Seventeen year old Chantal Lamont aka Tash, set the bar high in the beginning of the season, and for the most part maintained her standard, until it all finally paid off!
“I feel wonderful, I feel great! Actually doing so much hard work and it paid off? Awesome!” she said moments after being announced the winner. “I can’t wait to go to Edna so that I can study the saxophone, keyboard, just all the music that I can! And hopefully in about a month, I can release a single! I want to go hard!”
Jamaicans carried Tash all season like a favourite football team, but do they really know who Tash is?!
Hailing from St. Thomas, the intriguing and eccentric Tash, raised primarily by her grandmother, is a recent graduate of the Yallahs High School. “I have graduated, yes, but them call me back, and said come back to school Monday morning, because I never got to do all of my subjects.” She said noting that she has to meet the minimum CXC subject requirements to take advantage of one of her prizes, a one year scholarship to the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts.
“I'm going back to do the science subjects, biology, chemistry, food, and hopefully I get to do music, cosmetology and clothing, because I want to do everything!” she continued excitedly.
Always singing and ready to entertain, Tash has sang with her school choir, performed at concerts, Karaoke’s and has been participating in the JCDC Festival competition since primary school with quite a few gold medals to her name. But not only is she in the business of entertaining, this active young lady is also an avid sports woman, “I play netball, do track and field, play football and dance!” she said proudly.
When she was first asked what her main goal in the competition was, she replied “To win!” and from her first performance to her very last, Tash proved that she meant it. Her first performance on stage brought out her true character, the Rising Star on the inside. She showed her competition that she was a force to be reckoned with, and that they should expect her back every week, more spectacular than the last.
Her most memorable performance, and eclectic, high energy performance of Beyonce and Lady Gaga's Telephone, blew the minds of voters and viewers alike and will definitely go down in Digicel Rising Star History as the performance that sealed the deal!
But somewhere closer to the middle of the season, Tash's performances, though still very entertaining, seemed to fall just below the very high bar she had set for herself, and the judges and viewers let her know.
“My journey has been hard, very hard, and sometimes you say, you know what, I feel like to give up, I don’t care what comes. You have negative thoughts about it sometimes, but you have good thoughts too.” she said about her minor stumble.
But Tash's faithful fans could not care less about her less than perfect performances, as they kept Tash in the competition out of sheer loyalty, hoping that with each new performance she would redeem herself.
“Mi haffi big up the voters dem who believe in me.” She said. “The vendors them downtown; let me tell you, to me the people them weh can barely afford it, a di one dem weh a vote. The rich people dem, dem doe wah spend di credit. The poor people dem, the sellers, dem people deh give you a push, they're one of my stepping stones.” she said earnestly, referring to the push she got to make her comeback in the final performance shows a success.
“And all the artiste dem weh a show me love, they gave me the push to say child you can do it, don’t even back down!” She said, referring to local artistes who made their love for Tash known during the season, mostly on the popular social networking site, Twitter. Dancehall veteran and well known local recording artiste, Wayne Marshall tweeted “If you ask me who the real star is, I gonna say TASH! I waah work with her bad!”
While Dancehall's femme fatal, Cherine Anderson tweeted “Tash is my choice... she has mad presence, and has kept Jamaica entertained for twelve weeks”
Now that she finally has the title she has worked so hard for, what’s next?
“I want to be bigger than everybody else, I want to achieve something never seen before, never heard before!” Tash said bright-eyed. Then added “By the end of next year mi supposed to have, hopefully three or more albums” noting that she is eager to work with artistes such as Taurus Riley, I-Octane, Wayne Marshall, Shaggy and hopefully, even Lady Gaga, “I love her!”
So who is Tash? “I’m confident and I'm an out-going person. And yes, I'm just 17. Just 17! Everything you see on stage, off stage, when I'm campaigning, that's Tash, that's Chantal!”
Apart from her title Digicel's 2011 Rising Star, and her scholarship to the Edna Manley College, Chantal ‘Tash’ Lamont also walks away with a cheque for $1Million, a BlackBerry smart phone, a record single and a music video.