H.E.R. Calls On Reggae Artists For Her New EP

Grammy Award-winning soul singer H.E.R. has landed in Jamaica as she works on an upcoming reggae-inspired EP as well as a song on DJ Khaled’s upcoming album “Khaled Khaled.”

The soulful singer who collaborated with Bob Marley’s grandson Skip Marley on their hit song “Slow Down” which was nominated for a Grammy, said her EP will feature other reggae artists from within the island.

“Me and DJ Khaled have a song together that I’m really excited for people to hear, and he wanted to shoot the video here. My EP that I’ll be releasing is gonna feature a lot of reggae artistes. It’s gonna be dope,” she said to local newspaper, Jamaica Observer.

H.E.R says after making “Slow Down” she was inspired to make Reggae music, especially since she has always loved the genre.

“I felt like Slow Down was one song that made me even want to dive into reggae even deeper. I’ve always loved reggae, and now I’m about to do a whole reggae project,” she began. “My EP is definitely coming this year. I’m still finishing it up and making sure its great before releasing it.”

“Slow Down” was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B song. The song was among several nominations for H.E.R. (acronym for Having Everything Revealed), who was born Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson at the Grammys. She eventually walked away with Song of the Year for 2021 for her song “I can’t breathe.”

The song was centered around the Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd, whose last words were “I can’t breathe,” as a police officer Derek Chauvin kept his knees on his neck for nine minutes. An ongoing trial of Chauvin has found that his actions led to the death of Floyd.

According to H.E.R, the ensuing protests and social upheaval weighed heavy on her, and the win for her song was unexpected.

“It’s such a big deal and an honour. I didn’t expect to win it, and there were so many amazing artistes in the same category. When I heard the announcement, I was super surprised. The [song’s] message, it really came from my own personal anxiety and looking at the world around me and my perspective of the world and what was going on in the summer of 2020 and the protests in America,” she said.

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“I couldn’t really believe that people listened to the song and it gave them perspective. It really means the world to me just because it’s an important message and also very personal to me.”

Meanwhile, H.E.R has not revealed who the artists are who will feature on her EP, but it seems likely that DJ Khaled is lining up the links among the best of Reggae and Dancehall. The EP is expected to be released later this year.

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Dancehall Artist Khago Awarded $763K In Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor Lawsuit

Khago has won a major lawsuit against his former producer as the artiste has been awarded U$800,000 in damages against Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor.

The damages claimed were part of a countersuit against McGregor, who is the principal of Streaminn Hub Inc, in a South Florida court presided by district judge Jose E Martinez last month.

The wife and manager of the artiste, Francine Gayle, has confirmed Khago’s win and says they are happy and relieved that the case is now over. “Khago is very happy for the fact that out of all that has happened; we have gotten the final judgment. It’s been a long time’ we have waited for how long it took. Finally, the victory is here. To God be the glory, great things he hath done,” she said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor and his lawyer failed to attend the final hearing, but the judgment was handed down in spite of their absence. The judgment also included an order by the court that McGregor was to cease marketing of Khago’s music, and using his likeness, images on any platform in addition to the damages.

The breakdown of the damages includes U$300,000 in statutory damages for copyright infringement, US$99,568.59 for compensatory damages for tortious interference with business relationships, and US$ 65,352.00 in reasonable expenses and attorney’s fees, which all rounded off to US$763,626.36.

The lawsuit stemmed from a dispute between Khago and McGregor, whose business was hired to recoup royalties for Khago in the United States. McGregor eventually took Khago to court for fraud, breach of contract, defamation of character, and copyright infringement in 2018. The two fell out over Khago’s albums “Spirit, Walk a Mile and Dancehall Soca.”

McGregor’s claim was thrown out in 2020, and Khago then filed a countersuit. Gayle said that the lawsuit brings to the fore the need for artists to know the business of music not only from their performance side but earning passive income from their talent.

