Keeping apace with Cham

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter

Friday, June 29, 2012

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IN a world where deejays come and go at a rapid pace, Cham believes his staying power in the industry is primarily due to the high quality of his music.

The deejay is currently experiencing a resurgence in his popularity locally, thanks to two tracks — Wine and Tun Up — which feature his wife Ophelia (aka O).

But, the deejay tells the Jamaica Observer that although his has not had a hit locally in some time, he has always been able to stay on the road performing and keeping in contact with his fan base.

"The truth is people love Cham," he states confidently. " I think it comes down to the quality and timelessness of my music and how I present myself on stage. Then there are ladies," he adds, bursting into laughter.

Cham contributes this timeless and consistent musical content to the work of master producer Dave Kelly, with whom he has maintained a close working relations from his earliest days on the Jamaican dancehall scene.

"Dave Kelly and I have a chemistry... it's just the right connection," he explains. "He's like a chess player. If we sit in the studio and come up with 10 songs, he will be able to make that right move and pick the hit track — it was his idea to put O on Wine, and we all can see what has happened with that." Cham says.

But does the artiste born Damian Beckett, who is now a man in his 30s, feel he can still compete in the dancehall game?

"There is no question about it. I can compete with the best of today's deejays," he offers confidently. "Again it comes down to the quality of my music and stage presentation."

But the deejay is quick to admit that he, along with his team have had to change tactics and adapt to the changing music market in order to effectively compete.

"The business is changing. It's different than when I started nearly 20 years ago. So Team Cham has to do the homework and find ways to capitalise on the changes in the market, because no matter how much change takes place, there are ways to survive."

The deejay who hails from Sherlock Crescent in St Andrew says he makes use of all types of new media — Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Instagram — to ensure that he is constantly in touch with his supporters.

As for the coming months Cham says time is now being devoted to coming up with a single specifically for O.

"Tun Up is really her track, but I'm in it to provide some support. So what we are working on is a single that is all hers."

As for shows, Cham is currently in Trinidad, but will return to the island for the Portland Jerk Festival on Sunday. It's then on to Reggae Sumfest. He last performed at that Montego Bay music festival in 2008. He notes that his summer engagements also include a string of overseas gigs.

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