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International producers ‘Show Off’ with authentic production

Published:Thursday | June 21, 2018 | 12:00 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Rogen ‘Ruption’ Walker of RD Studios on set with Samantha J in Fletcher's Land.
Samantha J (centre) on set with backup dancers Khadijah Anderson (left) and her sister Tahirah.
From left: Stadic, Shenseea and Jonny Blaze.
Rogen ‘Ruption’ Walker of RD Studios on set with Shenseea.

For decades, the island has been attracting producers from overseas, and continues to position itself as the entertainment hub of the Caribbean. Billboard-charting producer Johnny Blaze, and Stadic (recognised for his contributions to the soca genre, creating hits with the likes of Bunji Garlin, Fayann Lyons and Machel Montano), decided to break new ground with the authenticity of their videos.

Stadic, who has also previously worked with Vybz Kartel, Busy Signal and RDX, told The Gleaner that he is constantly on a mission to take the Caribbean rhythm globally - while religiously pushing Caribbean music to be played on any radio station or playlist, in any country, at any party, and not be confined by a specific show or segment.

According to Jonny Blaze, the love that the two of them have for Caribbean music and culture has resulted in them branching out into reggae and dancehall, but the objective is to have the productions with Jamaican artistes labelled as 'world music'.

"The majority of our projects stay true to Caribbean roots and rhythms. However, with a global twist and appeal, where it becomes less about genre conformation, and more about feel of the music that can be appreciated by everyone the world over," he said.

The duo recently visited the island to conduct a mini tour for the single that features Trinidad-based male vocalist Azaryah, fresh off his Love Life collaboration with Major Lazer, and two of Jamaica's radical female artistes Samantha J and Shenseea, titled Show Off.

"On completion of the melodic infectious hook, we all felt the perfect complement would be to pair Azaryah with some of the freshest, most talented, female artistes from Ja to complete the sexy island-vibes sound the project carries so boldly. Shenseea and Samantha J were a perfect fit," he added.

The highlights for the single is not only the dancehall stylings of the women, but also on the message of empowerment from start to finish, as it speaks about women taking control on the dance floor.


Authentic backdrop


The Show Off tour had to incorporate the music video shoot for which the producers wanted an organic feel - people interacting over a game of ludo, children playing in the street, dancers, loud fashion and zinc fences - the typical scene that most industry professionals from across the waters have of our musical culture.

Although Azaryah was unable to make the trip, it did not avert the shoot from happening as Samantha J was only visiting home for one week, and Shenseea was preparing to leave the island to perform at the BET Freestyle Friday show. With any luck, he will get proportional scenes done in the twin islands to collaborate with those captured earlier this week in the community of Fletcher's Land, downtown Kingston, by local director Rogen 'Ruption' Walker of RD Studios.

"It's all about finding the right setting to match the sound every time, and the location truly captured the concept of Show Off; the people are naturally confident and energetic and the vibrant colours also enhanced the entire shoot," said Ruption.

Jonny Blaze added, "With the rich textures, realness and rawness of an authentic backdrop in the inner city, we want this release to be treated as a piece of art - from the musical to the visual experience."

The producer says there are definitely other elements around the island that can easily represent the reggae and dancehall vibrations, having so many beaches and rivers as an option, which was the original idea, but nothing beats interacting with people inside their homes. He also added that music lovers can look out for other upcoming productions with the likes of Konshens, Vershon, Jah Cure and RDX that will incorporate even more of the island's surroundings.