US Music Producer Urges Jamaican Artistes to Use Social Media Effectively

    JN Group

    Grammy-nominated producer, Cristy Barber is urging reggae and dancehall acts to take full advantage of social media to promote their music, especially in light of the ongoing pandemic.

    Speaking during a radio interview on IRIE FM recently, Ms Barber said that especially in the beginning of the pandemic when most persons spent extensive time indoors, everyone has been “glued” to their phones, and so social media is currently the best avenue for musical talents to showcase their craft.

    “Take advantage of TikTok and the Reels on Instagram. A lot of people do not realise that on Instagram you can post in your story, but the most watched thing right now on Instagram is Reels. So, if you’re an artiste, start posting those reels. That is what everybody is watching,” she pointed out.

    Reels are short, engaging videos on Instagram which allow users to add different sounds like music.

    The music mogul who has worked with almost every major record label over a career spanning some 30 years, will be presenting at the upcoming JN Talking Reggae Symposium being organised by The Jamaica National Group on Monday, February 28 at 8:30 p.m. The event will be aired live on TVJ, and persons can participate in the forum on Zoom by registering via

    Ms Barber, whose presentation on Monday will focus on the steps artistes can take to achieve international recognition, called reggae the most influential music in the world, and noted that several new releases are sampling classic dancehall rhythms.

    “Obviously we are influencers, but, unfortunately, a lot of times when we are marketing or promoting our own, a lot of it is considered vacation music or summertime music, and I see R&B artistes doing the same music and songs like what our Jamaican artistes are doing and not getting the same recognition. That’s why, unfortunately, we ‘gotta’ work twice as hard, and be twice ahead of the game,” she explained.

    She added that reggae and dancehall artistes are the ‘leaders of the pack”.

    “Reggae music is incredibly influencing all over the world, and reggae music is still home of the biggest artiste ever in the music industry in the world. It gets frustrating to see it on a grand scale and sometimes the homage is not paid, but I think that’s where we have to come in and make sure that we as an industry have to start educating the world about the history of reggae music and how it gave birth to hip hop,” pointed out Ms Barber, who served as co-chair of the Reggae Grammy Screening Committee for 12 years. She has also served as president of the Marley family-owned labels, Tuff Gong & Ghetto Youths International, while at Def Jam/ Universal.

    She said younger artistes need to be educated to understand and appreciate the history of reggae and dancehall so that when they are on the international stage and being interviewed, they can drive the narrative about the legacy of reggae and dancehall home.

    JN Talking Reggae will also feature presentations from: Minister of Culture, Olivia Grange– who will set the agenda with a presentation on ‘Creating a Framework for the Growth of our Music’; and another international music mogul, David Miller– a former Def Jam, Sony Music and Atlantic Records executive- who will present on the topic: ‘Marketing Music in the Present Climate.’ Reggae/ dancehall music recording artiste and JN Group Ambassador, Agent Sasco, will also be among the presenters.

    A panel of well-known professionals and academics in the local music industry are also on the agenda for Monday evening’s symposium. They are: producer, Cordel ‘Skatta’ Burrell; Cultural Studies scholar and lecturer, Dr Sonjah Stanley Niah;  Ewan Simpson, chairman of JaRIA, and popular disc jockey and radio personality, Colin ‘The Captain’ Hines.

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