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Eric Donaldson 27 albums and counting

Published:Saturday | June 8, 2019 | 12:00 AMYasmine Peru/Gleaner Writer
‘Mr Festival Song’, Eric Donaldson.
Eric Donaldson performing during the Jamaica 50 Grand Gala at the National Stadium in 2012.

While many Jamaican entertainers choose Florida or some other state in the United States as their second place of residence, singer/songwriter Eric Donaldson has instead opted to spread his wings in South America. He is a legal resident of Brazil and currently enjoys dual citizenship, as he has retained his Jamaican credentials.

Donaldson, who says his songs are very popular in that country, visits there for about three months each year, performing at events across the country. “I go to Brazil from September to November, after the rainy season, and do quite a few shows,” he said.

Additionally, he has other strong ties to Brazil, and they have nothing to do with the business of music. “I have one foot in Jamaica and the other in Brazil,” he joked. “Actually, I have a son down there; he’s 15,” the father of eight said. “I was thinking of bringing him to Jamaica, but it’s best to let him finish up school there.”

The Land of My Birth singer, whose name is well known for his winning Festival Song entries, has actually released 27 albums throughout his career.

However, that doesn’t stop him from currently working on number 28, or even from making ambitious plans to subsequently release an album each year going forward.

“This album is as yet unnamed,” explained the entertainer. “However, one of the featured songs is called I Am In Love, so I may name the album that. I want to put out this one in time for Independence, but I don’t know if I can fast track it. If not, then it will be released for Christmas,” he said

It was less than a year ago, October 2018, to be precise, that Donaldson released an album entitled Control Your Temper. A project he produced on his Cosmick label. The 10-track offering, he said, didn’t get a lot of radio play. Donaldson, however, says this is the reason he decided to release yet another album. And he has incorporated producer Clive Hunt’s expertise with this one.

He emphasised that the fact that his songs have not received a lot of airplay here in Jamaica is not a deterrent. “I have a lot of songs that Jamaican people never hear,” he explained, “I don’t think that Jamaican people listen to Eric Donaldson attentively,” he continued.

Brazil demand

However, he was quick to point out that his strong fan base in Brazil more than compensates. “I have hit songs, like Cinderella, that I have to sing two and three times when I am performing in Brazil,” he said.

Seventy-one year-old Donaldson, whose last performance in Jamaica was two years ago, is looking forward to performing today. Powerful Women and Men Perform For Charity, to be staged at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston. “I think it’s a worthy venture and I feel good to be able to give back,” he said.

Jamaica, Land of My Birth and Cherry Oh Baby, his winning Festival entries, which are still remembered today, will quite likely be part of today’s catalogue. Donaldson, when asked, gave his take on current festival songs, said that a lot of ingredients are missing. “I am not about to tell anybody how to do things, but the lyrics of the songs need to be more meaningful, instead of gimmicks and jokes. In times gone by, festival songs were saying exactly what the people were thinking. But the right festival songs will still connect,” he said.

Born in Kent Village, St Catherine, on June 11, Donaldson launched his music career in 1964 when he recorded tracks for Studio One in Kingston.