Let’s unite to get more Grammy votes - Freddie McGregor envisions thousands of J’cans joining The Recording Academy

October 28, 2019
believes that if Jamaican music professionals united, they would have greater influence on the Grammy conversations.
believes that if Jamaican music professionals united, they would have greater influence on the Grammy conversations.

A s some local artistes wait with bated breath to learn if they were nominated for the upcoming Grammy Awards, there is concern from more experienced players who believe Jamaicans should, and could harness the power to make the decisions ourselves.

In the recent Gleaner Entertainment Forum, veteran entertainer Freddie McGregor suggested that local acts do not pay enough attention to the organisations designed to give them a voice and a vote.

"When you look at the (music) population of the entertainment industry in Jamaica, it's a lot of us. If all these people would just pay attention to how to become a member of The Recording Academy, so you can try become a member of the Grammy committee - the power that in itself would give us would be amazing," McGregor said.

For producers, singers, songwriters, performers and engineers active on the island, the veteran singer estimated there are close to 10,000.

Considering the diaspora

"Can you imagine if 8,000 Jamaicans became members of the Grammy committee? Why not come together and do that? Nothing about it is hard. How did I do it? Go pon the Internet, go pon the page, and pay US$100 (J$13,646)."

Amazing as it would sound, the potential increases when considering the diaspora.

"In Florida, we have a whole heap of entertainers as Caribbean people too, not just Jamaican. Between Jamaica and all the way up to New York, we could get 15,000 to 20,000 people. But we go di dance and spend thousands on the money pull-up and Hennessy," he jibed.

But McGregor noted that local organisations like the Jamaica Music Society and the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers don't yield incredible support from the industry.

"This is the problem we have; you set up an organisation and say 'Everybody come, see what we have deh yeh fi protect all of us'. A few people pay it mind. Then when the problem start, them start say we need one (an organisation to deal with the issues). But we have many. When we look at where we are now from where we were say in the 90s, there is not a lot of great improvement," the singer lamented.

In all this, McGregor is still optimistic, declaring that 2020 is going to be one of Jamaica's greatest years in music.

"The struggles weh we ah guh through, the Jamaican music brand is still able to reach out there and is creating waves everywhere, both in dancehall and reggae just the same. People are loving it and using it. We have it," he said. "We just need to seriously come together and harness the thing. To be able to get this thing moving quickly and nice, the youth dem fi understand the business weh dem inna. There's a lot of information that can be disseminated among di youth dem, if them want it."

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