Posted in Entertainment, Jamaica, Music

Music is the path to one’s soul

When you are from the place where there is undisputable talent in music and sport, you kinda feel on top of the world wherever you go. Well, I do. And every chance I get I make people know I am Jamaican. I am never ashamed. Even with some of the drama we get into… I use the situations in anecdotes where appropriate and I LAUGH. It is what we are, and because I would not have it any other way. I live with it; I also do the best I can to improve those around me.

Anyway, this post is really about music and what it does to keep my soul in shape.

As a child, I collected records, yes, those circular things that plays on a turntable. I still do, by the way, and I still have a turntable. Those were fun days. My allowance in those years in the 70s and 80s were largely spent on records and books, yes books, I had to read.

I collected the best from Bob, Third World Third World, Vic Taylor, Dennis, Gregory, Marcia, Alton, Beres, Boris, Phyllis Dillion, Pam and Woody, I could go on. For the foreign acts, it was Michael (The Jacksons), Commodores (more Lionel); Earth Wind and Fire, Marvin (all-time favorite), Percy Sledge, Ben E King (the Drfiters), Stylistics, Chilites and Teddy P, to name a few. This Magic Moment

On Sundays, we had a play list of Perry Como, Jim Reeves, Skeeter Davis, Louis Lamour, Dean Martin and then we watched the Matinee. Won’t say much more here, as I am sure you get my drift.

Jim Reeves
If you are 45 and over you would have this at home

In the 75 – 79 years, I chose dance as a hobby. And we had the most amazing time at the Ewarton Primary School. Donna Summer was on top of the list with some Caribbean calypso and music for maypole. Yes man, I was right in there. Selene, Georgette, Michelle topped the list of artful movers!

As I started going to public events (live shows), I got to appreciate some more artistes and here comes the DJs – Josey Wales, Admiral Bailey, Super Cat; the singers Barrington Levy, Freddie, Dennis, Leroy and the list goes on. Marcia Griffiths was always top-notch. 

So far, after you have read this, you must be wondering, where she got time to study and all those things, well, I am here, and I don’t think I did too badly. Anyway…

Live Shows were a must now in the 90s – every drum knock I was there – yard and foreign. And then the LOVE for Jazz kicked in really good. It was no longer just Sunday music. Jazz became the “savior of my soul” – it became my go to music when I needed comfort, joy and some peace.

So, I did research on some, who have become my favorites – John Coltrane John Coltrane , Miles Davis, Chris Botti, Rod Stewart (he has a wicked selection. When you have time, listen to the Great American Songbook – Volumes I to III. I would go far to listen to jazz. I did New Orleans. I have most of what Grover Washington Jr has ever done. I even met his daughter.

Got a little into Ella and Frank too. In the mid to late 90s and early 2000s I invested some time into jazz groups – Four Play, Spyro Gyra (they came to Jazz Festival in Jamaica) I was overjoyed. Now, thanks to YouTube, you can create your own playlist of any kind of music. My Jazz list comes from Motown and the Breakfast songs.

Could not end this blog without talking about the R&B, Soulful folks. Listening to Lalah Hathaway, Donny Hathaway, Randy Crawford, Anthony Hamilton & Kem Kemgives me life. When I am in a troublesome mood, I go for Jill Scott, Angie Stone Brian McKnight.

The point is, I am not sure what I would do if I did not have music. It has really lined my soul with joy, peace and comfort.

Lots of others to mention. But, one day, I will take you down the dancehall path I trod. The excitement and drive the rhythms that dancehall takes you are like no other. Music is a thrill to the soul of man (in this case woman). I keep adding to my list.

Try listening to Daniel Caesar Best Part , he is groovy and exciting.

Until next time…

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Posted in Athletes, Entertainment, Music, Sport

PE and Sport – redefining the game

ANTIGUA – The fact that Physical Education and Sport are now being recognized rightfully as an academic course and business respectively – this has opened discussions which are highlighting the lack of understanding of the subject areas.  

