Chuck Fender urges artistes to be street smart
For many of Jamaica's local reggae and dancehall entertainers, the streets remain a testing ground to introduce new music or promote their catalogue to a diverse audience. But for some entertainers, hitting the streets regularly amounts to a waste of time and money. One person who feels this way is roots and culture artiste Chuck Fenda.
"Artistes still have to keep their composure and value, because if promoting a brand or music means you have to go inna the streets every night and deh every party, after a while you start questioning the value."
He argued that when an artiste is seen at every corner a pan is knocked, solely for the promotion of his or her music, while it does help in some way, it can also devalue the overall worth of an artiste.
"After a while people start saying, 'Me nah pay $1,000 to go see that artiste because me can go Rae Town or Half-Way Tree, and see him'. It simply means the value of that artiste ultimately depreciates," he said.
The Living Fire artiste added more heat to the argument by calling out selectors who take control of the street events.
"Is like you have to stand up right beside them in the dance to get your song played and when the selectors nah see an artiste, especially a culture artiste, them start calling us lazy. But it is not lazy, is just that more time an artiste does not want to be out doing road every night, all four, five, six sessions to make a song play."
Having resurrected culture music in the dancehall over a decade ago, Chuck Fenda believes it can be done again but for it to happen, the people in the streets must get back to deeply analysing the quality of the music and appreciating those that are of good lyrics, sound and delivery. He also believes that the unification of artistes from all genres and other industry players can add value to the diverse brands in Jamaica's popular music.
"People of the new generation might say artistes like me nah gwaan wid nutin, but not because we are not visible streetwise, it does not mean we are not putting in the work. Many of the foundation artistes are headlining major festivals where culture music has taken on new life. It's not supposed to be hard and fast locally, we need to support those that have paved the way for upcoming."
"Artistes like myself continue to push the music equally on the local scene as we do in the US, Europe and Japan. Culture artistes continue to target the whole world although there are a lot who capitalise on specific markets," he told THE STAR.