What is Jamaica doing about the Music Industry?
It is funny a nation of approximately 2.8 million can produce the world’s fastest runners, some of the world’s best beaches, hotels, food, models, academics and last but not least musicians. The birthplace of Reggae music and Bob Marley, you would think that music would be one of the nation’s primary income earners. We have somehow been able to get some of the other areas right, but music still grapples to get on top of the slippery slope of disorder and corruption.
For certain the country is not short of talent, and not just that hurry come up talent, but actually a wealth of really good and versatile singers reside on the rock. A part of my heart hurts to see some whose careers I had foreseen going in so many other better directions, but seem to come to a halt or creep at such a slouch that it is painful. What is it that can be done? By anyone? By the government? By the country?
I am an upcoming artist myself and the struggles are endless and encompass so many parameters it is unbelievable. Anything from your complexion, to how you talk, to where you grew up, and definitely who you know, how much money you have, but rarely ever how good your song is, how talented or driven you are. Like any industry the hardest workers will hopefully make it to the top…eventually, especially those blessed with all the things it takes - Talent, Professionalism, Charisma/Charm, Drive and A Look to name a few - The IT factor(s). But with so much of IT just swimming around unmanged, will all of IT just swim until IT is fat, tired and drowns? Old and unmarketable. A pool of talented individuals, missed opportunities and mountains of regret.
My solution for myself is to do it myself. To research it myself. To identify the channels, the people and the places that will get me to the next level. Of course while holding down a day job and trying to be creative at the same time, this slows the process significantly. Not yet in the totally unmarketable category yet, I struggle to do all that I think I need to do to make it to the next level without feeling rushed but still knowing that some time is against me. This is, and has been NO easy road.
"Find a manager", "Why don’t you do a collaboration", "You should try to be on this show" is what THEY say. The few in support so eager to see you rise to the top and be amongst the stars, but unable to truly see that to the good manager, established artist or promoters who count…I am of little value to them. I haven’t proven myself yet, and who is left to help? Well me and only me. No local record company. Few persons armed with enough Music Business knowledge to tell me anything I don’t already know. A government that invests more money into things that cause little growth, but create more debt. The quicksand seems to slide faster and faster from beneath our feet.
So I ask you today, what are the ways you think Jamaica can improve the state of the music industry? How can the many talented, but struggling to be noticed get a fair and fine chance? How do you feel about it all?
I am Mario Evon, Jamaican Reggae-Soul Singer Songwriter, Berklee College of Music Graduate (Music Business/Songwriting) and advocate for a better Jamaica.