The Quorum takes Good Times to South Florida
Good Times – the party series – dates back to March 12, 1996 when a group of friends who had been partying since university days, decided to relive the good times.
“For that first party we hand-delivered the invitations,” Jerome Hamilton, one of the members of the Quorum, the organsiers of Good Times, told the Observer in a recent interview.
First hosted at Countryside Club, the event outgrew its locale and moved to Mas Camp where it attracted an even larger audience. “What happened is that more and more young people started attending Good Times,” Hamilton explained.
After 12 successful years in Jamaica, the Quorum is now planning to take the Good Times series on an overseas trek. Hamilton pointed out, however, that both Cayman and New York have staged their own version of Good Times, independent of the Quorum.
Their first official Good Times outside the shores of Jamaica is planned for October of this year in South Florida.
“There is a concentration of Jamaicans in South Florida, and they are hungy for this kind of entertainment. This is definitely a good step in the growth of the event and it will be as authentic as possible,” Hamilton stated.
There will be real Jamaican food, bars with Jamaican liquor, screens showing old videos and of course the music of the 70s, 80s and 90s. “We have defined the music of Good Times as anything over eight years,” Jerome said.
On Saturday, fans of the event can look forward to the first Mas Camp staging of Good Times for this year and, as usual, there will be a lot of good times to celebrate.
Source: Jamaica Observer
“Tuff Tourism” Marley Plant to Reorganized into a Tour Facilty
Tuff Gong International Limited is being reorganised, regenerated and refurbished so that it will become more efficient and better serve the tourism industry by next January.
To accommodate the process the vinyl manufacturing and stamper sections at the Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston, plant were closed for refurbishment on May 7 and will reopen in January. However, the Tuff Gong Recording Studio, Duplicating Department and Record Shop are open for business, but those areas will also be refurbished and expanded during the summer months.
The facility is not an official tourist attraction, but Mitzy Evans, general manager of Tuff Gong International Limited, says the company has many visitors.
“We get a lot of visitors from Europe and Japan. They are interested in the vinyl industry. Sometimes we have three tours with 15 to 20 people each week. Schools also come here for tours,” said Evans.
She added: “The vinyl business is very low, so we have to change the concept somewhat so it will be geared towards tourism. We need to regenerate the business to operate in the 21st century.”
Evans said fewer vinyls will be manufactured, because there are not many buyers for the audio recording medium. She also noted that the facility will be refurbished.
Magalie Billod, who has the life-threatening disease muscular dystrophy, was granted one wish by the Make A Wish Foundation, to visit the home of her musical icon, Bob Marley. Billod, who is from Switzerland, visited the Tuff Gong studios last April with her family. Many persons visit the facility each year.- Contributed
because many of the machines are as old as the 27-year-old company. Thus, newer and more efficient machines will be employed to help to reduce the company’s costs.
She says when the refurbishing work is complete the old machines will be used as part of the company tour to show visitors how vinyls are manufactured.
Evans says there will also be about six tour guides for the hour-and-a-half tour of the compound. The visitors will also go to a screening room where they can view a 20-minute documentary. As part of the package they can record their own songs or sing on a Bob Marley track, which can be put on a CD or vinyl. They will also be able to purchase CDs, vinyls and Tuff Gong clothing and memorabilia, as well as sip Bob Marley’s favourite juices from the juice bar.
In addition, Evans says, “We will tie in tours with the Bob Marley museum so that it will be one package.
“Tuff Gong studio will still be open because it is still a working factory, but it is really geared towards the Marley brand,” stressed Evans.
a Bob Marley experience
She says the visit to the facility will be a unique experience. “It will be a Bob Marley experience,” she said.
While stressing that the Marley family is committed to the development of a new concept to modernise the facility in order to perpetuate the legacy of Bob Marley and the Marley brand, Evans said “It will be costly for the Marleys to do, but they are very dedicated to it.”
In order to ensure that the venture is a success, Evans says they have started an extensive marketing programme to all major hotels, tour companies and cruise lines.
Source: Jamaica Gleaner
Kassav to Perform at St. Kitts Music Festival
Kassav, the leading band to emerge from the formative years of Zouk music, will be among the premier acts performing at the 12th Annual St. Kitts Music Festival, which will take place from June 26-28, 2008.