I would clearly state here:

·         There is a difference between Physical Education and Sport

·         Physical Education now has for the last 11 years, exams at the highest level from CSEC and has been offered at the CAPE level

·         Sport, through its competition has been known to impact on a society – socially, economically, psychologically, people management

·         Sport Business worldwide is valued at close to a trillion dollars

Based on some recent debates, there may be suggestions that sport is being overused in high schools; is distracting the institutions from their core work; is damaging the reputation of students.

While there are some truths, there are also arguments to support the benefits of being involved in sport at some level, either directly or even as a supporter.

My argument is, the rest of the education system needs to catch so it can efficiently and effectively manage its portfolio, which includes Physical Education. The study of Physical Education is academic, it looks closely of the study of the relationship with mind, body and soul. What about that isn’t academic?

Then Sport is the competitive, strategic and now economic viability of PE aimed at generating wealth, equality and recognition for people and country.

We treat tradition as tradition and think we should not adjust, because that is what it is…tradition. But the non-traditional PE and Sport, having become more user-friendly has used the traditional methods to overtake its competition (pun intended). That process is dynamic, some of us are still stuck in the normal mode and not realizing the potential of equality in the education system where we all can benefit.

Picture this, a school, college, university where the best of the traditional and non-traditional meets…the athletes in any of those institutions are managed by their peers in the traditional line. Where the community stadium is managed by the people there and the earnings are spent there to improve services, accessories and the lives of people. What about this don’t we get?

The Business Model has been presented over and over, but there are ways to capture this. One must first allow themselves to be open to new and innovative ways of doing business, and sport is one such way. the_business_of_sport_logo[1]

Research has also shown that sport can be used as ‘soft power’ for a nation such as Jamaica which continues to battle with its economic activities. I could make the same justification for music and entertainment.

Education needs to be redefined in Jamaica as part of a community where Parents, Teachers, Community Leaders forge partnerships with the students to build a nation. I challenge the Ministry of Education to create this model for growth for education. Be open to ideas that work and use people who are capable to manage. STEP in the Game!

Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Entertainment, Media, Music

Sport and Entertainment Agents

Sport and Entertainment are two of the biggest industries globally. There are several papers and research that will show that those two industries will grow “no matter what” even in an economic recession. There are tons of figures presented by:

·        PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC)

·        International Trade Center

·        Departments of Commerce (in top commercial centers)

 Wanted to offer that background, as with the growth of the sectors, there is room for more experts and so employment will tend to increase.

handshake-man-and-woman

Today, I want to focus on the role of an agent. The definition of an agent for the purpose of this article is “one who helps to build careers.” The most basic of an agent’s role is to handle athlete/artiste, franchises/professional teams and event promoters where applicable.

Here are some other roles:

·        Setting of goals for the athlete/artiste after sitting down with them for a detailed discussion

·        Part of a team which negotiates endorsement deals

·        Part of a team which handles public image

·        Part of a team that recommends charities and/or foundation

·        Part of a team that looks at options for retirement

That agent therefore is required to know a few things or at least have some basic training. The training can be at undergraduate level in business, law, sport management. The agent should be able to bring something to the table.

I can translate that in a simpler way to explain that an agent should: 

·        Know other influencers in the specific industry

·        Be able to make connections to grow the status of the athlete/artiste

·        Be able to get on lists that are relevant to the development of the athlete/artiste

·        Attend events where networking is available to ensure your client is represented in the best way possible

·        Get in doors, offices, boardrooms that would be otherwise unavailable

The point is, an agent is the direct link between the earnings and how an athlete/artiste is viewed by the public. The athlete/artiste must therefore choose wisely, as essentially, the business of sport and entertainment lies in the agent’s hands. Lots of opportunities for agents and lots of places to learn the business – Get in the Game for those who want to make a go at it and for those already in it – keep relevant by always learning. There are tons of conferences and workshops to attend too numerous to mention. DollarSign

Here are five professional sporting organizations you should consider for those of you interested in that industry https://www.bestcollegereviews.org/lists/five-professional-organizations-in-sports-management-to-consider-joining/

For entertainment, here are two I would recommend http://www.agents-uk.com/ or http://www.besla.org/

 “Show me the money.”  #OneLove

Posted in Care, Reading, self care

Self Care – Part 5 – Reading

In this encounter, I will delve into another area which helps you to feel great about yourself. So far I would have encouraged you to eat right, enjoy music, travel for leisure and sport; but this time I want you to explore reading.

