The road to greatness - Robert Livingston's will to win leads to success
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
It's been a while - more than three decades, in fact - since Robert Livingston, after a hard day's work, used to hang out at Cash and Carry at 125 Orange Street, sipping Guinness and enjoying the calming effects of nature's herbs. It was what they did back then to relax.
It was while being employed there as an assistant to the legendary Gregory Isaacs that he got his chance to break into the music industry. His hard work earned him a chance to go on tour to England with the talented reggae crooner and, while there, he began studying what it took to make it big in entertainment.
It was there that he learned that to be a great producer, one also has to be great at marketing. It was a lesson that he has never forgotten.
Many number-one hits
After three decades of sweat, study and determination, during which he produced numerous number-one singles with artistes like Super Cat, Shaggy, Heavy D and the Boys, Frankie Paul and Maxi Priest, Trevor Sparks, Kiprich, Gregory Isaacs, and many others, Livingston is now one of the most respected producers in the country.
His Scikron Entertainment/Big Yard label, after producing scores of hits with the platinum-selling reggae/dancehall legend, Shaggy, is on the verge of breaking out a brand new star in Richie Loop.
His journey to greatness has, and continues to be, fuelled by his insatiable desire to win.
"I try to stay focussed, but it's more than trying to be successful financially - it's about being a winner, getting number-one records. Winning is a big part of what drives me," he said.
"From the moment I moved from having nothing, to achieving what I have achieved, I won. The rest of it is a bonus."
Dennis Brown, Isaacs, Junior Delgado and Bunny Wailer were major influences on Livingston's career, not to mention Trevor 'Leggo Beast' Douglas, who played a big motivational role in his life during his early days on Orange Street in downtown Kingston.
Big yard label
Livingston started his own label, Blue Track, in the 1980s and eventually started Big Yard in 1992, signing Shaggy two years later. The rest, as they say, will be etched forever as a major part of dancehall history.
Under Livingston's guidance, Shaggy has become, perhaps, the biggest-ever dancehall act, selling tens of millions of albums and winning many music awards.
With Shaggy now established, Livingston has another hit-maker on his hands, but is always on the lookout for new, exciting and emerging talent, trying to create one more successful Jamaican.
"Every time I have an artiste, I try to find a way for him to share in the success," he said. He added that he was always aware of what came before and the people who helped along the way.
"I don't forget," he said.
And neither should Jamaica.