Cham, Dave Kelly COLLAB IN THE WORKSSaturday, July 24, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Cham is currently working on new material in preparation for the release on an upcoming project spearheaded by his longtime collaborator, producer Dave Kelly. Unable to give a time frame for the release of the project, he said that retired sprint king-turned-music producer Usain Bolt and his team will also feature in the mix.
Kelly has produced some of dancehall's most influential rhythms, including Joyride, Showtime, Fiesta, and 85.
Cham is currently one of the featured acts on Bolt's Clockwork rhythm. His song, Lockdown, has been added to the playlists of international media outlets including MTV, BET and REVOLT.
Cham, in an interview with the Jamaica Observer, said that the current pandemic has had a truly negative impact on his creative process and so he had to dig deep to produce the track for Bolt's project.
“It wasn't the best time for me creatively for sure. You find that when you are writing and creating, everything that I was thinking about felt like the pandemic and I didn't want to come with a project where everything feels like [that]... you wanted to have some light moments, happy moments. The pandemic just made you think about everything that was going wrong in the world. At one point, I had to shut off the news. I gave the news a break for like three to four months because there was nothing uplifting, it was all depressing. And when you're trying to create in a depressing environment...(shakes head).”
Cham, however, noted that the period allowed for introspection.
He noted that during the nearly 18 months of lockdown allowed him time to be with himself and learn to live within his own space, something he was not accustomed to given his life as a touring artiste.
“A lot of us didn't know we could stay in our homes for a day, much less and week and months. So it kinda make you look into yourself a little bit.”
“You just basically learn how to pivot. Structure your business a little different in terms of how you prioritise certain things. A lot of the things you took for granted.... for example, when we on tour, we just want it to finish so we can go home. Now we are at home for over a year, almost two years, it's the little things that we appreciate a little more. It might sound cliche, but you really have to take everything like there is no tomorrow. We all witnessed what happened within the last one and a half year,” Cham added.
One of the things the Sherlock Crescent deejay has a lot more respect and appreciation for is time spent with family. He noted that due to the pandemic, he was not able to see his mother whom he noted often travels with him on tours. However, he drew strength from his own family.
“You just learned to embrace your surroundings. So we spent so much time in the backyard... pool life. It's just the simple things. Not like it a million dollars. Simply some fish on the grill, chicken on the grill, play some music. At one point, I was the house DJ. I bought the equipment and was doing my thing and they were there enjoying themselves. Kinda just took it as it is. Those are the moments you will cherish, and in those moments you realise how important family is. Even though you say it and you know it is important and you work for them, but in those moment you kinda need them more. For all the years you have been the breadwinner, you have been the one that they look to, I was used to being on the road every week, now they became my support or probably I woulda go crazy,” Cham shared.
With the gradual reopening of entertainment spaces, the deejay is back on the road performing amidst the new normal, but he shared that in this environment he has begun to see the importance of what he does to the overall mental well-being of his audience.
“Every show since we've been back on the road from the last week of May has been sold out. Everyone wants to get out, even if it means wearing masks. We did a concert where they had sections. So you couldn't just buy one ticket, it had to be five, six so you got your section. So it was you and your people together and it worked. At least people were out in the world, and you know concerts and music are basically used to relieve stress. A lot of people work all week and they are stressed. You don't know what's going on at work or home and they use these concerts to get rid of what is going on. For that one hour, 90 minutes, two hours everything is pretty like the city, I'm sitting on top of the world and nothing matters. You have people that need that. It's not everybody who can go through with the sad, gloom and grey. For those who can without tipping over the edge, we salute them. So people need that outlet, “ Cham stated.
Cham (given name Damian Beckett) began his career in the early 1990s. He is known for hits including Many Many, Gallang Yah Gal, Vitamin S, and Another Level, featuring Bounty Killer.
Since the beginning of his career, he has been associated with Kelly, who produced his previous albums WoW... The Story (2000) and Ghetto Story (2006).
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