A Lawless Cham set free with new album
Recording artiste Cham is finally free of his Atlantic Records contract, and is already set to release a new album, titled Lawless.
The album was produced by his long-time musical partner, Dave Kelly, and according to Cham, the project was delayed due to label woes.
"Mad House wanted to release the album in 2016, but we were not ready as yet, so there is no way we could have put it out. We were locked in a record deal and after the success of Ghetto Story, my A&R (Artiste and repertoire) passed away and things turned sour, because my new A&R wanted to go in a direction that I did not want to go. You have to allow artistes to create without interfering with their creativity and that was a constant issue. So for years we were fighting and now finally we are off the label," Cham said.
The veteran further disclosed that even after he was freed from the contract, he was still reluctant to release a full-fledged project, since major labels have a way of sneaking their way into the pockets of artistes.
"It took some time for us to fine-tune after leaving the label, before we were able to release this album, because you never know what they have up their sleeves," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
But can Cham and Dave Kelly recreate the success of Ghetto Story without the backing of a major label? After all, there aren't too many successful independent record labels to think of.
Ready to work
Cham, however, doesn't seem fazed by the task ahead, as he feels his experience and good reputation will work in his favour.
"I am never worried about selling less records or not. It's all about your team, and you will notice that there are a lot of artistes signed to major labels who are not selling. Labels don't really know what to do with reggae and dancehall, and so, to have international success, it relies on your teamwork. Atlantic did not even want to use Ghetto Story as the lead single, they wanted to use Boom Boom with Rihanna..., but we took a risk and came out greater," he said.
Lawless features Michael Rose, Bounty Killer, Mavado and Junior Gong among other Jamaica-born international stars. Cham also pointed out that his choice of collaborations is not an indication that he is unable to attract foreign acts without a deal.
"I don't miss perks of being under a major label. We booked our own flights and we had our own studio and we used to foot our own bills. We also made contacts with radio stations through appearances. Foreign acts will love your music and get in touch with you. I was under a label, but it did not mean I had to collaborate with all the artistes there. Because at the end of the day, it is about chemistry," he said.
The artiste also said he was not a fan of 360 record deals that would see him splitting the profits from his merchandise and live shows. Aside from his issues with major labels, Cham also disclosed that he has some deals on the table and will only sign if the terms are beneficial to his brand.
The album, which made its debut at number five on Billboard, is available for purchase on all online outlets and will be sold on vinyl and CDs. Cham is looking to increase promotion for the project with the release of videos for singles Money Wine and Get Drunk. He is also expected to embark on a promotional tour shortly.
- Curtis Campbell