Fri | Dec 1, 2023

‘He’s always singing’

Mother of ‘Rising Stars’ winner Remone Watson proud of achievement

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2023 | 12:10 AM
Remone Watson, the 2023 Digicel Rising Star, closed Sunday’s show with a performance of Barry White’s ‘Practice What You Preach’.
Remone Watson, the 2023 Digicel Rising Star, closed Sunday’s show with a performance of Barry White’s ‘Practice What You Preach’.

Cheers erupted during the grand finale of Digicel Rising Stars as Remone Watson was announced as the Season 19 winner. The audience was proud of the young finalist, a 20-year-old show player at Sandals Montego Bay. But their joy paled in comparison to that of Watson’s mother Monique Jolly.

“I am very proud of him,” Jolly told The Gleaner.

Speaking ahead of the announcement, Jolly shared that Watson started his journey in the church and had been singing from a young age.

“Remone has been singing from a tender age, from about two [or] three years old, from church and he just loves the microphone, he loves to sing,” said Jolly.

So great is his love for singing that his mother says it can often be incessant, leading her to playfully ask him to confine his ‘performances’ to a room in the house.

“Every single day in the house I’ll be like, ‘Remone, can you just stop the noise?’” she recalled with a laugh, to which Watson would respond, “’Mommy, I’m just doing something that I love’.”

Noting that she has seen her son grow into “an exceptional young man”, she’s even prouder of his plans for the future. Watson has his sights set on entering American singing competition The Voice. Jamaican performer Tessanne Chin won The Voice 10 years ago in 2013.

“That would be awesome and I would be behind him 1,000 per cent because he has that talent,” she said.

Watson walked away from the Digicel Rising Stars competition with a cash prize of $1.5 million, a smartphone and credit courtesy of Digicel, taking the win ahead of 24-year-old Jhanelle ‘Lady J’ Thompson, who secured the second spot, and Sashae Evans, 29, who ended third. Thompson walked away with a cash prize of $600,000, while Evans received $400,000. Both received a smartphone and credit.

“My next motive is to embrace [my] gift and have my gift soar and also represent Jamaica internationally ... because I don’t think a lot of conscious music is coming from youths these days, so I think it would be something great to enter [this international competition] with hopes of winning and make Jamaica proud,” Watson told THE STAR, while hailing his mentor Chin for her support and influence.

The Season 19 finale of ‘Rising Stars’ saw the Top 10 performers open the show with a performance of Knew You Were Waiting. The night also featured live entertainment, with noted gospel entertainer Kevin Downswell performing All I Want is You and Grace; J Calm, Tempted; D’Yani, Live a Little and last year’s winner Mozein Sutherland, Johnny Gill’s My My My. Watson closed the show with a performance of Barry White’s Practice What You Preach.

Overwhelmed by success, he shared after the show that his journey was not without challenges, not only did he have trouble with his voice, but he was robbed of $200,000 in campaign funds during a campaign initiative.

“I’ve put in the hard work, coming here week after week with an ill voice and still killing it,” said Watson. “I would like to say to Jamaica, big up, thank you guys so much for putting in the hard work week after week to ensure that I’m still in the competition. When I thought that I was going to lose it, on Friday I got robbed of all of the campaign money. I didn’t know where it was going to come from but it did come and I thank God and I thank Jamaica for doing what they had to do.”

Digicel Rising Stars was first aired in 2004. Some of its winners have gone on to achieve great success in the entertainment industry, including Romain Virgo, who won the competition in 2007; Christopher Martin, 2005, and Dalton Harris in 2010.