(Jamaica Observer) Come Saturday, December 1, Jamaican singer Dalton Harris will contest the finals of the British-televised talent show X Factor .
The 24-year-old, who hails from Clarendon, was named one of the three finalists, along with Scarlett Lee and Anthony Russell, during a nail-biting results show in London yesterday.
Harris was visibly relieved when his name was the first to be announced as a finalist.
“It’s a dream come true and nothing stops you but yourself… I’m so grateful for the encouragement that you guys have given me, and I’m here,” he screamed during an interview with the show’s host Dermott O’Leary.
Harris’s popularity going into the finals can also be seen on the iTunes Top 100 charts, as two of the studio recordings of songs he has performed on the show are charting. Feeling Good, which he performed last Saturday was at number 34, and Listen, which he performed a week ago, has re-entered the chart and was at number 86 at press time yesterday.
Back at home in Jamaica, the feeling was just as palpable for Harris’s mentor, record producer Donovan Germain.
“I had no doubt that he could do it. We talk everyday, and I know how much he is driven, so I had no doubt from the beginning that he would put in the work in order to get out of this competition what he wants for himself. So, seeing him make it to the finals was just a fulfilment of what I know he set out to do,” Germain told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.
The renowned producer will have an up-close view of the finals as he leaves the island later this week for London to support his charge.
“When he was leaving for London I took him to the airport and he asked me if I was coming to see him perform. I told him I will be there when he makes the finals. So once he came off the stage he called immediately from the tour bus and said, ‘I did my part’. So I leave on Wednesday,” Germain said.
In 2010, Harris popped up on the local music radar after he won Digicel Rising Starsat 16 years old.
Meanwhile, Nadine Sutherland, who was a judge on the popular local talent show at the time, was excited about Harris’s progression to the finals of the UK-based talent show. Speaking to the Observer from New York, Sutherland remarked how phenomenal his growth as an artiste and vocalist has been over the years.
“OMG… mi jus’ a bawl out him name. I am so happy for him. I am ecstatic,” she exclaimed.
“I was just speaking to Clyde McKenzie, who along with Anthony Miller and myself, were the judges at the time. I remember telling them that Dalton had the best voice in the competition that year. He was just an awesome kid with so much potential, and I was just waiting for him to ‘buss’ big. I knew he was working with Germain so I knew he was in good hands. What I’ve been hearing on X Factor shows how much he has developed as a singer… His falsetto and his control are just so impressive, and it shows that he has worked on his craft. He has grown from the youngster we met eight years ago into a massive, world-class vocalist,” said Sutherland.
Both Germain and Sutherland are pleased with the way Harris has handled the pressure of the past week with the string of harsh, negative comments which followed the release of a photograph that showed Harris sitting on the knee of fellow contestant Brendan Murray.
“When I spoke to him I just reminded him not to be distracted by the negativity. He knows his mission and his success will silence the critics,” said Germain.
Sutherland said Harris serves as an inspiration.
“I was really worried that it would destroy his confidence and throw off his focus. But when I saw that performance of Feeling Good on Saturday, I was so happy that he was not allowing the haters to shake him. It proves how purpose-driven Dalton is, and I am so happy for him. I am pleased that he is moving on from being a shy, sad boy into a confident young man and a better Dalton. I am much older than he is, but he inspires me beyond words as an overcomer and a hard worker. I can’t wait for him to win X Factor,” she said.