Singers and songwriters alike have been showing their talents across the international stage, one of which is the renowned X-Factor. Tessanne Chin made history when she auditioned on The Voice, hailing from the beautiful island of Jamaica, which gave her a boost in her career as an international artiste.
Now, Digicel Rising Stars 2010 victor, Dalton Harris, has now decided to test his talent on the international stage having auditioned at the 2018 staging of X Factor. Simon, one of the hardest judges to impress, has prophesied that ‘good things will come from him’ after only hearing him audition.
X-Factor, created in 2004 by Simon Cowell, is a British television music competition for singers to publicly showcase their talents. Each person is given the opportunity to audition and once they are successful, they engage in a series of rounds and one singer is chosen based on their talent. Not only does the show have amazing prizes for the winner, but every audition is given the chance to gain publicity as it is aired worldwide and on social media.
“I never had an approach in Rising Stars. I turned up and sang. For X Factor, I want to focus on vocal quality and delivery, while still grabbing the audience and connecting with them.” – Dalton Harris.
“This is probably the biggest break I’ll get.. this I can say [is] singlehandedly the most important moment of my life.” – Dalton Harris on the X Factor.
Immediately the crowded cheered at his arrival, which only intensified at the knowledge of him being from Jamaica.
When asked what was his musical inspiration, nervousness bestowed him, but the quick realization of this caused the judges to divert the question.
Dalton is a 24-year-old singer who has been making his way through his career with his unique talent. He chose to sing his rendition of the song “Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word” by legend Elton John in hopes of ‘wowing’ singer Robbie Williams, producer Simon Cowell, One Direction band member Louis Tomlinson, and actress Ayda Field.
“If a lot of people I’ve come across said sorry, a lot of people could be left with less pain.” – Dalton Harris on the X Factor.
The easiest four yeses, and standing ovations from two of the four judges, not to mention from the audience, in addition to the sporadic cheers throughout his performance.
“This competition would mean everything because I wanted to be here for seven years; it’s been seven years watching and preparing.” – Dalton Harris on the X Factor.
Simon, again, pointed out his nervousness, and his intrusion revealed that Harris has been on his own since he was fifteen years old, but while he has accepted it, he has been trying to cope through it all. This moved the judges so much that Ayda and Louis met him on the stage with an embrace, telling him how amazing and proud they are of him.
“I’m rooting for you more than anyone else I’ve seen so far, I just really want you to do well.” – Louis Tomblinson, a judge on X Factor.
His Back Story
“It’s not a sad story; it is how I came out of that, and I’m proud of it.” – Dalton Harris.
He grew up in a single parent household stricken by poverty. Without electricity or running water, he could only describe his situation as a humbling life and looked only at the positives despite his challenges.
He won Rising Stars 2010 at the age of sixteen, the youngest ever winner of the renowned Jamaican singing show. However, more challenges befell Harris, despite him winning the $1 million dollar prize.
He dropped out of Edwin Allen High School in the tenth grade, and later met Donovan Germain, the chief executive officer of Penthouse Records and popular music promoter/producer, who became Dalton’s father, mentor and role model.
“He used to take bus or truck from Clarendon and come to Kingston. What endeared me to him was that he would leave, didn’t know his way, and would walk from Three Miles or Hagley Park Road to come to the studio. It showed that he really wanted to be somebody in the industry. It showed that he had ambition… [But sometimes] when he came to the studio, he would sit all day and talk to nobody. And you would look at him and say ‘this youth is carrying some serious baggage in his life’.” – Donovan Germain told the Jamaica Observer.
Two years later after Germain took him in to live with his family, Harris was able to enroll at Kingston College in 2011 at 19-years-old and subsequently graduated with six Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) subjects. He was one of the top performers in his class at the end of that year and was the first male of 22 brothers and sisters in his family to get this far in education.
“He had no choice but to go to the sixth form and from there it’s on to university. It makes no sense having talent and [you] can’t represent yourself and you can’t represent my company…. Until he gets his bachelor’s degree, I will be there supporting him.” – Donovan Germain told the Jamaica Observer.
If he didn’t pursue a music career, Harris would have done something in psychology, social work or teaching based on his background. However, it is quite evident that his life experiences shaped his choice of a career in music. Nowadays, he hungers for success and walks proudly knowing he will be seizing many opportunities, especially since he has been blessed with a person like Germain in his life.
“I will encourage him to continue his music career, but he has to have an education. There are no guarantees about music. He has to do what he has to do and he has the potential…. He has made me proud because I know what we have been through and I know where he is coming from.” Donovan Germain.
Pursuing An International Career
Some singers dream of ‘making it big’ internationally. This is one such dream of Dalton as he moved to the United States five years ago. Fast forward, he told the Jamaica Observer in January of 2018 that he decided to pursue an international career due to the unfortunate realization that people worldwide, show more respect for Jamaican artistes than their own people in Jamaica.
“There’s a celebrity game you have to play. You have to act cool, go to every event, follow and subscribe to the way of life of corporate Jamaica or weh kids a do now. You have to act like you like people fi dem pay you, ignore your beliefs whether right or wrong; you have to have beef or be in competition — mi nuh inna dat.” – Dalton Harris with the Jamaica Observer.
Dalton’s mentor, Romain Virgo, agreed with his sentiments and encouraged Harris to seize the opportunity to build internationally on the premise that sometimes the music industry in Jamaica may not be best suited for a particular voice like Dalton’s.
“I know the kind of music he wants to do is from the heart. Based on X Factor, I think it can give him that, so I gave him some good advice – to sing from the heart,” – Romain Virgo told the Jamaica Gleaner.
Donovan Germain, Harris’ manager, believed that his appearance on the X Factor has given validation as to his talent which has shown him that the music industry in Jamaica was not developing him as an artist.
“It has taken four White people to say that Dalton Harris has talent, while he is largely ignored by Jamaican radio. There are songs available, but he has not been getting the love he deserved.” – Donovan Germain told Loop News.
Entering X Factor has been a great opportunity for Dalton to not only test his boundaries and build his career, but to also get the exposure that he is a talented singer, Jamaican, and ready to make great music. Dalton earned a spot in boot-camp which is the next step after live auditions which airs every Saturday on IGTV at 8:35 pm for the duration of the season.
This is only the beginning on a long, yet well-deserved journey, and we are all here for it to see what Dalton is capable of and support him in any way that we can.
“To Jamaica, I hope to represent well and show our country in the best light internationally in all aspects possible. To the UK and people all over the world, thank you for embracing, accepting and supporting my dream. I am so grateful and appreciative of it all; words cannot fully articulate my gratitude.” – Dalton Harris told Loop Jamaica.
By Alexandra Daley