Tue | Jun 15, 2021

Five Questions With Tameka Chevannes

Published:Friday | January 1, 2021 | 12:08 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Tameka Chevannes
Tameka Chevannes
Tameka Chevannes
Tameka Chevannes
Tameka Chevannes
Tameka Chevannes

Revered by her peers as a go-getter and master strategist, Tameka Chevannes, has used her role as a public relations and marketing consultant to move roadblocks for several entertainers over the past decade. She established her company, ZaZa Communications as an ode to Dasrick ‘ZaZa’ Chevannes, her brother who died in a motor vehicle accident in 1997. “My brother’s creative spirit motivated me to take the next step and I wanted to keep his legacy alive,” she explains.

Through her company, Chevannes has worked on campaigns for the likes of Mr Vegas, Junior Kelly, Anthony Cruz, Junior Holt, Bamm Holt, Sista Sasha, Konshens, IWaata, Intence and Pressure Busspipe, among others. She shares, “I realised the importance of investing in the entertainment industry early, and in wanting to market, motivate, inspire, and build the culture and brand of Jamaica I decided to create a hub which could.”

Following the lead of other women executives in the industry, such as Claudette Kemp, who manages Capleton; Solid Agency’s Sharon Burke; Tanya Lawson, the director of Afrobeats & Caribbean Music at Audiomack and New York-based Playbook founder Marie Theodore, the St Catherine-born publicist has a plan to let her voice be heard through the global music marketplace.

“These women are some of the best and lead in the field, and I look to them for inspiration and also, I will never forget Lisa Hanna, Celia Steele, Claudette Kenlock, Mark Telfer and other individuals who motivated me to be my best. The main lesson that I have learnt is to always give 110 per cent at all times as you never know who is watching,” Chevannes shares.

Get to know Tameka Chevannes in this week’s Five Questions With...

1. How can women navigating a career in the local music industry ensure their voices are heard?

Firstly, approach the task at hand with professionalism, passion and tenacity. Inequality can be fought in the industry by woman taking more strong roles and dominant roles in making decisions and moves concreting our solidarity by extracting sus and gibberish and overall getting the job done. Hold yourself accountable for whatever campaign is being promoted and always show up and show out. Be the artiste’s motivation and try to improve from their mannerisms to their appearance.

2. Do you feel more female entertainers will emerge in the coming year?

I believe female artistes have the playing field wide open to score. There is still a lot of untapped female artistry and now is the time for them to shine. I am paying attention to acts like Stalk Ashley, Lola Smiles, Ravin Reign, Tahirah, Queen Nikki, Renee Sixthirty and Siobhan to have their big breakout, and for staple entertainers such as Naomi Cowan, Koffee, Shenseea, Spice, D’Angel, Pamputtae, Shaneil Muir, Denyque, Ishawna, Jada Kingdom, Sevana, Lila Iké and the list goes on, to surprise us in the new year.

3. What was your reaction to this year’s Grammy nominations? Do you have any predictions for the winner?

Not shocked. Not even the least bit. However, I would have liked to see fresh names on the list. Having lived overseas and worked with international acts, I have recognised that locally, enough is not being done for them to be heard. Contrary to what many think, utilising social media is not enough. Our music needs to be promoted at international standards and enough promotion in the requisite markets can never be too much. As for predictions, I’m not going to get myself into any trouble by making any.

4. Who are you outside of work?

I am a fun, nurturing and caring kind of lady – these characteristics always attracts children. So, you can always find me around children, I love their innocence and the joy simple things bring to them and you’re likely to see the goofball in me any time children are in my presence. I like goofing around like I’m a rapper the most. In my quiet time I write and I also love picking up a great book and immersing myself in it. My background in hospitality and tourism management exposed me to a lot of culinary practices and I think I am a great chef but I don’t think I’d do it professionally. Once I become friends with you, you have a friend for life.

5. What are your top five goals for 2021?

I am looking to: 1. Launch the website for ZaZa Communications and my Industry Thursdays live show on Instagram. 2. Tap into the African market by bringing more music from Jamaica to Africa and vice-versa through a network I am presently establishing with others in the industry, locally and internationally, across different areas there, from Kenya, Ghana to Nigeria. 3. Get one of the upcoming acts I’m working with his or her breakthrough into the mainstream. 4. Score international campaigns for business. 5. Venture into video production and improve my skills in this area.