News Americas, WASHINGTON, D.C., Thurs. May 13, 2021: A Grammy-winning reggae artist has appealed to the government of Jamaica to government and its Diaspora, to do more to support and promote the island’s music.
Reggae/dancehall artiste Shaggy made the call as a special guest on the third in the series of “Lets Connect with Ambassador Marks,” an online diaspora town hall meeting hosted by the country’s ambassador to Washington.
The singer and songwriter, born Orville Burrell, also urged the government to do more to help educate artistes on how to be more business savvy. He recommended that there be more seminars and workshops for artistes, which will guide them in how to manage their music operations both locally and internationally.
“The artistes have to start handling themselves in a more professional manner. Because if you’re not ‘gonna do it professionally and have a professional team… Then you’re going to look like [an unorganized] ‘patty shop’ operation, and you’re gonna be treated like a poppy show,” Shaggy said.
He revealed that some years ago, he along with promoter Sharon Burke of Synergy, had begun such a programme but it unfortunately had to be curtailed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, he urged the government to join forces with him with a view to resuscitating this important programme.
Ambassador Audrey Marks for her part, supported the need for continuing education on business operation and marketing among artistes, noting that this will help them to navigate the difficult minefield of the international music business.
Meanwhile, Shaggy also claimed that many Jamaicans at home and across the Diaspora do not support local musicians in the same way they support other international artistes
He said that “as influential as Jamaican music is on the global stage, there is an underwhelming lack of support for the music from Jamaicans.”
The Jamaican diaspora needs to do more in this regard in order to support Jamaican music, and by extension, the Jamaican culture, Shaggy said.
He further pointed out that “at this point, Reggae/Dancehall has less than 6% of the global market share, which he lamented, “does not really give us a seat at the table.”
But if we can do something as impactful as what we are doing with this record, entitled “Go down deh,” with the Jamaican label [VP Records] and with Jamaican artistes to promote dancehall, that certainly changes the cycle and certainly changes the tone and gives us a lot more leverage for us to have more in depth conversations with some of the powerhouses from Google, Live Nation, Apple, Spotify to Pandora etc.,” Shaggy declared.
Ambassador Marks agreed, emphasizing that the diaspora’s strength is in their buying power. She went on to encourage members of the diaspora become subscribers and stream more local music, which could change the trajectory of the genre.
The newly released single, “Go Down Deh” from the “Dancehall Queen,” Spice, features Sean Paul and Shaggy, and is dominating the global reggae charts.