Kassav was formed in 1979 by Pierre-Edouard Décimus, a long-time professional musician. Working with Freddy Marshall, the two decided to take popular Carnival music and give it a more modern and polished style with a pan-Caribbean sound combining elements of komba, salsa and calypso music. The group’s first album, “Love and Ka Dance” released in 1980, is widely credited with establishing the sound of zouk music. Kassav has produced more than a dozen albums during their nearly 30-year career, the most recent being “All You Need is Zouk,” released in 2007.
“We are extremely pleased to welcome Kassav to the St. Kitts Music Festival for the first time,” said Senator Ricky Skerritt, Minister of State in the Ministry of Tourism, Sports & Culture. “These legendary zouk musicians are an excellent addition to the line-up of performing artists for our Music Festival, which is widely recognized for showcasing a mix of musical styles while reflecting a uniquely Caribbean flavor. I am certain that the members of Kassav will discover a warm, welcoming destination and an event where people from across the globe are brought together in a community-like atmosphere by a shared love of music.”
Minister Skerritt said that additional musical acts will be announced in the coming weeks. Now in its 12th year, the St Kitts festival attracts both locals and visitors alike. It features various musical styles on the popular market, including R&B, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Gospel and Contemporary music. Past artists have included such prominent acts as Michael Bolton, Wyclef Jean, Ne-Yo, Air Supply, Dionne Warwick, Kenny Rogers, Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, Ashanti, Shaggy, Eve, Bobby Caldwell, DMX, Hugh Masekala, Xtatik, the Temptations, Chaka Khan, Maxi Priest, Ronald “Boo” Hinkson and Busta Rhymes.
New non-stop service to St. Kitts from JFK on American Airlines began November 18, 2007 and Delta Air Lines began non-stop Saturday flights to the island from Atlanta on February 16, 2008. These flights compliment existing non-stop service from Miami on American and from Charlotte on US Airways as well as connecting service via San Juan on American Eagle.
Located in the northern Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, St. Kitts offers a diverse tourism product developed from the destination’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and rich history. The island’s stunning variety of tourism attractions include hiking through the tropical rainforest, riding the scenic railway that connects the island’s sugar plantations, touring Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, the only man-made UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Eastern Caribbean, and the more traditional vacation pastimes such as watersports, golf, shopping, tennis, gourmet dining, gaming at one of St. Kitts’ two casinos or simply relaxing on one of the island’s sandy beaches. Guests can select from accommodations ranging from intimate plantation inns to larger hotels or resorts.
The official beer of the Festival is Carib Beer and Steve Laplace, Brand Manager for Carib Brewery’s stated, “Carib has always been involved with the staging of the Music Festival from inception. In fact we have been practicing over the years because we have been sponsoring all of the village festivals in St. Kitts and Nevis.” Allister Williams gratefully accepted the pledges of support from the companies.
These companies now join the ranks of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Marriot Resort, Frank B Armstrong, American Airlines, National Bank, Social Security and Platinum Premium Partner, bMobile as official sponsors of the St. Kitts Music Festivals twelfth outing.
A Reggae Uprising Hits New York City
While the new generation of Dancehall artists struggle to maintain mainstream success, Friends for Life Promotions, in association with Solar Entertainment, sets out to celebrate the classic rhythms of Roots Reggae that has infatuated pop culture audiences from around the world for the past thirty-plus years. REGGAE UPRISING, to make its debut at New York City’s prestigious Hammerstein Ballroom on July 26th, is ‘taking Reggae back to the foundation’ with a Rootsy lineup that includes headliners Morgan Heritage, and Richie Spice, while also celebrating the genres cross-cultural appeal with Reggae’s Rock & Roll songbird Tessanne Chin, and Rhythm & Bluesy ladies man Gyptian. More acts to be announced.
By ‘taking Reggae back to the foundation,’ promoters Donovan Johnson and Linval “Isis” Osbourne of Friends for Life have set out to provide a platform to revitalize Reggae music’s traditional uplifting messages and one-drop driven rifts, as opposed to the computerized rhythms and in-your-face character of Dancehall music for which it is often confused with.
