Shaggy – Time for Caribbean-styled Grammy awards

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Jamaican reggae and rap star, Shaggy, believes the Caribbean must build its own Grammy awards to honour and recognise regional artistes. In a one-on-one interview with Guardian Media yesterday, Orville Richard Burrell, who is popularly known by his stage name, Shaggy, also said the time has come for soca to no longer be a seasonal genre of music.

Last week, soca artiste Machel Montano said he believes he has the key to taking soca to the Grammys and other international award shows. When asked about the potential of such an undertaking, Shaggy told Guardian Media it is certainly not impossible but pushed the idea of the Caribbean honouring its own artistes.

He said, “We should get to a point where we start doing our own Caribbean-type Grammy following in the same footsteps as the Latin guys where they created what is known as a Latin Grammy. Within the Latin culture, there are different styles. There is reggaeton, bachata and all these different styles of music. I think if we come with a Caribbean-style Grammy instead of a dancehall Grammy, reggae Grammy or soca Grammy and instead just create a Caribbean Grammy where our music will be able to compete instead of just one style of music.”

As soca returned in scintillating style this year following two years of no carnival activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Shaggy warned the local industry the genre must transform from something that is right now too seasonal.

Shaggy, who was awarded the Order of Distinction in Jamaica in 2007, said, “I think one of the big things that has become a ceiling for soca music is that seasonal type of thing where they feel it’s only in a season. So when we did Mood with me and Kes, I was in that feel good mood cause this is the land and the culture of feel good and that should not be a season, it should be year-round. You don’t have to feel good just for a season, and the minute we move that whole seasonal thing from soca, I think you definitely have a shot of doing crossover success.”

He emphasised that Caribbean artistes have to work harder than those in developed countries to make it internationally and that is something not to be underestimated.

Shaggy explained, “These majors are spending around $100k or $5m, so to speak, on a roll out on any one particular act. We don’t have that privilege so we have to make up our mind as Jamaican and Caribbean artistes to really realise if we really want our music to go we have to work 10 times harder with 10 times less and get 10 times less sleep and make music 10 times better, just to even have a shot. And once we have that mindset then we’re certainly on our way.”

Shaggy featured as part of Kes’ IzWE concert that took place on Tuesday night at the Brian Lara Cricket Academy. Having enjoyed his performance in the southlands, Shaggy is now looking forward to relaxing in the twin-island a bit before leaving.

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