Collaboration is key ... artistes say strategy helps achieve international exposure

April 07, 2018
ZJ Liquid
@Normal:Naomi Cowan<\n><\n>
Sean Paul

Artistes say strategy helps achieve international exposure

Reggae and dancehall fans have been quick to judge their artistes for collaborations that involve local and international acts.

This is especially true if the music does not follow the original style of the genres. It is not uncommon to hear that artistes are 'changing the music'.

Up-and-coming dancehall-reggae acts like Devin di Dakta, Shawn Antoine, and Naomi Cowan have closely analysed the local music industry and tactics their role models used in the past to cross genres.

To help launch their careers, some Jamaican recording artistes have put their own spin on songs released by popular international artistes or have found artistes willing to collaborate on a single.

Local disc jockey and producer ZJ Liquid said one of his own productions, Can't Believe, with dancehall artiste Kranium, featuring Ty Dolla $ign and Wizkid, used that strategy.

"It (collaboration) works because it propels each artiste in each other's world, Kranium in the dancehall, Ty Dolla $ign as a hip-hop and R&B artiste and Afrobeat from Wizkid's end. It brings the music in a different world and genres," he said.

He continued: "Certainly, there has to be chemistry but some of the best collabs produced by Dave Kelly helped local artistes. It does not necessarily help as a new artiste but doing a collab gives the extra push."

One can argue that Sean Paul, who is presently recognised as an international sensation, got greater exposure for his talents with collaborations like Give It Up To Me, featuring R&B artiste Keyshia Cole.



Lately, it is observed that more of the new dancehall-reggae acts are exploring the option of collaborating with another artiste before even promoting a debut single or album.

Cowan said that it is unfortunate that sometimes local artistes need the input of another artiste to 'buss' before the music is accepted both locally and internationally.

"Although my collaboration with Mark Pelli from Magic wasn't a planned strategy, I think it does help with expanding your market as well as softening up audiences to your voice as a new artiste. And it works. Can't knock what works," said Naomi Cowan.

She said because the world sees Jamaica as a cultural hub, people often look to the artiste to gain 'street cred' and musical respect.

According to ZJ Liquid, the next step is finding the right songs with that international appeal, and for the productions to get proper placement so that an artiste can remain current overseas.

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