Latin market hungry for dancehall - ZJ Chrome joins Costa Rican radio station
Producer ZJ Chrome will be expanding his own horizons, and more importantly, dancehall's reach, as he has joined the staff of a new radio station in Costa Rica called Aftercluv 107.5 FM.
Aftercluv Radio is a full-blown FM station started by the Universal Music's Latin dance music arm, the force behind Charly Black's Gyal You A Party Animal.
Universal Music is one of the biggest record labels in the world. However, this is the first time that the label has taken such a bold step to launch a Latin radio station paying homage to dancehall.
Aftercluv Radio will pay attention to EDM and will also feature shows from dance music icons such as Carl Cox, Tiesto, and Paul Oakenfold, as well as Aftercluv's own Alex Midi, Allan Ramirez, and Atellagali.
ZJ Chrome's first show was aired last Saturday at midday and will be aired the same time weekly.
"This is a great opportunity, not only for me, but crucially, to expand dancehall as far and wide as we can. I'm always ready to be part of innovative movements, and hopefully, this can continue the wave our genre has in the region and help open doors for songs and artistes in Costa Rica and beyond," he told THE STAR.
"We now have another platform to get our music directly to the ears of people who already love our music. This is a big look for artistes to build their fan bases there. It will also have lots of residual benefits such as increased streaming revenue, sales and shows, as we introduce and break songs to the market."
ZJ Chrome also encouraged Jamaican artistes to shift some of their attention to the Latin market since they are staunch fans of dancehall and reggae.
"They have a love for dancehall, and not just the Bam Bam-sounding dancehall. They are into the hard-core stuff as well. I went to Costa Rica and I thought I was in Jamaica. The Bam Bam-sounding dancehall tends to go more commercial. However, they are pretty much Gaza, Gully, and Alkaline like out here," he said.
Dancehall has had a strong presence in the Latin market since Chaka Demus and Pliers and Shabba Ranks, who crossed over with classic hits. However, in recent times, artistes like J Capri, Tommy Lee Sparta, Sean Paul, Shaggy, and others have developed fan bases of their own.
And based on the successes of Jamaican producers who have broken into the Latin market, ZJ Chrome is encouraging other producers to take notes.
"The sound has a world groove, and basically as producers, we want to impact the world, too, given that other international musicians like Justin Bieber and others are doing it. As a producer, you cannot allow yourself to be outdone," he said.
"We should be going into the Latin market more. We tend to focus on the US, yet that audience is less accepting of the music. Except for Caribbean people, it's like you are forcing it on them. But in the Latin market, it's natural."
Artiste manager Julian Jones-Griffith also held a similar view. While Jamaica itself is not up to par with developed countries as it relates to streaming, he explained that the major streaming hub for Jamaican music is the Latin market.
"Costa Rica is one of the top three places for streaming across the board. From Alkaline to Kartel to Konshens to Bounty Killer, the Spotify data shows Costa Rica is one of, if not the, most popular market for dancehall on the platform," he said.