Western artiste alliance coming?

MONTEGO BAY, St James — Montego Bay-based Reggae crooner Mackie Conscious and upcoming recording act Shandy Man are among the artistes from western Jamaica advocating for the business sector to pump money into the music industry here and harness musical talents who might not be afforded the opportunity to migrate to Kingston where the music industry is headquartered.

The artistes are of the view that talent in western Jamaica is falling along the wayside as they are constantly being sidelined for their peers in Kingston.

"First of all, for the artistes to get recognised out of western Jamaica is a very difficult task because I used to be one to think that they are fighting against western Jamaica artistes until I get to a realisation that the music business is headquartered in Kingston," argued Mackie Conscious. " First you need investors in the music business. A few people set up a studios here but most of them are not producers".

Mackie Conscious who is noted for penning and singing a number of tunes including such as What If, Cellular Phone and Should I Run, wants established producers to set up branches in Montego Bay to hone musical talent in western Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Shandy Man who is currently promoting his latest release, Smile Mama Smile, proposes an alliance of western Jamaica's artistes in a bid to secure a slice of the gains in the music industry, especially stage show billing.

"We have major, major shows here in western Jamaica and yet it's only a few artistes from the west are contracted for these shows. Why? Because gifted performers are not given the opportunity to blossom here. They have to migrate to Kingston to get recognition," rued Shandy Man, who is a cabaret singer on the North Coast circuit.

But, while Mackie Conscious concurs that "an alliance is essential" among the artistes, he expressed that "more than that is needed". He encouraged artistes to unite and end the "crab in the barrel" mentality.

"There is no doubt about the talents that exist here. Some of the greatest musicians playing in the all the bands are from western Jamaica, but we need to stop the bashing of each other," advised Mackie Conscious.

By HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter

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