More Unity, Live Shows Among 2017 Vision
The year 2016 was a year filled with highs and lows in the music industry, which saw Jamaican music making a glorious return to international charts courtesy of both local and international artistes. We also saw Reggae Sumfest reaping success despite a change in its usual format, while Dream Weekend continues to be one of the biggest parties locally, with promoters struggling to manage the huge traffic from patrons.
The year also saw what some are calling the demise of Sting locally, the organisers - Supreme Promotions - now opting to make the event into a franchise, which will see the show being held in several countries outside of Jamaica under the banner One World Sting, starting in 2017.
The year also saw the passing of legendary rocksteady artiste Cecil Bustamente Campbell OD, more popularly known as Prince Buster.
With 2016 now behind us, one cannot predict what 2017 will bring to the beloved music industry. However, some of the industry's protagonists gave The Sunday Gleaner some insight into their vision for 2017.
Reggae artiste Chuck Fenda is still not over Sting's recent cancellation, and he begged for a return of staple events that were once consistent on the music industry calendar.
"I don't even like how the music a run. So number one, we need to pull together because we are divided, and a one set a man a push one a set a man. We want more unity, and then we have to have a vision because without a vision and a plan, we cannot go forward. When you see something like Sting cancel, that is not good. As an artiste, when you go to Sting and perform, the entire world talk about you, especially if you did well," he said.
The veteran also hopes recording artistes will put the welfare of the music industry above their own egos in 2017, especially since some high-riding acts have appeared to turn their backs on the island.
"Artiste who a talk bout dem nah perform a Jamaica. You must know that Sting is bigger than the promoters, and a Jamaica all of this start. So you can't leave out Jamaica. We also want the music to be played balanced. Dancehall and reggae should be getting equal play, and we want back our signature shows like Follow The Arrow, Sting, St Mary Wi Come From, and Island Explosion," he said.
Chuck Fenda also said that the industry needs to introduce new artistes in 2017 for its own survival.
For dancehall artiste Danielle D.I., she hopes that 2017 will bring more unity among industry players instead of the formation of semi-violent cliques.
"I want a peaceful industry, and I want to see us as artistes making huge international strides. I want to see the big history makers and money makers internationally ... those calibre of artistes joining forces with us for collaborations, and I definitely want to be a part of that in 2017," said the former Sly and Robbie protegeÈ.
Popular publicist Keona Williams is hoping to see growth in the few young acts that made their debut in 2016. According to Williams, fresh acts should, by 2017, be able to deliver better live performances.
"We need to see leaders of the next generation prove that Jamaican music is still alive and will live on. With more performing artistes with genuine hit records, this will open doors for more shows. People will want to see their favorite artistes perform, and that will create a resurgence in the live-music industry. This will create more income for performers, promoters, bands, engineers, vendors, and subsequently, the media that covers as there will be more content," she said.
With the most obvious burning issue appearing to be the death of local shows, promoter-record label owner Patrick Roberts told The Sunday Gleaner that he wanted to see recording artistes attending educational symposiums in 2017. According Roberts, artistes are making decisions that are detrimental to the sustainability of the music industry due to ignorance and oversight.
Highlighting the fact that the music industry is now performance driven with the absence of record sales, Roberts questioned the logic behind the refusal of several acts to perform at local shows.
"For 2017, artistes need to understand that there is an economic crunch. Our signature shows have crumbled, therefore, you have to look at your pricing because if you outprice the promoter, then the show can't keep. Records are not selling like 20 years ago, so since we now depend on performances, how can you kill local shows? If you kill the shows, you are killing what is left of the industry," said Roberts, who is also hoping to play his part by relaunching Shocking Vibes in 2017.