For dancehall and Jamaica to be represented on US prime time TV with slots on ‘Good Morning America’, ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live!’ and ‘ Wendy Williams’, mere days apart, is being hailed as epic and calls for a ‘catawampus’ celebration, complete with Go Down Deh on repeat.
The dancehall-loving world woke up on Friday morning bursting with pride as Spice, Sean Paul, and Shaggy threw down a smooth, energetic performance on ‘Good Morning America’ that saw the producers tweeting, “Obsessed with this @DiRealShaggy @duttypaul and @spiceofficial performance at our @CaesarsRewards Summer Concert Series!”
This is certainly a huge moment in dancehall music, and definitely for Brand Jamaica, which was well represented by the artistes, the dancers in their Jamaica T-shirts, the backdrop, and the high quality of the production filmed in Jamaica by an entirely Jamaican crew. All this was powered by VP Records, the label which has released the single, and which is at the forefront of the reggae and dancehall worlds with thousands of albums, singles and compilations, and more than 20 Grammy nominations to its credit.
Pandemic or not, VP Records, at 44, continues to make a tremendous push for reggae and dancehall music, and has used its not-so-secret weapon for ensuring longevity – evolving with the times. Chris Chin, the company’s CEO, told The Gleaner that reggae music is VP’s mission and mantle. “The demand for music has not faltered during the pandemic. Our music has not changed, but the marketing aspect has. Audio is no longer the voice of music; visuals are now a key factor for successful marketing,” he stated.
The record producer noted that among the elements that created the opportunity for this mega showcase on the international stage were “timing and good fortune”, which always play a part in hit songs. “Talented artistes, a fantastic song, and time to set up the marketing and promotional plan for the song also help a lot. The investment was a sizeable one. However, we saw the opportunity it would create for dancehall worldwide, and we went for it. The best part about this experience is that the song’s performance on streaming platforms is driving our marketing plan. Seeing dancehall on US prime time TV will hopefully open doors for everyone.”
Chin explained that due to the pandemic, talk shows no longer have studio audiences, so the record company was faced with the challenge of how to showcase the artistes right here in Jamaica. “We wanted to show the world what Jamaica has to offer in terms of talent, first-class production, and the beauty it holds. We made the pitch to the three show producers, and they were all excited for us to showcase dancehall on their respective shows. We made sure to brand Jamaica on the entire set; every aspect was 100 per cent Jamaican all the way. VP Records wanted to show the world the greatness Jamaica has,” he shared.
And VP Records is particularly proud of Spice, the ‘Queen of the Dancehall’, whose highly anticipated début album, titled TEN, the company will be releasing this summer.
Chin stated clearly, “We are super proud of Spice, and excited about the new opportunities a success like this will add to her numerous accolades; it’s well-deserving for a hard-working talent. We would like to thank everyone who worked on this project – Prime Minister Andrew Holness; Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange; Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang; Spice; Shaggy; Sean Paul; Port Authority of Jamaica – Cruise Port at the historical Naval Dockyard, Port Royal; Phase3 Production; Executive Solutions; DJ Bambino and Tracy Bulford.”