Gramps Morgan
Gramps Morgan encourages artistes to adopt best practices from those who went before

THE rich and diverse history of Jamaica's music industry is a virtual blueprint which is available to modern-day musicians to follow. That is the feeling of Grammy-winning reggae act Gramps Morgan, who is encouraging more of today's artistes to look at what has been done before for lessons in order to more the music forward.

“We keep trying to reinvent the wheel, that the biggest problem right now. Take a look at the past... 90s dancehall music is still being requested and played all over the world. What were they doing at that time to take dancehall music to the world? You will always hear a Beres [Hammond] and Bob Marley wherever you go... what makes those artistes have the longevity and reach the people that they do? That is what we must study so that we can continue this tradition that these artistes set, instead of every time we are drawing for something new and gaining very little or nothing at all,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

He further noted that there are countless Jamaican acts who have so much potential to develop and reach that next level but never do so, as they are not ready to listen and learn from those who have gone before.

“I could name a lot of artistes who have everything to make it as a superstar based on talent but never figure out that missing piece to take them to that next level. There are so many artistes who have been there and are ready to prepare those who have the potential, if only they are ready to listen. A lot of these young artistes often sit and criticise instead of taking a page out of the books of those who went before. Just look at the impact that Shaggy has had on Spice's career. That is what I am talking about, and where we should be heading as an industry,” he said.

Morgan, who is among this year's list of nominees for Best Reggae Album at the Grammy Awards for his project Positive Vibration, noted that this solo album does not mean he has left his “day job” with the sibling band Morgan Heritage, but is rather an exploration of individual projects.

“No man, my day job with Morgan Heritage is intact. Right now we are just securing the band's catalogue because right now we have about 1000 songs. A lot of these songs are not popular so we working on bringing some of these into the limelight. Like I said, we have looked in the past and taken a page out of the Marley book and so we are putting the business in order. Some people are out there getting all excited about recording and never receive a cheque. This is also a business, so we are protecting our brand — just like the Marley family,” he shared.

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter

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