Creatives must seize the moment to write positive lyrics
It is the fervent hope of International Reggae Day (IRD) conceptualiser, Andrea Davis, that the COVID-19 pandemic will jolt the music industry into a positive change. Noting that reggae music had always been defined by its ability to inspire not just individuals, but entire movements, she made a plea for creatives to seize this as an opportunity to focus more on lyrics that will help persons to regain their true sense of self.
“To every downside there is an opportunity,” Davis said philosophically. “The world has changed and after we have emerged from this crisis, there will be less emphasis on the frivolous. We, therefore, need to return to the music that changes lives. People around the globe will be in need of healing and, as a result, will need to hear songs that are more meaningful. We must reimagine ourselves in that space,” she said, emphasising that in a post-coronavirus era, reggae must return to its roots.
What Davis is suggesting is not a sort of ‘Reggae Revival Part 2’, as that particular terminology has never sat well with her. Reggae, she says, was never dead nor on life support, so there was no revival, really. She is, however, advocating the expansion of the network of persons who she says will support the creation of good music.
“We are hoping to hear a difference in the lyrics – positive, spiritual and uplifting – that’s where we can fill that need and gain back some of our lost economic ground,” she noted, adding that the economic fallout will be “great”.
Broadcast journalist, emcee and promoter, Denise ‘Isis’ Miller, agrees. “Bob Marley sang, ‘when the music hits you, you feel no pain’, and over the decades other roots artistes have played a major role in consistently producing and singing conscious music, which has always influenced persons internationally. So it is indeed imperative that after this crisis we recognise how instrumental this genre is in uplifting and healing the nation,” Miller told The Gleaner. And, as an on-air radio personality, she is anticipating receiving a deluge of songs which will snugly fit the ‘inspire’ label.
Davis has already made a step in the direction of creating positive vibrations. IRD has teamed up with conscious reggae singer Tarrus Riley to provide hope. “As the world faces this unprecedented pandemic challenge, International Reggae Day and Tarrus Riley invite you to contribute your voice to a series of reggae messages to the world, inspired by the Tyler Perry collective He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands video,” a message from IRD states.
Persons are invited to do a WhatsApp video recording of themselves singing Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, and send it to the IRD Instagram page for inclusion in the compilation video.
“Digital is where we will have to start building out our business models,” the IRD founder said. “This is not an era of social distancing, as it is being called. It is physical distancing, because we are now more social than ever on social media.”