Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Shaughna-Lee Steele ponders next move

Published:Wednesday | August 2, 2017 | 8:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Winner of the 2017 JCDC Jamaica Gospel Song Competition, Shaughna-Lee Steele collecting her grand prize of $500,000 presented by Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange.
Third-place winner Sister Althea performing 'Bawl Out' at the JCDC Jamaica Gospel Song Competition Final at the National Arena on July 30.
Second-place winner Dannareo Fearon performing 'Order My Steps' at the JCDC Jamaica Gospel Song Competition Final at the National Arena on July 30.
Vymark Hamilton performing 'Too Late' at the JCDC Jamaica Gospel Song Competition Final at the National Arena.
Supporters having a good time at the JCDC Jamaica Gospel Song Competition Final.
Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange shares a photo op with gospel artiste Kevin Downswell at the 2017 JCDC Jamaica Gospel Song Competition Final.
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This year's Gospel Song competition winner, Shaughna Lee Steele, is pondering her next big move.

Now that she has won a competition she has looked forward to winning since she was a child, Steele says she now hopes to complete her Masters of Philosophy Degree in Geography at the University of the West Indies, Mona.

"I am a student right now and I want to finish my Masters. I really don't know what's going to happen after this," she said. "I always said I wanted to do music on the side. I never saw it as the main career, but after this win, who knows what will happen. I am just going to allow the Lord to lead me where he wants me to go," said Steele in an interview with The Gleaner.

Steele came out the victor in a fierce display of talent which saw the top 10 contenders in this year's competition going head to head at the National Arena on Sunday night.

Her song, Arise Mighty Warrior, which serves as a call to Christians to be fearless on the battlefield for Christ, found favour with the judges and was undoubtedly a crowd favourite. Perhaps it would be cliche to say Steele stole the competition, but that's exactly what she did, as she not only walked away with the main title, but also two of the night's most prestigious sectional prizes. Steele won Best Performance as well as Best Musicianship on her way to the win.

Though she undoubtedly walked away the night's biggest winner, Steele in an interview with The Gleaner, said she didn't believe she had it won until the very end, because the competition was a tight one.

"To be honest , I wasn't sure I would win. I know how competition's work and though I won two sectional prizes, it could have been possible that other persons were very close to the title as well," she said. "When they announced second and third place, that's when I told myself that it really could be me."

Steele, a devoted Christian, who hails from the parish of Portland, said the winning song (written by her) was inspired by what she saw happening in Christendom.

"I looked at my life and the life of others and I realised that too long we are sitting down and God is calling us and because of fear, do not answer God's call," she said. "There is work for us to do and we keep forgetting that we aren't relying on our own strength, but on the strength of the Lord."

Aside from the title and the winning trophy, Steele walked away with a cash award of $500,000 courtesy of the JCDC, another cash award of $100,000 courtesy of JamCopy for Writer of the Winning Song, a Laptop courtesy of Universal Service Fund, day passes courtesy of Royalton, White Sands, gift packages courtesy of Palace Amusement, Bresheh, Bookophilia, Black Ink and May Sparkling Juice.

The night's other winners were Dannareo Fearon who copped second place with his song, Order My Steps and Dycinta 'Sister Althea' Nunes-Holgate, who walked away in third place for her song, Bawl Out.