Spin check — Ricky Fresh

Observer writer

Friday, April 12, 2019

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This is the fourth in a 10-part series highlighting emerging and established sound system selectors. Today, the spotlight is on Manchester-based Jemmell “Ricky Fresh” Boswell, who has been playing music professionally for the past 10 years. He has done stints on sound systems such as WOW Entertainment and Shadrock Sound. He has also played at major events, including Nostalgia (Clarendon), Igloo (Ocho Rios) and Black Carpet (Manchester).

Kevin Jackson: How did you become a selector, and when and where was your first gig?

Ricky Fresh: It all began on the steps of my next-door neighbour's house. He had a sound system that I used to play in a community called Maidstone (in Manchester). After I moved to Mandeville, I got my first gig at a weekly dancehall session called Chicken Back Wednesdays. And from there, I did bar events, club gigs and street events.

KJ: How do you prepare for a gig?

Ricky Fresh: Normally, what I do is try to always stay current. I add different flavours and creativity to each genre of music that patrons can relate to.

KJ: If you weren't a selector, what would you be doing as a profession?

Ricky Fresh: Growing up, I used to do track and field at Bellefield High School. I was good at it, collected a lot of awards and medals. I even participated in Boys' Champs. After leaving high school, I started working and it was a bit hard to juggle doing track, so I ended up having a craving for music.

KJ: What is your take on the current state of Jamaican music?

Ricky Fresh: Music keeps evolving in the aspect of what is being produced. Even the sounds are different, based on what I hear. Music for an artiste in Jamaica is like the (US) embassy. If you get two years, try and capitalise on it.

KJ: What are your top five hottest songs at the moment?

Ricky Fresh: No Underwear by Dexta Daps, Good Ting by Ding Dong, Mark X and Axio by Ace Gawd, Humongous by Masicka, and Gucci Love by Ace Gawd.

KJ: What do you think about crime and violence in Jamaica and what solutions would you offer?

Ricky Fresh: My advice on this topic is to try to create avenues for work. Not everyone went to school, so if it's even to facilitate places where people can learn a trade or skill.

KJ: Reggae is 50 years old. Earlier this year, the Government recognised some of the artistes and persons who have been instrumental in the music over the years. What else do you think the Government can do to commemorate the milestone?

Ricky Fresh: In my view, I feel that just like how our national heroes are given traditional spotlight for their work, our artistes who have contributed significantly should also be awarded and recognised.

KJ: Was there any inspiration for you to become a selector?

Ricky Fresh: I always liked music, especially watching my friends at work. Therefore, I would say that my friends helped to push me.

KJ: The Kingston & St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) has stopped issuing permits for dances and events to be held in parking lots that they own. What do you think about this move and what suggestions would you offer to the KSAMC?

Ricky Fresh: A lot of things we don't have control over but what I can advise the KSAMC is if the parking lots can be used, try to facilitate them in a manner in which they can be used for events.

KJ: What advice would you give to aspiring selectors?

Ricky Fresh: Focus on the main picture. Create your own style as long as you're providing entertainment, and try to gain as much fans as you can.

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