Studio vibes: Star Struck, more than a studio
Located at Derrymore Road, St Andrew, Star Struck Records studio is the heartbeat of the community as it is the home of a weekly entertainment event, a bar and, soon, restaurant.
Owner, Matthew 'Esco' Thompson has always had a passion for producing. From an early age, he had dreams of being far from the ordinary.
These days, the forward-thinker is eyeing expansion and has hopes of transforming the unassuming property, which houses his pride and joy, into an all-in-one entertainment complex.
"It's supposed to be that kind of a complex where you have your studio on base - which comes with an engineer, you know, we do our production here, our voicing here - but, at the same time, we can host an album launch, a party, whatever kind of event we feel like," he explained.
"Eventually, we have our eyes on expanding to a restaurant and we have a bar already. It's supposed to engulf the entire dancehall culture, which is all about good music, good food and good entertainment. That was always the dream so we're just taking our time and branching out."
In case you were wondering if the soon-to-be 'hot spot' be available for rental, Esco made it clear that, for now, the venue is only readily available to a selected few.
"We are not thinking of being open to the public just now. We do rent out the venue but, for now, it's to selective people. We are really just working towards the dream of having a full complex that showcases all elements of our culture."
Star Struck Records has come a far way since it first gained popularity in 2012. The studio used to be housed in the backyard of reggae singer Marcia Griffith's home.
Griffiths is Esco's stepmother.
"Everything kind of just happened naturally," he said explaining how he moved Griffiths' backyard into his own space. "I got the opportunity here and transitioning was never hard. I'm a pretty good relater with people, and when you're humble and people know that you're about business, you find that relationships are a lot easier."
Similar to securing the complex for an entertainment event, booking studio time at Star Struck Records is a selective process. There is no charge for studio time but recording is only available to entertainers signed to Star Struck Records and its partners, SK Productions.
"Housed here is Star Struck Records and SK Productions so usually we don't rent studio time, it's a private studio. However, based off recommendation, an artiste may get the studio to rent for an hour or two."
The producer has his hands full as he anticipates a busy summer. "We have a couple of singles coming out this summer. There is a collaboration between myself and I-Octane, We Know Better. We also have a single, Bleaching. We have our artiste, Tails, who has his single, Stabbing, coming out also, so there is a lot happening for the summer. Time flying so fast these days that we really just trying to make records that will break the market."
Since making a name for himself as a producer, Esco has worked with top entertainers including Bounty Killer, Bennie Man, Sean Paul, I-Octane, Agent Sasco, Sizzla, Busy Signal, Future Fambo, Bling Dawg and Capelton.