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Campaigning gives birth to school tour - Digicel Rising Stars competitor, Diel, invests in music promotion

Published:Saturday | October 20, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2018 Ackera Gowie.

As a contestant in the Digicel Rising Stars competition, one of the weekly tasks for the contestants in the top 10 is campaigning for votes. For Diel, visiting secondary schools was part of his strategy to not only increase his chances of moving on to the next round, but allowing the younger generation of music lovers to become familiar with his newest single Too Young.

Although Diel did not walk away as Season 15's winner, he was awarded third place. All the campaigning paid off for the competitor who quit his job as a music teacher to pursue a career as a singer.

Diel, whose birth name is Adiel Thomas, says that the ska-reggae song deserves all the exposure it can get. "It was the song I used to audition for the competition, and one that has history," he said.

He says the song was written in 2005, based on an experience he had in the first semester at the Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville where he studied Mass Communications, but was not recorded until 2018 at the start of the competition.

"I wrote it before I even knew how I'd explore a career in music," he said. "It is about the connection I made with a female who was much older than me. I was only 16, and the lyrics say it all."

What started out as a campaign called the Diel Music Tour has evolved into the Too Young School Tour, specifically targeting secondary high schools across the island.

However, there are a number of challenges that the singer/songwriter has encountered since the end of the competition. Diel told The Gleaner, "The brand is not well-known, but I am taking the initiative to continue the tour without the help of any sponsors. The prize money has been invested in the tour as well as the production of the music video for the single which will be released in a few weeks."

He also notes that some schools in the Corporate Area are hesitant to agree to host him and his project partner, Ackera Gowie, Miss Jamaica Festival Queen 2018. "The people of Mandeville were welcoming because I attended school there, taught in the parish and lived there for an extended period of time, so we were able to cover the Manchester High (where he taught music for three years), Bishop Gibson High, and DeCarteret College."

The Too Young School Tour continues in Kingston at the Tivoli High, Dunoon Technical High and Clan Carthy High schools and will take a break when school go on holiday in December. Diel has no plans to return to teaching, as he feels he can do more outside of the classroom. "

The tour involves singing during devotions, performances and motivational talks at various school events, such as Career Day and at some point I give a preview of the song," he said.

At present his career has afforded him the opportunity to work as a voice coach, and part-time music director at the Grace Baptist Church in Clarendon among other odd jobs.

"Although there are no back- up plans just yet in case music fails, it has been providing for the past five years, and if there is any lesson that Digicel Rising Stars left me with, it's to be mentally tough if you want to accomplish your goals," said a very confident Diel.