There are so many quotes/sayings associated with reading; here are some to chew on:

  • We read to know we are not alone 
  • Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light –Vera Nazarian
  • I think of life as a good book. The further you get into it, the more it begins to make sense – Harold Kushner
  • Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers – Charles William Eliot

Reading has a way of taking you into a space which can help you to relax when life is throwing serious challenges at you. Reading takes you away, even temporarily, from the reality of what you confront, to a place where you want to be. Reading also gives you the opportunity to consult over and over without any judgment from anyone – it is that gift you can open over and over again.

inspiration

The good thing is, you can read just about anywhere

  • On the train
  • On a plane
  • At the coffee shop
  • In your bed
  • On your couch
  • In class
  • On the beach
  • Even in a meeting

Here are some ways you can start the habit of reading

  • Research the authors you find readable
  • Get their books
  • Find books on topics you find interesting – this makes reading easy
  • Find books on topics you need to learn more on – this can be hard in the beginning, but you will get there
  • Find a source to get the books – online or at a book store
  • Also, determine if you prefer books or on your device/s

Reading is a worthwhile hobby, but can tack up costs very quickly, so find ways and means to get books at the most reasonable costs. Join a book club so you can find folks who may want to exchange ideas and even books. A book club is also a way to be encouraged to read more, the interactivity helps.

The impact of reading on your life should be a positive one and I encourage you to read a book at least once a quarter; that is the recommendation if you are just getting into the habit. At the moment, I read a book a month, sometimes two; but then I have been doing this for a long time.

Whatever you decide to do, read a book soon – Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body – Richard Steele.

#ReadABookToday

Posted in Care, self care, Sport, travel

Self Care – Part 3 – Go somewhere you’ve never been

May 7 – The last time we spoke on Self Care, I recommended that you go somewhere you’ve never been.

So after you have figured out the food, music, TV shows, clothes and exercise routines you would become accustomed to; I have a few more suggestions.

Self Care speaks to a routine, one which requires habitual acts. In the early stages do some of the activities the same time of day and same day each week. This kind of repetition will create a rhythm so the practice becomes a routine.

By now you would have created your playlists. These playlists should be done based on a particular mood. If you are a writer like me, there is a playlist to help you relax, one to boost a new idea, one to refresh the memory among other things.

Go somewhere you’ve never been

Go Somewhere

New places have a way to set one’s soul on fire; it makes one curious and those kinds of missions allow you to see and hear things you’ve never seen before. The trip/journey to the new location allows for a perspective of value that one will never be able to get if you stay home all the time.

Here’s how some see travel

  • A wise man travels to discover himself – James Russell Lowell                                                            
  • All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it. –Samuel Johnson

Travel

This other quote I found speaks to the adventure

  • Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people and look beyond what’s right in front of you. These are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in – Andrew Zimmern

So as the experts recommend, once a year, do something different. The food, music, people, locations and the language of the folks you will experience would be well worth the time spent away. I have a friend who does a blog at this link mytravelstamps.com/ – here you will find tips on travel you will want to take note of before you head off to your first/adventure. The blog clearly speaks to Ways You Can Save; Bucket List; Business Layovers and so many other things. Read it when you have some time.

Mix and match the self care activities

While you are having fun traveling, here are some fun things you can do

  • Try the local spa
  • Hop off to any of the local bars
  • Walk in the park closest to your hotelMoment
  • Go to a local play or music show

Makes notes for a journal if you feel the need and takes loads of pictures

Life is really about enjoying the moments. You can go this alone or tag along with a few friends. Either way – E-N-J-O-Y!