“I come from Trenchtown; I lived on the same block with Bob Marley. I grew up in Roots Reggae,” states Friends for Life’s Linval “Isis” Osbourne, a popular Jamaican entertainment figure who has worked on a host Caribbean festivals and toured with Reggae artists like Barrington Levy, Mykal Rose, Alpha Blondy, and Mutabaruka over the past twenty-five years. “Friends for Life is promoting Reggae, because it is Reggae that has really captured the people. From touring California to Montana to Vermont and various other places all over the United States I have seen the impact that Reggae has on people of all colors and cultures.”
The history of Reggae music in mainstream culture goes back before the music was even called Reggae. In 1964, Jamaican singer Millie Small hit the top of the Pop charts in Great Britain, Ireland, and America with her Ska-flavored cover of “My Boy Lollipop.” A few years later, Jamaica’s Desmond Dekker topped American and European charts with Ska hits “Isralites,” and “007 (Shanty Town).” In the 1970’s Osbourne’s friend and neighbor Bob Marley became an International icon, cementing the relatively unknown “Reggae” into a worldwide musical phenomenon, introducing Reggae to other forms of music like Rock & Roll, Punk Rock, and Country music. In 1984 Reggae became one of only two non-American musical genre’s recognized by the America’s National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciencesthe Grammy Awardsfour years before the Academy recognized American Hip Hop. Time Magazine named Marley’s 1977 Exodus “Album of the Century” and named the singer’s “One Love” as the “Song Century” at the end of the 20th Century. Most recently the Church of England (Anglican Church) in Jamaica, revised their official hymnals to include the songs by Marley and fellow Reggae legend Peter Tosh.
“Like Bob used to say, ‘We come to free the people with music,’” states Osbourne. “That is what why we are calling this production, Reggae Uprising. Reggae music has always uplifted and influenced people all over the world. So Friends for Life decided that for our first production, we are going to uplift the people of New York Cityone of America’s biggest musical and cultural melting potsby bringing taking them back to the foundation and giving them an evening full of Roots Rockin’ Reggae. It is also a celebration of the Earthstrong (birthday) of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I.”
Source: Tropical Fete.com
Fareinheit Ready to “Hit ‘Em” with his New Single
“Hit ‘Em” is an old fashioned jeep-beat that marries dancehall melodies to a bone-crunching hip-hop drum track. Crafted by by Grammy-nominated producer and remixer Josh One of Nappy Roots fame, “Hit ‘Em” is a sure-fire club and radio hit. As dancehall soul’s resident Romeo, Farenheit serenades the ladies, while reggae-dancehall icon Sean Paul eggs him on and parties it up on the tasty hook. Making his debut on “Hit ‘Em” is Sean’s brother and co-writer Jigzagula, who splits a wickedly tight eight bars to wrap up the package.
Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Farenheit has been performing and recording music around the world for over a decade. HIs unique blend of styles has been dubbed dancehall soul and he has been featured on the front page of Billboard, in Vibe, at Midem and on MySpace. In his role as backup singer and hype man for international superstar Sean Paul, Farenheit has performed in front of millions of people worldwide, and appeared on numerous television programmes, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Late Show with David Letterman, and Jimmy Kimmel Live! Recent projects include a successful west coast solo tour and tracks with reggae superstar Sizzla and up-and-coming urban sensation Jeanie Ortega.
“Hit ‘Em” is being offered as a digital single on all major digital retailers worldwide, and will be available to DSPs through Ryko Distribution.
Visit: www.myspace.com/farenheitmusic for updates.
Source: Rebel Mix
Kenyatta Hill: The Legacy and “Culture” Lives on
Son of reggae icon, Joseph “Culture” Hill, Kenyatta Hill, has declared a commitment to carrying on the legacy of his father’s work in reggae music. The studio engineer turned singer says that his father’s message must be communicated to people, and he is the messenger intent on a successful delivery. Though speaking the words of the one who has taught him all these years, Kenyatta has demonstrated dexterity in his talent, and has established himself as an artiste in his own right.
