It's Rodigan... Jamie Rodigan

It's Rodigan... Jamie Rodigan

Observer senior reporter

Sunday, March 29, 2020

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British broadcaster and reggae music enthusiast David Rodigan has made a name for himself over the past 50 years sharing the music of Jamaica with the world, but now his son Jamie is intent on blazing a path of his own while following in the footsteps of his iconic father.

Five years ago the now-34-year-old Jamie decided to pack in his nine-to-five, having graduated from Keele University in Manchester, England, with a degree in English and American Literature, and moved into music full-time, working as a songwriter, producer and of course a selector.

However, the younger Rodigan will readily admit that the change was a real no-brainer given that music was such a fundamental part of his childhood. He shared that in addition to his father being a broadcaster and selector there are other members of his family who are also musical, including grandparents. That has in turn spilled over into his siblings who are also into the music business.

Rodigan further noted that he was never daunted about stepping into the musical spotlight given the notoriety of his father, and never felt any pressure either way.

“It just felt very natural to me. I never paid any attention to who my father was, or felt threatened by his accomplishments. The truth is here in the UK I never really felt that kind of pressure to be compared to my father. He will always be my father and a great music man. He is an inspiring ear, and I can have great talks with him about music. We send each other songs and he is so open-minded when it comes to music that he is just a great resource for me to have,” he told the Jamaica in a telephone interview from his London home.

The young Rodigan never gets caught up in comparisons with his father, noting that they they both have distinctive styles and musical preferences.

“There isn't much we disagree on musically. I will say he isn't that into modern-day rap, whereas I'm a huge fan. His appreciation of rap perhaps stops at the late 90s. Where we agree is on what makes a good song. We both are strong on songs of substance, lyrical content is very important to to both of us. A good bass line is something we both appreciate In general, we are into music that can stand the test of flash in the pan thing. But while while his style is more classic reggae, my style is upfront dancehall, dubplates and new mixes. I am less heavy on reggae and more dancehall, afrobeat and jungle, he said.

With a Jamaican-born mother who has roots in Westmoreland and a father who has become an authority on the music, Rodigan remains very attuned to the music of the island and is liking the new sounds coming from the younger crop of Jamaican acts.

“I really like the new artistes...Lila Ike, Naomi Cowan, Runkus, Skillibeng. They are all bringing a fresh vibe and sound to the music, which I really like. Then there is the new breed from here in the UK such as G Mafia, Stylo G, Steflon Don and Big Zeeks, who are just helping to build dancehall up from levels where man like Tippa Irie took it years ago. Technology and the Internet is really helping to make the world a smaller place, and it is great that we can all share the music and culture is such a great way.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed Rodigan's ability to play live gigs in the UK at this time, but he is using social media platforms to stay in touch with his constituents by hosting live sessions playing the music he loves.

He has a few go-to artistes, depending on his mood.

If he is happy, then its a track from deejay Vybz Kartel; and when he is feeling down and in need of some upliftment he draws on a track from the late conscious crooner Garnett Silk.

When asked to suggest a song to get the world through the current pandemic, Rodigan drew from the catalogue of current hit-maker Chronixx.

“I would have to say Skankin Sweet by Chronixx. It is such a great tune that has the ability to lift spirits and give hope,” he noted.

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