BY CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON Observer staff reporter email@example.com
AMERICAN singer/songwriter Ne-Yo says he intends to unearth and give international exposure to new talent from Jamaica, the country that gave the world reggae music.
The platinum-selling artiste made the announcement at a news conference at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday where he launched Compound Island, the Caribbean version of his label Compound Entertainment.
"Reggae music is global music; you can go anywhere to hear it. You can go to Australia and hear it," said Ne-Yo.
Compound Island, he said, will give fresh talent from Jamaica a chance to showcase their skills through an online talent search.
Ne-Yo's manager, Tishawn Gayle, in stating their reason for choosing Jamaica, said that it was the ideal location for Compound Island due to the country's strong musical heritage and continued influence on contemporary music.
"We chose Jamaica because of its rich legacy of producing some of the world's biggest recording artistes, be it in notoriety or album sales," said Gayle.
He stated that Jamaica had a heavy influence on the music industry when it comes to setting trends and said his company was also about teaching the business of entertainment.
To kick-start the label, Compound will be hosting a series of parties in Negril over the Emancipation weekend.
Ne-Yo, who was in the island for Caribbean Fashion Week, used the opportunity to experience some of the capital city's entertainment offerings at Mojito Mondays and Uptown Monday.
With a big grin, Ne-Yo told Splash that he had a ball at both events.
He also enjoyed the local cuisine, naming jerked chicken as his favourite.
In the weeks leading up to his Emancipation weekend parties, Ne-Yo said he will concentrate on his other projects, among them the launch his own trendy headwear in September.
"The line will be called Ellargo," he told Splash during an exclusive interview.
Occupying his time also is his fifth album, a follow-up to his last project Libra Scale.
"I don't have a title for it yet, and I've not identified the tracks, but it should be ready by September," he shared, adding that he is also working on two more projects -- the 2012 movie Red Tails, which tells the story of the first African American pilots to fly in a combat squadron during World War II; and a collaboration with the Cartoon Network entitled I Love Tuesday which is now in the production stage and should be ready in a few months.