Without prior experience as a singer, Kenyatta has illustrated that he can indeed deliver harmonious melodies to the delight of fans. His album, “Pass the Torch,” comprises of a few songs started by Culture as well as a number of his own compositions including his first solo “Daddy.” In this way he is proving that though he is taking on his father’s flame, he has a fire, and purpose, of his own. Whilst he had never envisioned a career as a singer prior to his father’s passing, the young artiste has captured the lead role in the band “Culture” and executed the confirmed tours exceptionally.
Even while he champions his family legacy, he gathers his motivation from popular reggae artistes such as Taurus Riley, Dean Fraser and Sly and Robbie, and also from his mother. “The thought of the struggle,” he admits, is the ink with which his words are written, his inspiration stemming from the struggle faced by the large numbers of persons that are dying and the actions being taken to address the problem. While not considering himself a visionary, he states that he is influenced by what goes on in the world, and he does his best to convey his feelings in his lyrical content.
It was a difficult decision to step up to the microphone and perform. Though he was scared, in that poignant moment he discovered his hidden talent. Kenyatta relates that he doesn’t find it hard now. He believes that his lyrical gift was locked away, within, waiting to be released.
The engineer now turned singer still sees himself as more engineer than a singer, and wishes to be remembered as “just another man, in this world, who is carrying on the work of a great man.”
As with his namesake, Jomo Kenyatta, the first Prime Minister of Kenya, Kenyatta “Culture” Hill has displayed an admirable amount of courage and leadership, and is also, without a doubt an artiste in his own right.
Source: Headline Entertainment
“Silence Me”from Philip 7
Philip 7 of the band Masala has become a household name in his native Barbados. His first solo single “Beautiful Surprise” has become the wedding anthem for many and propelled Philip to stardom. The song earned him the 2008 Barbados Music Award for Best Rock/Alternative Artiste and continues to receive heavy rotation on local, regional and international airwaves.
He has teamed up once again with internationally acclaimed producer Derek Brin and songwriter Rupert Gayle to create his latest single “Silence Me”.
This new track which is laced with eerie piano melodies, interesting synthesizer and drum patterns, also contains an influence of hip-hop and is positioned for mass global appeal.
Co-written by Derek, Rupert and Philip himself, “Silence Me” is a departure from the upbeat lyrics and tone of “Beautiful Surprise”, but displays the versatility and range of Philip as a singer.
To listen to “Silence Me”, and for all the latest news on Philip 7 and Masala, visit www.pyramidartists.com
Source: Pyramid Entertainmen
Shermain Jeremy: Beauty With a Purpose
A native of Perham, Antigua, Shermain Jeremy has been on the music scene since she was 12 or 13 years old. Currently her hit single with “Addy the teacha” has been burning up the airwaves both locally and internationally. With such a strong personality coupled with her self-confident motivation and pride there is no doubt that Shermain will attain her dream in copping international success. We had a chance to talk with this rising star and this is what she said:
HE: How would you describe your music?
SJ: Ahm…its a combination of the music that influences me. It’s mostly a mix of R&B/Pop with a Caribbean flavour.
HE:How is the reception in Jamaica versus Barbados?
SJ: That’s real difficult to compare. I mean, Antigua has watched me grown from a little girl to me singing professionally now. It would be a little more difficult and different in Jamaica because they are just being given the opportunity to know me and know what Shermain is all about.
HE: What led you to come to Jamaica?
SJ: I have always wanted to come to Jamaica. However, I never knew of anyone who could have given me that introduction and I didn’t want to come empty-handed without having any channels of which to go through. Then, I met this girl in California at the World Championships and she helped me with promotions and otherwise in Jamaica so that I was able to make that big step. Worldwide, Jamaica is known as the music mecca of the Caribbean so I thought that it was imperative to establish myself there.
HE: What artistes have you worked with so far?
SJ: For now, just Kartel who is featured on the first single. To tell the truth, I don’t have access to that many artistes (hint of disappointment). I am looking forward to working with other artistes.(gleefully). I’m currently going to collaborate with international hip-hop artiste. I won’t say anything further because I don’t want to spoil the surprise. (laughs).
HE: What’s next for Shermain?
