously feel the same way, and with their continued support, coupled with the right original material (as Anthony Miller has repeatedly emphasized), he should have little difficulty getting his foot in the door.

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