Record label pushing artistes in central Jamaica
IN the 1990s, Manchester was the epicentre of dancehall's roots-revival.
Mandeville-based Zionnoiz Freeze Records has its sights on once again making central Jamaica a major market.
The three-year-old production company is run by 28-year-old Sanjay Pennant, Norris Griffiths, 47, Hasani Jones, 28, and Manuel Sieber who is based in Munich, Germany.
Their aim is to help expose artistes from central Jamaica.
"We are firm in our commitment to produce music that accentuates melodious and catchy lyrics that deliver positive messages," Pennant told Splash.
To date, Zionnoiz Freeze Records has worked with a number of artistes from Manchester and Clarendon including Laden, Jah Mason, newcomers Dahlia, Ray Tay, Leonardo, Regal, Don Rican, Libran, Saige and Ngeno.
They have also produced songs by Biggaton, Sipple Steppa, Khago, Bounty Killer, Kalado, T.O.K, Voicemail, Laza Morgan, Blak Ryno, Masicka, Jahmiel, Konshens, Nature, Peter Morgan, Bugle, Serani and Iyara.
Jones, also known as DJ Sani, is the son of late disc jockey Michael 'Mighty Mike' Jones of Irie FM. He says being part of a fledgling rural label can be tough.
"It was very difficult as young producers to get exposure for our work. Most radio personalities don't pay much attention unless you already have one foot through the door," he said. "However, there are others willing to support once its good music. And with us, it's never short of that."
The label has released one-off singles by Konshens (Bounce Like a Ball), Laden (Gal Professional), Charly Black (Position), QQ (Pretty and Cute), Dahlia and Masicka (Mad Ova Mi) and Jah Mason (A Home).
Pennant attended Decarteret College and Knox Community College, before studying data communication at the University of Technology. He is a songwriter and engineer.
Jones is Zionnoiz Freeze's A&R man while Griffiths, who is also from Mandeville, is responsible for voice training, recording and editing.
Sieber, who is executive producer, focuses on management.
Pennant is pleased with the label's progress to date.
"It was difficult to gain access to the major artistes in the Corporate Area as we operate from central Jamaica. However, the hard work paid off as our quality now attracts a lot of artistes," he said.
Just over 20 years ago, it was the Kingston producers who looked to central Jamaica for talent. Garnet Silk, Tony Rebel, Yasus Afari, Everton Blender, Kulcha Knox and Utan Green were some of the acts who signaled a roots renaissance from that region.