The pop duo Will N’ Ray was named the best music act at this year’s second annual FusionFest, for a performance with special guest Matt Duarte that netted the trio a $1,000 prize from the multicultural festival’s panel of keen-eared music judges. And appropriately enough, the contest entry that won the duo-turned-trio the top spot was a rendition of “My Colors,” an original composition by the three men that had already been adopted as the official theme song of FusionFest’s return to downtown Orlando November 30 and December 1.
A breezy number with roots in Bossa Nova, soul and R&B, “My Colors” features an uplifting lyric that fleshes out the festival’s credo of “I can be me here.” The song pays tribute to the melting pot of cultures that is Orlando, and to the spirit of friendship and diversity upon which FusionFest is based.
The winning performance of the number featured Ramsey Clark (“Ray”) on lead vocals, Will Nacar on bass and vocals, and Duarte on acoustic guitar. At the festival’s closing-night awards ceremony, Clark and Duarte presented
another, extended version of the tune, this time with the event’s Diversitastic Choir adding choral backup and holding up placards displaying the lyrics so the audience could join in.
It was a fitting capper to the second annual festival, which attracted approximately 15,000 people to downtown to celebrate the music, dance, food, fashion and other creative customs of more than 100 local heritage communities. The purpose of FusionFest is to spotlight the common bonds between those communities and the new collaborations they can forge. Aptly, this year’s music winners are something of an international organization themselves: Duarte and Nacar are both Brazilian-born transplants to Orlando, while Clark is Panamanian on his mother’s side and Texan on his father’s.
“I feel like FusionFest is becoming a tradition for many communities in Orlando,” Duarte says. “I can tell some people were looking forward to it the whole year and that I’ll see them again in 2020.”
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