Donovan Dacres makes honours list

Observer senior reporter

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

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FOR many of a certain age, the name Donovan Dacres conjures memories of the now defunct JBC FM, especially the long-running show Float On.

For his close to four decades on radio, Dacres is among the Jamaicans who will receive national honours at King's House on National Heroes' Day, October 15.

He will receive the Badge of Honour for Long and Faithful Service for his contribution to the music industry.

“I was fast asleep last Monday when a friend called me all excited saying she heard it on the radio that I was to receive a national award and telling me congratulations. I really started to believe when I received a text message from my boss telling me congratulations and then for the next few hours the phones just kept ringing as persons called to tell me congratulations, I am so elated and just giving thanks that I have been so blessed,” Dacres told the Jamaica Observer.

Music has always been part of his life, beginning with listening to the songs played by his parents and neighbours in east Kingston. He got his break at the JBC in the late 1970s when he was asked to sit in for a co-worker who went on leave.

“I first went to JBC to work as an engineer. It was (the late) Ossie Harvey who said to me, 'Come and learn the ropes in the production.' This was in the early 1980s... '82 or '83. One day I was asked to sit in for someone who would be off for three weeks. After those three weeks I was asked to continue for another month. When the person eventually came back, the head of the department said, 'We are not letting you go,' and there began my career in radio.”

Dacres believes he pioneered a new format on JBC FM which prided itself on the tagline, 'More music ... less talk' which was a style popular on the party scene. It made Float On the station's top programme, with its uninterrupted flow of soul and R&B music from the 1970s and early 1980s.

“For me, my impact was due to the fact that I brought the art of mixing to radio. I have the ability to equalise a beat and bring songs together that were never thought possible before. Back then the equipment we had was not like what they have now, so we had to have a good ear and technique to hear a beat and bring various songs together and make it flow,” Dacres explained.

“A lot of people come into radio these days as they see it as a stepping stone to becoming popular; that was never it for me. I don't go into studio and play, I have to put music together that comes together and flows.”

With decades of radio experience under his belt, Dacres has seen the evolution of Jamaican music up close. He is pleased with its present direction.

“It is going somewhere. Yes, there are persons who see it as a means to get out of their situations despite not having any talent, but there is hope in some of the new young talent. People like Chronixx and Kabaka Pyramid are doing great stuff,” he said.

“There are also some stalwarts who set and are maintaining the standards. Jamaican music still rocks the world.”

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