Career & Education

Sunday, May 12, 2019

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Often, it's fathers' footsteps in which boys follow. 

Not so for entertainment business owner Kevan Stewart. He is every bit Patricia Berton's son, sharing her love for music and building a career in the same industry in which she plied her craft decades earlier.

Stewart, 36, is the proprietor of Jamaica Wedding DJ which offers disc jock and emcee services. There, he gets to capitalise on his hobby – mixing music and entertaining audiences — with a business model he inherited from mom.

“My mother was a bartender and disc jock at Bottle Inn Disco when it was 'the' spot in Montego Bay for going out and partying. She had a collection of vinyls that she would play in the club and I was drawn to her technique and how she could make the crowd move. She also worked at a bar by Cornwall Beach and whenever I came to Montego Bay during the holidays, I would go to work with her until I would start to help to play other dates,” he told the Jmaica Observer.

Berton was a popular disc jock in Montego Bay during the 80s and 90s and one of few women in the industry.

Stewart fondly recalls how she taugh him how to mix on her days off.

“On her free days, she would buy cassettes and she would set up her turntables on the outside of the house and record mixes. It was these times that sparked by interest even more,” he said.

“While she was abroad, she would get bookings and I would have to go and play. This was my early 'buss' in the industry where I was able to hone my talent. I love to see the reaction of how music influences people's behaviour when they're at a party or any event. I like to see people smiling, getting excited and dancing; and music can do that,” Stewart added.

The businessman, who is the first of 12 children for his parents, does concede that his career choice had some degree of influence from his father Leroy who operated a wedding supply store, but he credits his mother with honing his skills.

“I came to appreciate the intricacies of running a business when I understudied my father for some time in his trade while we lived in Manchester. So, essentially, I learned from what I saw my father do and combined it with both my passion and what my mother taught me to launch the ventures I run today,” he told Career & Education.

In addition to Jamaica Wedding DJ, Stewart is managing director of two other businesses in the local hospitality sector: Reggae Tech Limited — billed as a one-stop shop for the production of special events — and House of Flowers Décor, which specialises in floral services paired with “one-of-a-kind luxury events”.

“My mother still plays an active role in my life and in my business interests and I will forever be grateful to her for the encouragement and push start she gave me in life,” said Stewart, now a father of two.

He disclosed that his broad objective as an entrepreneur is to use his skills to enhance the production of special events, and the general entertainment sector in the island. To that end, he is working on expanding his businesses, which currently employ close to 20 Jamaicans, and he has plans to open a training institute next year.

“My goal is to make an indelible mark on Jamaica's hospitality industry through foresight and first-hand experience,” said he.
Several of Stewart's siblings are also small business owners.

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