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From a total of 354 entries from promising and enthusiastic singers, songwriters and producers across the Caribbean, 214 have made the cut and qualified for the online vote to earn a mentorship opportunity with the Digicel and Machel Montano Music Academy.

It’s now time for members of the public to have their say in selecting which three singers, three songwriters and three producers move to the next level in the initiative seen as a springboard to launch their careers. Voters have until Sunday, December 10, 2017 to pick their favourite talent at

“This record-breaking number of entries is an amazing reflection of how much talent we have in the region just waiting to be unleashed. With the help of the public, we’re going to see the best of the best take their place and shine,” said Tari Lovell, Digicel Group Sponsorship Manager.

The nine winners will then proceed to the next stage to be mentored and coached by Machel and other top personalities from the music industry at a three-day Academy, which will be hosted in Jamaica from December 19-22 at the iconic GeeJam Studios, which is also a proud sponsor of the Music Academy.

There, the finalists will also learn valuable skills and lessons from music producer and industry strategist, ‘Deputy’ – the man behind one of Rihannna’s boldest hits where she makes no qualms about demanding her money. In a show of his diverse talent, Deputy, who is also of Trinidadian parentage, produced the biggest song of Trinidad Carnival 2015 – Machel Montano’s ‘Like ah Boss’. He’s a big advocate for musicians being financially smart and will help the nine mentees understand how to diversify and build wealth with the money they make from music.

Barbadian-born singer-songwriter, Shontelle whose hit song ‘Impossible’ propelled her to fame, will also join the team of mentors. Shontelle toured with Beyonce in 2009 and penned the Allison Hinds hit, “Roll”, to which Machel ended up doing an amazing remix. Also a writing mentor, Shontelle co-wrote the Rihanna hit, ‘Man Down’.

Joining the star-studded line-up of talent coaches at the Academy is Maurice “Verse” Simmonds, a Puerto Rican songwriter and record producer. He’s a five-time Grammy-nominated artiste who penned the lyrics to collabs by Jay-Z and Kanye West in “Who gon’ stop me” and Chris Brown and Usher in “New Flame”.

Speaking on behalf of the team, Shontelle commented, “We’re very excited about mentoring these talents to grow and refine their skills, while each of us bring our individual experiences and share some pro tips about managing a career to success. The industry is always open to breaking talent with that never-before-seen style and unique edge, so we expect them to bring it!”

One participant from the Music Academy will then get a spot on the big stage to perform alongside Machel Montano at ‘Machel Monday 2018’ – an electrifying concert series held in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, usually with sold-out crowds.

Lovell concluded; “This partnership will help more than the nine mentees pursue their passion; it will also inspire others across the region to keep focus on their passion and building towards their dreams. We are thrilled at what will unfold over the next couple of weeks from the natural, raw talent that exists in the region.”