Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Building on legacy of veterans is sound advice, industry experts say

Published:Wednesday | February 13, 2019 | 12:17 AM
Bounty Killer performing as Rodney Pryce at Rebel Salute.
Beenie Man
Dennis Brown

At the ceremony to mark the start of Reggae Month 2019, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Olivia Grange urged up-and-coming artistes to build on the legacy of veterans and noted that there are still lessons to be learnt from how foundation musicians made their mark on the entertainment scene.

“Generations change, and we know the inevitability that comes with that, but we can build on what has been done over the past 50 years since reggae music was started,” she said while encouraging young talents to focus on creating music that transcends time.

“I must appeal to our young people to place special emphasis on creating music at a standard that will last and that will keep the legacy of Dennis Brown and countless others going forever,” she said.

Describing the minister’s statements as “sound advice”, industry experts, too, are encouraging young talents to delve deeper into the success of veteran musicians, as the key to their own success may be hidden in their ‘blueprints’. In an interview with The Gleaner, television producer and recording artiste Sanjay Ramanand recalled how one deejay followed the footprints of veterans as he charted his own course in the entertainment sphere.

“I think that [the Minister’s advice] is very good advice. There are always lessons to be learnt from your predecessors, especially as a young artiste in the music business. I remember when Kartel just started out. We were all at the studio one day, and he said something that I’ve always remembered. Him say, ‘Me ago use Bounty Killer image and Beenie Man personality and win dem’, and that’s exactly what he’s done. He’s used Beenie Man’s need for controversy and Bounty Killer’s persona, and him win with that combination, and some artistes are taking that same approach even now,” he explained. “Vybz Kartel was the lyrical artiste, and you had Mavado, who was the melodic artiste, and now, you have a whole ­generation of artistes who are both melodic and lyrical because dem watch what both Kartel and Mavado did and found a way to make both artistes’ styles work for them.”

Talent manager Carlene Samuels echoed Ramanand’s statements. However, she took her advice a bit further by encouraging young talents to pay particular ­attention to the mistakes made by these veterans, pointing out that identifying what they did wrong is just as important as observing what they did right.


“I also want to add that young artistes should look at mistakes made by veterans. Look at what they did wrong, what they did not do, or did not do well, and figure out why you would want to follow this one, and not that one. Examine everything; their approach to the business and the personality they presented to the public,” she said. “Just by looking at what they did, you will see that you may need to change your style, or that you need to approach certain markets in a particular way. There’s always a lot to learn from veterans, especially the ones who are still going strong. You want to learn from them how to be in this thing for the long haul.”

She went on to say that for aspiring artistes trying to figure out what they want their musical legacy to be, a look into how the veterans manoeuvred the music space may provide the answers they need. “It’s like people always say, if you want to know (and secure) your future, you have to know your past. Some artistes back then didn’t want to pursue certain markets. Examine why they didn’t, and then figure out if those markets are areas you now want to pursue, “she said. “It is important that you think about what legacy you want to leave as an artiste, and you might find the answers while you are taking notes from these veterans.”