“Apart from enjoying the benefits of an artiste, know the business or find a reputable person or entity that can advise you. Music in Jamaica is not done in a professional way. People jus’ guh inna a studio and guh drop a track. They don’t know about their splits; about registering for royalties or copyright; about publishing. Basically, you just voice and walk away. Yet, your music is selling on all the platforms and you don’t even know how you’re going to get your money — How much per cent belongs to you and how much per cent supposed to go to the producer. You have to know the business and you have to know this. This is something he [Khago] learned, this is not a hobby. It’s a career.”

Meanwhile, the artist is set to open a studio in Manchester, Jamaica, in late March. He shot to fame after joining the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s independence contest, where he placed third for his song “If You Know.”

His hits include “Nah Sell Out,” which led to him snatching various local and overseas awards.

Chimney Records’ Jordan McClure Challenge Dancehall Producers To Revive “Jugglin”

Can Jordan Chimney revive “Jugglin” in dancehall with his latest push?

When dancehall began to take prominence in the Caribbean in the 80s and 90s, one of the major contributing factors was the juggling culture. The art helped to promote more dancehall and, in some cases, even introduced never-before-heard tracks and artists that went on to do well. A lot has changed since then, and juggling has taken a back seat, at least when compared to its heyday. Music producer Jordan McClure of the Jamaica-based Chimney Records believes it’s time to revamp the culture.

The producer is well-known and is the man behind some of the most popular riddims, like the Country Bus Riddim in 2015 and the Toll Road Riddim in 2016. McClure first highlighted the issue of the dying artform using Instagram. He posted a video sharing his thoughts on the matter and captioned it “Coworkers and producers of dancehall/reggae music #JugglinChallenge.”

Following his two cents on the matter, he also spoke with the Jamaica Observer, where he expounded on the topic. His main goal is to see more unity among the dancehall fraternity. He explained that he believes egos have gotten in the way of the growth of the genre, and this has also negatively affected the art of juggling.

“My intention for this challenge is to develop the ‘jugglin’ culture which we in the dancehall/reggae industry have created and nurtured over a number of years. I do not in anyway think it is a dead culture, however, we have allowed our differences and egos to affect its progress and effectiveness,” he said.

It’s one of the best ways that the artform can be displayed, he added. “Jugglin’ is something that allows us as a genre to showcase different talents and styles of music – all on one platform [rhythm],” he continued.

As such, he has issued a challenge to his peers to try and deliver at least one juggling project this year, 2021. While he knows it takes a lot longer to produce projects of this type, he noted that only a month and a half of the year has passed, so there is still ample time left to get it done. The challenge comes due to his personal observations, he added. He also said that while speaking with artists and producers alike, they had raised the same issue several times.

“Over the last few years, I have had many conversations with lots of our producers, artistes and other industry players who have also expressed concerns about this particular issue. It is something that many of us have noticed and would like to see moving in a more positive direction,” he said.

He went on to share that he had also noticed, from his own personal experience, that just one juggling effort had been enough to benefit the careers of so many different talents. This, he added, wasn’t limited to just Chimney Records. What is really needed at this point is a common understanding, he continued.

“I believe what is missing is common understanding and common vision, and because there are so many talented people in this industry I believe everyone is proving that they can do it on their own – which is true now with the access we all have to technology and social media – however when we combine forces I feel like we can achieve a lot more,” he explained.

He also shared that so far, the response has been positive, something he’s appreciative of as he hopes that his rallying call will help ignite a new fire for the juggling artform.

“The response so far has been great. Lots of people have reposted and replied to it saying positive things; many of the people I mentioned have indicated their support and intention to participate,” he added.

He’s not just issuing the challenge but is also taking part in it. He revealed that he and his team at Chimney Records intend to put all of their effort behind producing jugglin’ for 2021. He added that this was not some fleeting challenge and that they intended to meet it head-on.

“As I said in my post, this is not a typical challenge like an Instagram or TikTok challenge. It is more a call to action for myself and my coworkers to make an effort to improve this part of the industry, which will ultimately benefit us all. Therefore, Chimney Records will be participating the same as everyone – produce some more jugglin,’” he said.

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