SJ: I’m currently in the mixing stage for my album. I will be shooting another video in Antigua soon and next month (sounding very enthusiastic) I will be opening the show for Keyshia Cole at the music festival in Antigua. However, I’m currently trying to figure out what my next single is going to be.
HE:What’s the inspiration behind your music?
SJ: Honestly it was whatever felt right at the moment, or the place that I’m in at the moment. My album is called “My style, My way” and I think that it will be a breath of fresh air for the industry.
HE:Have you ever felt insecure while performing?
SJ: Ahh…I wouldn’t say insecure, I’ve been very nervous though. I performed at the Asylum Night Club the other night and that was interesting (laughs). Each performance enables me to understand and interact with my audience even better. Insecure…no, but nervous, yes.
HE: What do you enjoy the most, singing or performing?
SJ: Definitely the performance. I like writing and recording and hearing the end product but that thing that gives me satisfaction is to hear the feedback from the audience. I like to cater to the emotions of people. It’s a lot more exciting.
HE: Which artistes would you like to collaborate with?
SJ: In Antigua I would like to work with these soca divas. Claudette and Tizzy. In Jamaica, I would like to work with Sean Paul, Serani, Beenie Man and Mavado. On the international level it would be Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, Timbaland as a producer as well as a down south artiste. I would love to see how that turns out!
HE:What countries have you performed in: How has the reception been?
SJ: I haven’t performed in that many countries. For the past two years I have been career focused. I will be back in Jamaica soon for a Father’s Day show. I’m just getting ready to get back in the groove of things. However, I performed in a number of countries: China, St, Vincent, Bahamas and California.
HE: What’s the predominant message behind most of your songs?
SJ: Most cover the themes of love. That’s what R&B music is all about…loveHeadline Exclusive and heartbreak. I tie in the Caribbean feel with most of my songs to show people our Caribbean identity. In hopes of attaining international stardom Shermain remains true to herself. She is encouraging young upcoming female entertainers to keep shooting for their dreams. “Focus and do what you want. Don’t let anything stop your dreams.” Look out for her new album, “My style, My way.”
Trinidad & Tobago celebrates first annual fashion week
The islands of Trinidad & Tobago have announced their first annual Fashion Week Trinidad & Tobago (FWTT) scheduled to unveil May 26 – 31, 2008 in Adam Smith Square. Top local and Caribbean designers will participate in daily runway shows featuring their work under various themes.
Spearheaded by Dianne Hunt, developer of Radical Designs, and sponsored in part by the Tourism Development Company Limited of Trinidad & Tobago (TDC), FWTT is an event targeted at promoting the fashion identity of the entire region while helping to put existing and new and aspiring talent on display.
Labeled with the tagline, “Keeping the Fashion Industry Alive in T&T,” the event’s themed programs under which designers will present their collections include, “Premier Vision”, “Conscious Fashion”, “Fresh” and “Caribbean Allies” which will feature designers from Antigua, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts, St Lucia and St Vincent.
There will also be a showcasing of collections from “The Icons,” – top Caribbean designers such as Sonia Mack, Peter Elias, Meiling, Claudia Pegus, Heather Jones and Francis Hendy, who have received distinctive and acclaimed recognition in the fashion industry.
“Trinidad & Tobago has so much to offer outside of sun, sand and sea. It is our fashion, culture, music, and food that make us who we are. Our hope is that the established and up and coming fashion designers participating in this show will attract buyers and fashion media from around the world and generate buzz in the industry,” says Jason Baptiste, TDC marketing manager.
FWTT was created to include all aspects of the fashion industry ranging from hair stylists, make-up artists, models and photographers to cosmetic producers and accessory manufactures. The event will also include musical performances, art displays and a showcase of past prize-winning Carnival costumes.
Source: Caribbean Beat News
Producers K-Salaam & Beatnick to Release Concept Album
Producers K-Salaam & Beatnick will release their forthcoming album, Whose World Is This?, with VP Records on July 29th, 2008. K-Salaam and Beatnick pose this thought-provoking question “Whose World Is This?” to an A-list selection of some of the world’s most prominent hip hop, reggae and spoken word artists. Using K-Salaam & Beatnick’s music as the vehicle, Trey Songz, Young Buck, Sizzla, Buju Banton, Dead Prez and Talib Kweli among others, rose to the challenge and used their music and message to formulate their answer. The album forms a cohesive musical dialog across cultures, genres and life experiences. As told by K-Salaam: “This is an album created to inspire change for the global community. Its message is one of revolution.”