In the next piece, we will talk about Sport Travel.

 

 

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Caribbean, FIlm, JAMPRO, Media, Music, Theatre

Dahlia Harris makes “A Case of the Ex”

Friday, May 4 – Any outing with Dahlia Harris always has some real “punch” to it and this sit down was no different. Since my last blog on Dahlia, she has taken on a few projects whether by design or by association.

She and her team hosted another round of successful Women in Theatre Festival. The Festival was held in three parts. The one-week event looked at showcases, panel discussion and tributes. The Festival also zoomed in on the key roles of actors, writers and directors. The partnerships with the Edna MJWITF 2018 Aanley College of Visual and Performing Arts and JAMPRO were important. The presenters were wide range and the workshop sessions were educational, informative and riveting. That said, Ms Harris rolled right up into the Miss Jamaica World Project and the Pap Smear Lyme. In between that she continued to write, direct, present and volunteer for several activities across the island.

Dahlia sat down with me and we had a chat about her last six months, and what’s to come.

What has been the reaction to Dat a Gwan Jamaica Remix? 

It has been amazing. We have had patrons coming to see the show four and five times and still belting out laughter with every scene. The response has also been obvious through the comments and posts via social media.  When patrons connect with the show so much that they take the experience home it says a lot about the production. DatAGwanJamaica

Some other projects you have been mulling over…want to share what we will see from you in another year?

Definitely more projects for television and I attempt a feature film.  The scripts are ready and waiting, I’m still working on funding.  It’s easier to get overseas investment in Brand Jamaica where creative projects are concerned but then you are boxed into providing what they want.  It’s taking a while for our local investors and companies to believe in the power of what we have to offer, but hopefully they will get there.  

You have recently done two major programs – the Pap Smear Lyme and the MJW board/team – describe the passion you have for programs of this kind 

Well I have a passion for all things that will empower women and children.  Just sitting in that interview with the Jamaica Cancer Society and really appreciating the gravity of the situation, I knew I had to contribute in some way.  An estimated 200 women die from Cervical Cancer in Jamaica each year. That’s mind blowing. Having done the #PapSmearLyme I am even more committed to the effort.  The call was for 50 women.  Close to 3 times that number showed up before we had even reached half of the time scheduled for the event.  Many of them participated because access to the test was made possible through NCB Insurance and the generous spirit of a few Jamaicans.  I want to keep the women coming in for tests.  Who knows how many lives we will save?

As it relates to MJW, I am very excited to be on the planning team.  Jamaica has some of the most beautiful women in the world but we also have some of the most benevolent and altruistic women that I have ever met.  The renewed focus on Beauty with a Purpose means we can highlight those women who have been making a difference in their communities.  That’s a major part of Brand Jamaica…service to our fellow citizen…that’s what we want to showcase to the world. The global crown will allow us to do that.  We are aiming to take it home.   

Come May, you will have something new out, tell us about this – Case of the EX 

It’s a relationship comedy that deals with the hot topic of how you cope with exes. It is really a sensitive issue.  Jealousy for your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s ex can easily turn into suspicion and doubt, but in some cases are these emotions justified?  When faced with your partners ex, what do you do!  

IMG-20180422-WA0016

Case of the EX is centered around DJ Cheetah (Kadeem Wilson), a young reggae producer struggling to reclaim his popularity in the music industry.  His latest love Dymond (Alexandria Gregory), has her sights set on becoming a global star, but Cheetah keeps ignoring her talent and her love for him prevents her from cutting ties and moving on.   When a local station launches a lucrative national song competition, Cheetah seizes the opportunity to bring in his ex, DJ Cyattie (Dahlia Harris),  to help him win that big ‘buss’.  However, Cyattie has other objectives; she wants to move from Cheetah’s past into his present and has no qualms about getting rid of Dymond.  With just one night to make a major hit, things get very heated in the recording studio.  When the sun comes out, someone will wear the title of EX …let the games begin.

