This is what dreams are made of. Hollywood could not have written a better script. Dalton Harris is the 2018 X-Factor champion.
It has not been an easy road for the 24-year-old Jamaican. During his X-Factor journey, negative turmoil with his mother surfaced in the media. He was also accused of being a homosexual by people in his own country after a picture surfaced of him sitting in a man’s lap. Some Jamaicans even went as far as saying that Dalton was being used by the homosexual agenda to make homosexuality more acceptable in Jamaica.
All of that did not get in the way of the young man achieving his dream and living in his best life. So on Sunday it was very fitting for Dalton to stand on top of the mountain and utter, “I JUST WON THE X-FACTOR’.
Even before the envelope was opened and Harris named winner, three of the show’s musical guests were already proclaiming him so. Pop star Ellie Goulding referred to him as “the perfect contestant”, noting that his voice and story had the makings of a great artiste. Music legend Nile Rodgers, who sat in as a judge and mentor for two weeks of the competition, said: “Dalton’s voice is absolutely flawless and his consistencey is something almost impossible to achieve.” Musician Gary Barlow of the group Take That also declared the Jamaican the winner.
Harris is set to be rewarded with a recording contract with Syco Records — Simon Cowell’s label owned by Sony. The actual dollar value of the contract is still unknown, but reports indicate that it could be in the region of £1 million.
Harris first became known in Jamaica when, at age 16, he won the 2010 season of the local talent contest Digicel Rising Stars. Singer Nadine Sutherland, music industry insider Clyde McKenzie, and entertainment journalist Anthony Miller had front row seats to the beginning of his journey as judges of the competition.
For Sutherland, Harris’s X Factor victory is a story which has meaning on many different levels.
“My throat is hurting,” she told 18 Karat Reggae last night. “I screamed so much for this young man. Just to see his growth and development over the years is phenomenal. We were right there when he auditioned and saw him right through to the finals. It is so great seeing him now on this much bigger stage, clearly putting into practice some of what he learned on Rising Stars.”
“I must also credit Donovan Germain, who has clearly mentored and managed Dalton by showing support and love and how to bounce back from adversity. This is a lesson in how to be shaken but steadfast; a testament to talent competitions opening doors and how to stick to the course, not to mention his preparation and delivery, not just in how he sang, but how he spoke. I am so proud of him,” Sutherland added.
For McKenzie, Harris’s growth as an artiste is impressive.
“While his brilliance was evident eight years ago, he has grown tremendously. His confidence, the control of his voice… he was in tip-top shape for every performance. It shows that he is managing himself very well. His song selections were also of note. Whoever was working with him chose music that showed off his talent and instrument extremely well. Each song gave him an opportunity to show off his vocal dexterity, which is definitely part of the appeal.”
This X Factor win, McKenzie noted, also showcased the deep talent pool which exists here in Jamaica.
“We in Jamaica got significant mileage out of this. Jamaica has given the world reggae, but we can also give you a Dalton Harris, a Tessanne Chin, or a musician like Ernie Ranglin… We are not just the land of reggae, but the land of music, and given Dalton’s musical sensibilities, I see him going the way of a pop artiste. He has a soulfulness about him and he is able to convey emotions with his voice and put himself into a song, and that is what makes him a good performer,” said McKenzie.
Miller, known for his acerbic comments during competition, felt Harris faked emotional anguish throughout the X Factor performances.