Friday, September 7, 2007
WE Music - DR JAY DE SOCA PRINCE ASKS… THE QUESTION
In the last edition of WE I posed a question to you the readers, asking if you felt that soca music needed mainstream recognition in order to “tell dem we reach”? (The results were split 50/50 on that issue, by the way)
Now that Caribana is behind us, I am left contemplating a more grass-roots question. Forget mass and mainstream recognition for soca music for a moment. Can we truly expect North American recognition for our music when we in the scene and industry can barely get access to tracks from our “small island” musicians?
Coming down from the musical high that was KOS J’OUVERT (held on Caribana Friday) we had a chance to appreciate the vast wealth of musical talent that our islands contain. KOS J’OUVERT featured “small island” talent such as Problem Child and Zoelah.
I always get requests from listeners for more small island music. Nothing specific, just music from other islands. This is my question to you: If music is not available at a retailer, and we don’t have a link from a certain island to send me their music, how is a DJ to obtain the tracks from the islands that you are requesting?
In a perfect world, a DJ would go to a record store and purchase any and all of his music regardless of the artists' island of origin. What are we to do when a vast majority of these tracks are not even available for sale? To be completely honest, most of our music as KOS DJ’s come directly from the artists or producers. Tracks are emailed to us here in Toronto from Trinidad or Barbados etc. and we play them! Seems simple? What about producers and artists from islands who do not send out their tracks? If a DJ does not even have access to new music from these islands, how can we push the music to gain greater exposure?
A prime example of this lack of availability is the talented Zoelah, nicknamed St. Vincent’s Princess. Her smash hit “Go Down Low” is so popular that it has recently been slotted into the regular track rotation on my home station, FLOW 93.5 FM. Suppose a station listener, not familiar with soca, hears the song on the radio and likes it. Searching for a record store in which to purchase her album would be an exercise in futility! I know you have the song on your laptop at home. How did YOU get the track?
What do you think? Who is to push the music if a DJ cannot even get access tracks from certain islands? Who should be promoting the versatility of our small island artists? Where does the responsibility lie?
Now that is THE QUESTION.
Dr Jay de Soca Prince welcomes your feedback on this topic at firstname.lastname@example.org. Results will be published in the next issue of “WE”