It’s a delightful story and I am happy to be working again with screen and stage actor Kadeem Wilson who is still thrilling audiences in Dat A Gwaan Jamaica:Remix.  I am also happy to introduce Alexandra Gregory to a wider commercial theatre audience.  Some would have seen her featured as the school girl in Television Jamaica’s “Inna De Bus”, and she brings a wealth of talent and experience to the show.

You have worked with a number of young people over the last year, what are you most proud of? 

I am proudest when I see the accomplishments that they have made and how mature they are about their careers in the creative industry.  They strategically plan for where they want to go, they put in the work, and they rebound from their challenges.  They are inspiring to watch. I don’t necessarily want to name anyone in particular because I don’t want them to feel like any accomplishment has greater value than the other and there are a lot of young people I could name LOL!  I am just heartened that they are not only talking about success, they are doing what it takes to get there.

What else are you working on to ensure your expertise is passed on to the next generation? 

All my productions are basically managed by young people.  They do the administrative work, they are a major part of production work, and I rotate them on stage as actors.  This way they have an understanding of how all aspects of the business operates.  I have been working on a project that will extend to communities across the island but until I have everything in place I don’t want to say too much about that. That project will however not just be about honing performers; it will pay equal attention to technical and production capacity building.  We can’t progress as an industry if the sum of the parts isn’t all functioning at the same level.

TV is always a great fit for you be it Sport, News or Entertainment, how do you maintain that drive to keep at it? Dahlia Harris

The viewers.  What we do means so much to them that I consider it a privilege to be able to impact lives in this way.  Whether it’s sharing information that will improve their lives, or just providing light moments to brighten their day…it really makes a difference to someone and I take that seriously.  I think the diversity also helps; being able to host various events and interact with people who are dissimilar yet alike in so many ways keeps the work interesting.  Top that all with the fact that I am a entertainment and Sport fan…I’m doing what I love and I am grateful!

Offer some advice to a school leaver who has interest in the business of music/theatre/film as this seems to be a growing option for some. 

Respect the business.  That means getting the necessary skills and knowledge required to make it work.  This holds true at any aspect of the business. If you’re talent, do what it takes to get your skills up to a level that makes you marketable.  If you are production, understand the industry.  Read as much as you can, enroll in workshops; observe others who have been successful.  I’m not suggesting that you duplicate all that you see; I’m saying understanding what works and what doesn’t will help you as you forge your own path.  Too many believe that creative business is easy.   If you fail to respect the business, it won’t respect you. 

Until next time, #OneLove

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Posted in Leadership, Management

The Office Party

Lots of folks look forward to this time of year when they get to ‘let their hair down’ at the office party. It seems though in the age of misconduct, lots of folks are also stopping to take the time to reconsider how and what to do at the office party.

Let me declare early, a party is just a place to have a good time. Once I go, I intend to have a good time; which means – very little food (I never go anywhere hungry); drinks, chatter and dancing. That is what a party is supposed to be. So, for example, after my office party this year, I had to ice my knee regularly for two days after. I am ready for the next one.

That said, I thought I would share some tips that I have found useful over the years:

  • Wear what you feel comfortable in

o   If there is a dress theme, participate, it helps to put you in the mood

  • Go with enough time to meet and greet your colleagues
  • Take pictures with the team

o   Sidebar – take them before you get all sweaty from dancing

  • Don’t overeat, people do take notice
  • Don’t overdrink, people will notice too

Now here’s the part when it gets really interesting:

  • Dancing

o   Enjoy the music

o   Dance and have fun

o   Take a water/drink break ever so often

o   Shake a leg with your boss; shake a leg with your team that reports to you

Note: I am among the first set of dancers once the music is great (live or recorded)

If your office allows you to take your spouse, there is no rule which says you can’t dance with a team member; however, be modest. If you go the party alone, ENJOY. Dancing is an expressive way of thinking, so in dancing and expressing, make sure you are ok to look the person in the eye the next day at work. In other words, do not over express. Too many stories of why have come out of these situations.

Enjoy yourself at the office party, but try not to do anything you’ll regret.

 

Cheers!