Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Reggae-dancehall artiste Ce'Cile recently returned from Spain, where she co-headlined Rototom Festival with international reggae artiste Alborosie. The songstress performed an extended set which comprised of new and archetypal reggae songs from her catalogue to over 30,000 patrons, who tuned in like patient children in a reggae classroom.
Fresh from that experience, the artiste now feels the Jamaican music industry needs a revamp. She believes local stage shows are mostly focused on the hype instead of the art.
According to the I'm Waiting singer, when performing in Jamaica, entertainers are forced to leave their comfort zones in order to please the audience. Therefore, instead of settling on-stage and delivering a solid set of real music, artistes are expected to be comedic, explicit or controversial to be regarded as top performers. This, she believes is bad for the music industry.
"When I am making music, I have to understand that I am not only making music for Jamaica, but for the world. The thing is if you perform on Rototom and you perform well, then you come to Jamaica and do the same good performance in Jamaica, the media will say yuh flop, and that is because of the things they expect you to do," she said.
Ce'Cile wants the Jamaican music industry to strive to for an international standard at all times. She says based on her observation, some performances Jamaicans deem good would not have been accepted on the international scene.
The artiste admitted that she succumbed to the demands of Jamaican audience in some of her performances before. However, she yearns for a shift in the approach taken by Jamaican music enthusiasts and media as it relates to what they expect from local performers.
Look for quality
According to Ce'Cile, persons should not be going to events just to see who will 'tek di show', but to listen to musical quality, to appreciate the art and to be inspired.
"In Jamaica, we only push one type of stuff and we need to change that. Also, we need to ensure that our artistes are singing on key and refrain from focusing on the slackness and what is hot now. Some things they regard as being current, people in Europe aren't going to pay their money to see that," she said.
She also said artistes on the local scene should focus on building a solid catalogue because in international reggae and dancehall markets, two and three popular songs are not sufficient to please thousands.
"It's not everybody acrobatic or can do gymnastics on stage and not everybody wants that either. Also, I think what attracts 20,000 patrons to a Rototom is because they have variety. Locally, they don't have that variety of acts on shows. They use the same artistes. It needs to be a case where different people may attend your event to be entertained," Ce'Cile said.
The artiste believes promoters are limiting the capacity for Jamaican youth to appreciate veterans because they are mostly being exposed to material from the new crop of entertainers.
"I would love to bring the media with me on tour so they can see what is taking place in the world because we are focusing too much on who tek show and losing sight of the real art," she said.
Ce'Cile has done Rototom Sunsplash Festival twice before. She also performed to 35,000 patrons at the Antillean Festival in Belize, as well as Fest in the Park in Belgium and Kinte Festival in Germany, among others. She also advises artistes to market themselves using the various social networking tools, rather than waiting on local media to boost their international presence.