Addressing politics, poetics and peace, the musical forum explores a variety of solutions and topics to Whose World Is This?. On “To the Rescue,” Papoose and Busy Signal propose to take militant action immediately as Papoose fervently delivers in the first verse: “Protect our own world and we can be ok, cause every time one of our leaders gets blown away, we lose faith and all our people go astray. We got to take it!” On the other hand, reggae luminary Sizzla offers a very poetic reply searching for religious truth and escape on “Sail On,” while Trey Songz and Buju Banton call for peace on “Street Life” insisting “Gangster, you don’t have to bust your guns tonight. Those days are over. You don’t have to run into the street life.”
Finding his voice at an early age through the language of cuts and blends, Iranian born K-Salaam describes the birth of this project: “I went into this thinking that I wanted to make a great album with some of my favorite artists, so I wrote down the names of 15 artists I wanted to work with and 13 ended up on the album!” The producer embarked on a quest- literally going door-to-door, studio-to-studio-to convince each artist to record for him. He even traveled to Jamaica to find some his favorite reggae stars Capleton, Sizzla and Luciano. Recalling their first encounter, reggae legend Buju Banton jokes, “K-Salaam came as close as a mustard seed to getting killed.” K-Salaam boldly cold-called Buju Banton while he was in New York and despite the possible imposition Buju invited him to record the same day. K-Salaam’s search for Sizzla was just as colorful. K recalls, “I went to Jamaica to just seek him out. When I landed, it turned out he wasn’t even on the island but luckily I had my boombox with me, so I played a few tracks for his people and left a beat CD. Eventually he heard my tracks, reached out to me and that was that!”
Like Buju Banton and Sizzla, nearly all of the artists he approached agreed to participate immediately after listening to the music. Stic Man from Dead Prez states: “It was a no brainer for me…It is good music, good vibe, for a good reason. K-Salaam and Beatnick are very talented and they stand for something substantive. We believe in the solidarity of oppressed people, black, brown, all the way around.” Despite no industry connections prior to starting, the music and concept swayed the who’s-who of artists. As Scratch Magazine notes, “for a no-name producer to have won over so many high-profile artists, his skills must have really stood out.” K adds, “revolution is started by individuals but can only be won by armies, that’s why I felt the need to ally myself with like-minded artists.”
“Our new album is incredibly varied, but our music is the glue that keeps it all together. Whether reggae, hip-hop or spoken word, everyone sounds like they belong on it. Hip-hop and reggae are like distant cousins. They all speak the same language, they just have different accents,” concludes K-Salaam.
Cristy Barber – The Journey Home
Cristy BarberSuper Cat became like a mentor to her and helped her to get a position at Columbia Records as a Publicist. Her sixteen years in the industry have earned Cristy the reputation of being one of the most successful executives in the reggae and urban music markets. Cristy cites the greatest lesson she has learned in her career is, “To stay close to the talent because the talent will carry you through your career. I’ve always been known to be more of an artist that that an executive. I look at them more as human beings and consider them to be friends and family. I look at putting out their records as a source of income. It is how they take care of their families and pay their bills, so I take that personal responsibility in everything that I A&R, market and promote.”
“That has always worked for me,” she said, being close to the artists. Most of the label gigs that I’ve gotten were through the talent…by being referred from the actual artist. Without the talent we don’t have a job as executives so it is…crucial to respect the artist you’re trying to promote.” Her hands on philosophy has served her well as she has signed, produced and marketing more than twenty=five artists. She has held key marketing and promotion positions and has called Tuff Gong/ Ghetto Youths International, Elektra Entertainment, Island Records and Columbia Records home. In January Cristy returned to VP Records, a former label home, after accepting the position of Vice-President of Marketing and Promotions for VP Records. She was the Director of A&R for the imprint from 1998 to 2000. Randy Chin, President of VP Records, stated, “We are thrilled to have Cristy join the VP Records family. Her extensive knowledge of reggae and heartfelt passion for the music mixed with her experience working at Tuff Gong and other major record companies offers VP the right blend to keep VP as the leader in the genre. Her addition completes what is the best management team in reggae today.”
