Many Rivers to Cross: Making it in the Business

Hearing your song on the radio, getting booked for live shows and having fans scream your name and ask for your autograph is just a few of the many things upcoming artist dream about. For some, the process is long and tiring and filled with many disappointments before their actual big break. For others, like Romaine Virgo and Christopher Martin, all it took was the right competition and the right time to gain the exposure they craved for.

Jamaica is bubbling with talent. Popularly known as the music factory, Jamaica is said to produce more songs than any other country in the world. Though this may be true, many of our talented acts are some of the best kept secrets yet to be exposed. Even artist who have been in the industry for many years, find it a challenge to compete in the market and top the charts. This is due to the intense competition where everyone wants to be on top. Veterans have to be consistent with producing quality music to hold their prestige in the industry, while new artists have to compete with veterans and earn respect for their craft. However, while the new kids on the block swarm stage shows and major entertainment events to cease any opportunity that may arise and build their fan base, they should keep in mind that performance only gives a relative amount of exposure.  An artist may perform at several shows and events yet remain forgettable among the majority of patrons, even though he or she may have high potential.

So then, what avenues are best for achieving stardom? Let’s take a trip down memory lane, when in 2004 Lady Mackerel now known as Macka Diamond took a different approach in expanding her fan base. Though she was exposed within the music fraternity prior to her big break, it wasn’t until she raised the bar with a name change and a more aggressive persona to create a different image, that she was seen as a female force to be reckoned with in the industry. Other artists who went back to the drawing board and took a different approach with a change of name includes, Mr. Lex formerly known as Lexxus, Goffy who took on the name Mr.G and Xsytement  dance group which is now known as RDX. On the flip side, changing ones name or image is not a risk some artistes are willing to take. Needless to say, there are other options before taking such a drastic move.

A thorough analysis needs to be done of the market in order for the artist along with the music to be portrayed as an attractive commodity. Image is just as important as vocals and at times gets as much attention from the fans. Take note of your competitors because it pays to be unique. Etana ‘the strong one’ is widely known for her natural and soulful flair which suits her music. Uniqueness draws consumers of music to the artist.

Although an upcoming artiste may fit within the category of being unique, he or she may still face challenges. Reggae Times interviewedGarrizon and Gramma Zone, two young and talented individuals hungry for their time to shine to see what avenues they are taking to get to stardom and the challenges along the way. “I promote myself on the internet via numerous social networks, as well as live performances that have a good crowd and entering talent competitions to get the exposure” expressed Garrizon. He was placed 5th in the 2007 competition of Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall. One of his major challenge is management and this is why he takes on the task of self promotion. “Young artistes just need to work on their craft continuously and fight the negative forces” stated a positive Garrizon.

Gramma Zone, who recently licensed his label titled One(1)Link Production also does aggressive promotion through social medias. “I hunt down individuals who are talented in art and who also like me need exposure. For example a young promoter, a young video shooter, a young disc jock etc. We all use our different talents to push each other.” He however expressed that there are financial challenges along the way. For all other upcoming artist Gramma Zone encourages that “it is important to believe in yourself, have confidence and be different. Try to get yourself educated because this thing is 5 % talent and 95% business. And if u can’t make some serious sacrifices find another occupation, but youths don’t give up on your dream.”

Many Rivers to Cross: Making it in the Business
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