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A KC birthday for producer Donovan Germain

Published:Saturday | March 7, 2020 | 12:00 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Donovan Germain

Donovan Germain’s bio lists him as owner and producer of Penthouse records and passionate Kingston College (KC) old boy. Hailed as one of Jamaica’s leading music producers in the digital age, Germain, who has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in music, is celebrating a birthday today. When The Gleaner caught up with the still-in-demand producer to find out how he would be celebrating his special day, his answer wasn’t surprising. He will be living his best life, spending the day with students of his alma mater.

“I will be going to the stadium to support Kingston College,” the manager of KC’s football team shared with The Gleaner. However, this journey has nothing to do with football, it is actually a track-and-field event for Carifta Games trials. But, for Germain, that is irrelevant. As long as it’s KC and he’s available, he will be marked present.

“I will be at the stadium the entire weekend – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday,” he said for emphasis. “I support anything that KC does.”

Currently the co-manager for reggae and dancehall artiste, Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie, Germain is adamant that this birthday will not have anything to do with music.

The departure lounge of life

“At my age, you have to accept that you are in the departure lounge of life. If I reach the three score and 10 promised in the Bible, then I’ll have a celebration, but, apart from that, I’m just taking it easy and living life the best way I can.” Actually, that’s two years away.

In the past few weeks, however, he was seen at a few of the Reggae Month events, and for him, the month was well executed.

“I went to Reggae Wednesdays, the JaRIA awards and the Prime Minister’s reception, and they were all very good,” the veteran producer stated.

Germain, who has worked with the best of the best in reggae music, including talents such as Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths, Freddie McGregor, Buju Banton, Delroy Wilson, Tenor Saw, Mad Cobra, and many more, was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican Government in 2015, for his role in the development of the local music industry.

His early start in the music business was as a record shop owner in New York. However, Germain is credited with helping to define and popularise the genre in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

According to his bio, he began producing his own work in 1972 and soon proved that he could make lovers’ rock as well as ‘roots’ records. In 1986, he made the UK national Top 20 with Audrey Hall’s One Dance Won’t Do, the answer to Beres Hammond’s What One Dance Can Do, and enjoyed a season of hits throughout that decade. However, everything came together towards the end of the decade when he opened his own Penthouse Studio on Slipe Road in Kingston in 1987.

The quality and feel of the studio ensured that it was in constant demand for outside sessions, and many classics were recorded on the premises under the auspices of Germain and Dave ‘Rude Boy’ Kelly.