Names Released For Junkanoo Carnival Music Masters Competition

15 Artists, 20 Songs vie for $20,000 grand prize

The Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC) congratulates the contestants in the 2016 Junkanoo Carnival Music Masters Song Competition as they embark on a journey to Music Masters stardom. Fifteen Bahamian musicians, fielding 20 songs, will vie for the $20,000 grand prize at Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival 2016. Their demos were selected by a panel of judges as the best of the best and now they will proceed to walk the road to carnival.

First stop is Music Masters Boot Camp, where the contestants will receive a professional makeover; participate in a music video shoot; and hit the studio to work with a world class Bahamian producer to master their songs.  The second stop on the road to carnival is a promotional tour, where the artists will present themselves to the Bahamian people and the world and work to develop their fan base. Third stop is the Music Masters Semifinal Concert at the Grand Bahama Carnival Kickoff from April 15-16. The final stop on the road to carnival is the Music Masters Concert on Friday, May 6 at Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival 2016.

On Thursday, February 18, 2016, for the first and only time before the competitors head to boot camp and hit the studio, all of the music will be revealed in a television sneak peak.

Eight competitors from the inaugural competition made the cut this year, including overall 2015 winner Sammie Starr and runners up Ericka “Lady E” Symonette and Colyn McDonald. Grand Bahama’s Terrelle Tynes-Wilson and Georgina Ward-Rigby are both in the semifinals again, with two of Terrelle’s songs securing top ratings. Inagua native Wendell “Avvy” Mortimer joins the ranks this year along with a host of new comers, including College of the Bahamas students Valene Rolle and Ilsha McPhee, who make up the girl group, Jive. Two of Jive’s songs made the top 20 cut. Christopher “Sketch” Carey returns again with two songs, one of them jointly with his brother, Baha Men’s Rik Carey.

All of the contestants will perform their songs live at the Taino Beach Cultural Village, April 15-16, during the semifinal concert at the Grand Bahama Carnival Kick Off. Judges will narrow the field down to the Top 10. The competitors will perform those songs at Da Cultural Village in Nassau on Friday, May 6 at the Junkanoo Carnival Music Masters Concert. 

There is a cumulative scoring system for the competition: 50 percent of the score was assigned by judges during the first round of eliminations; 30 percent of the score will be added based on the Grand Bahama semifinal concert; and the final night will account for another 20 percent of the score. Competition auditors, the accounting firm Baker Tilly, keeps the scores secret until they present the final tally at the Music Masters final. Cash prizes include: 1st $20,000; 2nd $12,500; 3rd 7,500; 4th $4000; 5th-10th $1,000.

Roscoe Dames, BNFC Chief Executive Officer: “The Bahamas National Festival Commission congratulates all of the contestants in the Music Masters Song Competition. The objective of the competition is to stimulate the recording music industry and bring about a revolution in Bahamian music. Junkanoo Carnival creates an international stage for Bahamian musicians to shine; it creates a national platform like none other for Bahamian musicians to develop their craft, build their brand and popularize their music. We are excited to work with this group of artists and are committed to doing all that we can through the competition to help them to flourish.

“Music is one of the three core pillars of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival: Music, culture, great vibes. The Music Masters Concert is one of the highlights of the entire festival. The Grand Bahama Carnival Kick Off is completely designed around the Music Masters semifinal competition. And in Nassau, in addition to the featured Bahamian and international artists we have performing at the Music Masters Concert the event is all about the competition. The BNFC invests heavily in the development of the artists who participate in the competition and remain committed to seeing the competition grow from strength to strength.”

Competitors in the Junkanoo Carnival Music Masters Song Competition: Aurelia Russell, Christopher “Sketch” Carey (2 songs), Colyn McDonald, Ebony Gibson, Ericka “Lady E” Symonette (2 songs); Fanshawn Taylor, Georgina Ward-Rigby, Jive (2 songs); Khiara Sherman, Lamont Darling, Latoya “Latia” Ferguson (2 songs); Rik Carey, Sammie Starr, Sonovia Pierre, Terrelle Tynes-Wilson (2 songs); Wendell “Avvy” Mortimer.

For more information:

Please forward any questions or requests for interviews to: or

Noelle Nicolls, Marketing Consultant, Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, (242) 376-9794 

Petra Haven, Marketing Coordinator, Bahamas National Festival Commission, (242) 356-2100

Media Contact: Kendea Smith | | 242-397-2786