Cristy describes her return to VP Records as coming back to a familiar place like returning home. She developed a relationship with the Chin family early in her career as a publicist for Spragga Benz and continued her career. “Things are a lot different,” Cristy admits, “nine years ago there were only two A&Rs and there were only three guys in the Marketing department. So at that time there were only five of us, now the has quadrupled,” Having worked for large and small record labels over her extensive career, Cristy is well aware of the benefits and challenges that come with running a department for both. Cristy stated she prefers working for a small company such as VP Records that provides a family environment as well as forces you to think outside of the box and challenge you to stretch yourself as an executive.
Her homecoming came on the heels of an exciting acquisition at VP Records; VP Records purchased Greensleeves Records. The acquisition came with speculation from some industry insiders that VP would now have created a monopoly. During our interview Cristy set the record straight. “What people need to understand is it was going to go into foreclosure. The bank was going to take control of Greensleeves Records and VP took a gamble by doing this deal. In this temperature where the music industry is right now, labels aren’t buying labels. I just think to protect the genre; where better does it belong than VP Records? At least at VP Records you know that there are experts here and people who care about that music and the future of the genre of that music.” Cristy doesn’t see the purchasing of Greensleeves Records as a creation of a monopoly. She cited that there are plenty of record labels that are doing reggae music especially in Europe and that the legacy that Greensleeves Records built will be protected and continue to go on at VP Records.
Throughout her career Cristy has been present to see globalization of reggae/dancehall music, but is America ready to fully embrace the genre? Her answer to that question is, “We’ve proven that this genre is a mighty genre and it should be dealt with. We’ve proven our place in the music industry as a whole. When you go outside of America and into every other country in the world reggae is the most popular genre over any other genre. Reggae music is (the) most popular worldwide. So at any given time it can happen.” Cristy is happy to have given sixteen years to this genre of music and to have watched its growth so far. She is aware of the current state of music today with sagging CD sales and lack of solid albums. Its is her mission to make sure that reggae/ dancehall music continues to be a major player in the new digital market by educating itself to the current needs of the consumer. She knows there is still a want for music as long as the records being produced are solid and innovative.
Cristy would love to see reggae music number one on all billboard charts in the next five years. Her dedication and perseverance have helped to get the genre where it is today as well as solidify her as one of the most influential music executives in the genre. It may seem odd that a young woman from Middle America would be so comfortable working with artists and promoting a brand of music that started on a tiny island in the Caribbean, but sometimes people find their home in the unlikeliest places. “The one thing I liked when I tripped off of reggae music in the early nineties was the fact that Caribbean people are so musically eclectic,” Cristy says, “a lot of people who grew up in my generation were listening to radio stations out in Jamaica and it was all pop music and country music. They didn’t have a straight reggae radio station, I felt like I could relate to them because they were musically eclectic and accepting. Jamaican people are some of the most hard-working, creative people I’ve ever met. Their country motto is ‘Out of many, one people,’ and they just really make you feel like you are at home.”
Source: Posh Magazine
Ethiopia’s Prince Ermias visits the Bob Marley Museum
The Bob Marley Museum is pleased to announce the recent visit to 56 Hope Road, former home of Bob Marley, by His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie, President of the Crown Council of Ethiopia and grandson of His Imperial Majesty Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. His Imperial Highness was accompanied by Dr. Michael Barnett, Department of Sociology, University of the West Indies.
Mrs. Rita Marley, her staff as well as Nyabingi Drummers were on hand to welcome His Imperial Highness to the Bob Marley Museum. He was given an extensive tour of the property and also stopped by the Bob Marley Museum Gift Shop where he did some shopping before lunch. Before leaving, His Imperial Highness joined in on the drums with the Nyabingi Drummers.
His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie visited the island as part of his Ethioipian Millennium Year activities and the 60th Anniversary celebrations of the University of the West Indies and delivered a lecture on “Africa and the New Millennium.”
Source: Bob Marley Foundation