JN ‘Talking Reggae’ February 28

    JN Group

    Following two years of disruption arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jamaican music industry, which pre-COVID-19 had long faced its own issues, will take centre stage at the JN Talking Reggae Symposium on February 28.  The forum, which will culminate Reggae Month celebrations, will centre on the recovery of the industry and how it can be strengthened as an integral contributor to the economy.

    The hybrid one and a half-hour forum to be aired live on Television Jamaica from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., is set to tackle several topics, including the age-old challenge of marketing Jamaican artistes for the international stage; music ownership and royalties, as well as financial planning and management among practitioners in the industry.

    The Jamaica National Group’s marketing executive, Saniah Spencer, says the conversation is apt, as the country and the world gradually begin the journey to normalisation, after 23 months of restrictions that have crippled the local music industry.

    “It’s a conversation we believe we are positioned to lead as a well-known Jamaican brand and people-centred ‘movement,’” she said. “And one, which is important and necessary to raise, given the interconnectedness of the industry to so many other aspects of social and economic life in Jamaica,” she commented, pointing out that the industry does not only benefit artistes and professionals, it comprises an entire ecosystem that includes transport operators and various small and micro entrepreneurs.

    “There are many who have been displaced by the shuttering of the industry over these past two years, but, at the same time, this crisis has also given us a moment to ponder, parley and put more in place to grow and consequently reap more from our music and cultural products,” argued Ms Spencer.

    The JN Talking Reggae Symposium will feature presentations from international professionals, such as management mogul, David Miller, a former Def Jam, Sony Music and Atlantic Records executive, who has worked closely with superstars, such as Jay-Z, Bruno Mars and Mariah Carey. Miller has been steadily developing some of the biggest urban acts into global superstars for the last 20 years, first with his consultancy firm, Drum Media and then as a marketing executive for Sony/BMG in the United Kingdom. He will speak on the topic: ‘Marketing Music in the Present Climate.’

    Mr Miller’s presentation will be supported by Grammy-nominated music producer, Cristy Barber, who will be speaking to participants on the topic: ‘Want to Win a Grammy? The Steps towards International Recognition.’ Ms Barber has been a co-chair of the Reggae Grammy Screening Committee for 12 years and has served as president of the Marley family-owned labels, Tuff Gong & Ghetto Youths International, while at Def Jam/ Universal. She has produced music for Jay-Z, Pharell and Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, and has also held positions at several international labels, including Capitol Records, Island/ Polygram VP Records. She is also a former vice president of marketing and promotions at VP Records.

    Minister of Culture, Entertainment, Gender and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, will lead off discussions on the evening with a look at ‘Creating a Framework for the Growth of Our Music’. And, dancehall artiste and JN Group brand ambassador, Agent Sasco; entertainment lawyer, Ron Young; and Hugh Reid, general manager, JN Life Insurance will round out the presenters on the evening.

    A panel comprising some of the industry’s well-known professionals and academics, as well as a financial expert from the JN Group will also address key issues in the industry. They are: dancehall/ reggae producer, Cordel ‘Skatta’ Burrell; dancehall and cultural studies scholar, lecturer, Dr Sonjah Stanley Niah; chairman of the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association, Ewan Simpson; marketing and communications director at Edna Manley College for the Creative and Performing Arts, Coleen Douglas; disc jockey, Colin Hines; deputy managing director, JN Bank, Gillian Hyde; and director of the Jamaica Music Museum, Herbie Miller.

    The event will be moderated by popular media personality and attorney-at-law, Khadine ‘Miss Kitty’ Hylton, with performances by Etana and Busy Signal.

    To participate in the symposium, persons should register via the JN Group website, jngroup.com.

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