Small artistes ‘tun it up’
FIVE years ago when Marlon Wright made the decision to start a ‘cloudbased Internet radio station’, he stressed priority airplay for emerging acts.
In a recent interview with Splash, Wright said he and his team of disc jockeys have accomplished that and more since officially launching Tun It Up.com in 2011.
In addition to exposing the music of artistes, such as Khalilah Rose, Jah Remz, Jamaican Carlos, Richie Innocent, Iya Ingi, Derajah and Nastic Rastafari, Wright stressed that he operates a payola-free format.
"It has worked very well; the music by these artistes is often very good. I would even say that the lyrics are often better than what I hear on most FM stations," said Wright. "These men and women put their heart, soul and talent into their music, and you can hear it. Since many unestablished artistes don’t have access to the resources they need to enter [the] mainstream, I provide a venue where they can be heard."
The 39-year-old Wright, who is from Whithorn, Westmoreland, credits these fresh sounds for Tun It Up.com’s over two million listeners daily. Most of them are from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Europe.
A benefit for the largely unknown acts heard on the station is a listener poll that guarantees the most popular songs power play.
"For example, the listening community voted French singer HOSNY GMB as one of the best singles. Therefore, we give the people what they want and play his song at least 25 times a day for two weeks," Wright explained. "Another poll will be sent out and a new artiste will be selected for heavy rotation."
Tun It Up.com’s current cast of disc jockeys are Gina Kay out of Nashville, Tennessee; Ajay Loaknauth aka Curry Don from Queens, New York; DJ Ripe Breadfruit, also in New York; DJ Culture Rock in New Zealand; and Jamaica-based Mixup Barri, DJ Fyah Stain, Level Up, DJ Lexx, and Howard ‘Dr Worries’ Hendricks.
Hendricks, a music industry stalwart who lives in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, is the most experienced of the team with 35 years on radio.
Wright migrated to the United States in 1988 and later served in the army. In 2008 he got involved in broadcasting.
He is principal of Cyber-Leaf Entertainment in Stony Point, New York.
— Howard Campbell