Joe pins hope on vaccine

Joe pins hope on vaccine

Observer writer

Monday, February 22, 2021

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Josef Bogdanovich, CEO of Downsound Records (DSR) and principal of Reggae Sumfest, believes the distribution of vaccination is critical before the safe reopening of the entertainment sector is undertaken.

The American-born music executive and businessman shared his views with the Jamaica Observer in an exclusive interview.

“Vaccination is the key. The Government is doing their part, the private sector is doing theirs and individually new opportunities are here. Choose wisely,” said Bogdanovich.

Recently, the Government announced that Jamaica is expected to begin administering the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine this month, two months ahead of the scheduled April roll-out announced late last year. Between 146,400 and 249,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines will be administered some 125,000 Jamaicans.

In recent times, a number of players have been calling for the reopening of the entertainment sector. It is estimated that the local sector has lost more than $40 billion.

Bogdanovich said the pandemic has severly affected his operations.

“It's been a very real test on how one will move forward in the future. The new normal is continuing to differentiate the winners from the losers,” Bogdanovich told the Observer.

With the local COVID-19 confirmed cases passing the 20,000 mark with nearly 400 deaths recorded, Bogdanovich was asked if the the uptick would pose a setback for reopening discussions.

“It's already a shocking status. COVID-19 has crippled the world and it will be interesting to see if one country comes out on top. But this too will pass. Stay active. Stay safe,” he said.

Well known in entertainment circles, Bogdanovich always had a passion for music and entertainment. It's that desire that fuelled him to launch the careers of numerous artistes, scoring countless chart-topping hits and seen his involvement in several businesses in Jamaica.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Bogdanovich earned a BA in Film at Boston University and later a Master in Fine Arts Degree at the California Institute of the Arts.

During the mid-1990s, Bogdanovich's foray on the Jamaican music scene began when he formed Downsound Records in Los Angeles, California. A label that scored a major chart hit From the Ghetto by rapper Dread Flimstone and later on Lukie D's cover of Use to be My Girl featuring Lt Stitchie.

Other hit songs included True Reflections and Great Men by Jah Cure, Mi Salt by I Maroon, Lucky You by Nanko, Hail Di King by Fantan Mojah, Street Hustle by Specialist and Ishawna and World Peace by Nature.

Through the Downsound Entertainment Group, Bogdanovich made a major move in 2016 when he acquired the rights to Reggae Sumfest. Prior to that investment, he gave marketing and financial support to the 2012 and 2013 staging of Sting.

Bogdanovich is a major shareholder of the KLE Group, operators of the Usain Bolt Tracks & Records. He is also the co-owner of the R Hotel, the first extended-stay hotel in Kingston, and a major shareholder in Prosper Limited, a company that makes loans available for small business operators.

With the novel coronavirus pandemic affecting the livelihoods of many persons, especially those who have lost their jobs, Downsound Entertainment, with the support of corporate entities such as Grace, Pepsi, Pure Country, Hardware and Lumber, KLE and many others, gave back to more than 3,000 families across the island last year.

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