Meet DJ Richie RAS - Xaymaca International's resident deejay
DJ Richie R.A.S., has made his name in the local space as one of the go-to deejays for bringing a 'real-good' soca vibe. Starting out like many Jamaican deejays, specialising in mixing dancehall music, he sought to expand his repertoire... and now he is a full-fledged event promoter, with a role as one of the directors of Xaymaca International.
"I used to do a lot of the popular events around town and as I progressed, I just found where I needed to define my personality, my character as a deejay. And the soca market is where I gravitated to for that," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
The decision was not to brand himself as a soca deejay, but to strengthen his brand as a Caribbean deejay, giving wider appeal for the international audience.
"That decision has been the best decision I've made," he confessed.
The deejay started his musical journey in high school.
"Like most of the guys then, I spent my time going to the record shops - it carried over into university, and from there, everything pretty much blossomed."
While matriculating, Richie became friends with Andrew Bellamy. Later on, the pair partnered to establish the hit party series, I Love Soca, and at the invitation of Bellamy, Richie joined the Xaymaca International team.
"We've been doing business together since we've been in university. As friends, we buck up in Trinidad and Barbados. Over the last five or six years, we've grown together as friends and as business partners within the market, so it was like a natural movement," Richie said.
Speaking from his own experience, Richie has some advice for other deejays who want to expand their brand to appease audiences regionally.
"Take your money, go to Trinidad, go to Barbados for Cropover. Go somewhere else and learn the culture. I'd recommend Trinidad, seeing as they are the mecca, as far as [Caribbean] carnival and soca is concerned. But you have to invest in yourself," he continued.
DJ Taj (King Taj), DJ Lantern and Dj Bloodline Franco are some next generation deejays, who Richie believes are making the necessary investments.
"Kurt Riley is also a staple, but I mention the younger guys because they have invested probably the last two or three years - and they've been making the trips. So I've seen them in Trinidad, I've seen them at Cropover. They've been putting in the efforts, and I've been seeing the results locally," the deejay told The Sunday Gleaner.