Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Friday | June 17, 2011
Home : Entertainment
Beach trip leads to music management
Dusty White (left) and Jahmeekye. - Contributed
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

Negril's famed white-sand beach has the reputation of being a dream vacation spot for Jamaicans and non-Jamaicans, but for artiste Jahmeekye it may have just turned out to be a beach of fulfilled musical dreams.

It was the unlikely location for an initial meeting between the man from St Ann and Dusty White from Idaho, USA, which will result in his first trip to the US in July, when he will perform in Oregon.

White met Jahmeekye last year while she was vacationing in Negril. "What brought me into management, I was sitting on the beach in April 2010 and I was four or five days from going back. And this young man came walking down the beach with noni and bitters in one hand and in the other he had his CDs. We started to chat. Before the conversation was finished, he gave me a CD," White said.

She played the CD shortly afterwards and, White said, "when the first song started I knew this young man had to be heard".

White had his number and called him, then went back to the US, going through Oregon, Idaho and Washington, where she "played his music, sold a few albums". She returned to Jamaica and has been here since, officially managing Jahmeekye.

Independent entrepreneur

Jahmeekye said he met White on his second trip to Negril, the first made about two months before. In addition to music, he said, "I am an independent entrepreneur. The kind of medicine I sell sells fast down there." He met White on the first day of his Negril visit and said when he gave White the CD "my number and everything was on it, so it was left to her to make the decision".

"She called me a few days after that day on the beach," he said.

Jahmeekye did not have a manager before and, assessing their professional relationship, said "very seldom you find people so wholeheartedly interested in other people, so give thanks for the link."

White, an American, said "I have always loved reggae". However, doing it as a business was not on her radar. "The business I did for 32 years was very physical," she said. She worked as a road vendor, setting up and pulling down her booth as required to move on to the next location. "I was in a trailer and all over the US. Before that I drove a semi truck for 14 years," she said.

Her stance is that "business is business. It is just learning the links and the connections and working through this part of the business." White pointed out that she has made most of her music connections in the US through persons in Jamaica.

Jahmeekye had been pushing his music for a long time before meeting White. He wrote his first single, Free Your Mind, in 2000, that recording produced by John McTaggart. He also entered the Reggae Trail Talent Search around the same time and tied for first place from a field of 32. Last December he was 11th from 107 entrants in the first round of the Rebel Salute talent search, ahead of the 2011 staging of the festival.

On June 25, he performs in Savanna-la-Mar for the organisation Youths Against Crime, Disunity and Violence.

He also has an album, Spread Your Love, which includes Heartache and Pain (produced by Vincent Sinclair), No Money, No Honey (produced by Jerome Young) and Can't Be Trusted (produced by Buba). And he is also working on a new album, Spiritual Vibrations. The single Don't Shoot was sparked by police killings in St Ann and Negril and another recent single is Excursion Ride.

Progress in the process

Among Jahmeekeye's more recent performances have been Spring Break in Negril, the Curry Festival in Savanna-la-Mar and the Montego Bay Jerk Fest. He has also opened for Maxi Priest, Gyptian and Sizzla.

"There has been progress in the process," Jahmeekye said.

White said the only other persons she has a management interest in now are the Star Sisters, who are still very young so she is "waiting a bit on them." She said, "our main focus is Jahmeekye and in five years she hopes the team will be "beyond the universe."

And in the shorter term, Jahmeekye said "My main objective now is to get a producer on board. The music do play, but it is hard. It is not consistent and consistency is the thing".

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