July 29, 2014

No Easy Feat For Show Closers - Sumfest Promoters May Seek Octane A Third Straight Year

Davina Henry and Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writers

Dancehall Night consistently attracts the 22-year-old Reggae Sumfest's largest crowds in any given year. Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Vybz Kartel and Capleton are some of the artistes who have been given the honour of being the closing act. However, only two artistes have closed the event in consecutive years, I-Octane and Beenie Man.
Now, I-Octane could go one better, and make it three in a row.
The first time around in 2013, I-Octane was eager to prove himself as a show-closer on Dancehall Night. This year, having been again entrusted with closing duties at the Catherine Hall venue in Montego Bay, there was a minor tiff with Mr Vegas.
Now I-Octane can make his plans to 'lock' Reggae Sumfest 2015's Dancehall Night a year in advance, as the organisers have already tipped him as their choice.
"We have to recognise that the artiste has the ability as an artiste and as a showman to take on that challenge (of closing the show)," said Johnny Gourzong, executive director of Summerfest Productions, which organises Reggae Sumfest.
"I-Octane has this ability. And he demonstrated from last year that he had the ability to deliver. I looked around this year again and we never saw anybody (else), and we are happy we went with him ... . There is no reason why we will not be going back for him next year. He is young, he connects with the audience immediately as he steps on the stage, and I think he really has a great career ahead of him," Gourzong said.
And I-Octane seems ready to accept this honour saying, "It's an overwhelming feeling to be part of history. Being the second artiste to close the event two years in a row is a good feeling and the fact that the promoter is already considering me to close next year is humbling," he said.
Octane's career is one in which extensive planning is being invested. After doing the closing double, I-Octane told The Sunday Gleaner, "I am extremely honoured. This has been a journey for me and my team. We faced many challenges. It was rough, but we persevered. My team and I have a three-year goal; we invested a lot in the music business and I am happy to see the rewards for our labour," he said.
Gourzong identified a number of qualities which are necessary for a final act. Tied in to currency and being able to "keep the crowd", Gourzong said it has to be someone "who has the ability as a dynamic showman, who can give a very entertaining and exciting presentation."
He emphasised being current. "The person must have currency. They must have songs out there that people are familiar with, that are current on the chart," he said.
I-Octane's management team knows that putting the lid on Dancehall Night is not a simple matter.
"Traditionally, Dancehall Night attracts the largest crowd at Reggae Sumfest, regardless of who is billed to perform on International Nights 1 & 2. Therefore, the challenge of closing Dancehall Night is an awesome one for any artiste. We know that this is always an all night 'til daylight event, and the closing act on this night, puts his career on the line when he accepts the challenge of keeping a weary crowd waiting for his performance, and then staying until he has finished his set," said I-Octane's manager, Ray Alexander.
"For some reason, journalists seem to love to write that 'the crowd walked out on so and so and left him performing to an almost empty venue'. No artiste wants to lose credibility and stripes in this fashion, and that's one of the reasons why these big international acts do not close shows. They come on stage when the crowd is energised and all pumped out, waiting on the right act to release all that energy," Alexander said.
He added that it takes a special act to work a crowd that has been standing in the venue for eight hours into frenzy and let them forget about feeling tired and sleepy.
Gourzong is also well aware of the very fluid nature of performance time on Dancehall Night, which often adds to the closing act's requirements.
"We can't always guarantee exactly what time the artiste is going to come on stage, because we know that on a Dancehall Night when we are presenting perhaps over 20 artistes, we run the risk that the show could be running 30-35 minutes late. Therefore, it is important to have on board, the type of artiste who the patrons are going to remain to see and who has the ability as a dynamic showman, to give a very entertaining and exciting presentation," he said.
Unlike artistes in the generation that succeeded the stars of the 1990s, I-Octane avoided controversy and conflict. Also, he was not aligned to any musical camp, which would possibly have reduced his fan base.
With I-Octane having reached for a closing slot and handled it well, Gourzong has a word of advice for those who may be in the group from which the next Dancehall Night closer will come. "I would say to young artistes coming up, not to be afraid of taking up the challenge, because some of them are afraid and don't want to be taking the stage at 5 a.m.," he said.
Gourzong credited the only other Dancehall Night closer for consecutive years, Beenie Man. "Beenie has moved on to International Night and the people stayed to see him. Octane has taken over the mantle," Gourzong said.
And I-Octane had a word for some of those who may have seen him close Dancehall Night in 2013 and 2014, and could just see him doing the same on the 23rd staging of the event in 2015. "Sumfest is the biggest reggae festival in Jamaica, so mi haffi big up the fans who have been on team I-Octane over the years. Dem grow wid me and dem support me," he said.

July 24, 2014

‘Sumfest was awesome,’ says an upbeat Kalado

Kingston, Jamaica: - After making his grand Reggae Sumfest Dancehall Night debut at
Catherine Hall in Montego Bay, rising deejay Kalado is enjoying a feeling of accomplishment for a job that many critics agree was very well done.

It was a night on which Dancehall royalty brought their ‘A’ game to the stage, and with the stakes very high, Kalado measured up admirably, signalling to the world that his time is now. Receiving top marks in areas such as dress, deportment, style and stage presence, the “Personally” singer was brimming with confidence as he took command of the Sumfest stage and delivered his well-rehearsed set, solidly connecting with fans, including quite a few new converts.

His set included songs like “Good Good”, “Personally”, “Body Nuh Dead”, “Make Me Feel”, “Sad Streets”, “Pree Money”, “Pay Dem No Mind” and “Take A Ride”, all of which have made significant inroads in the dancehall and have contributed to the spiralling success of this young artiste.

“Sumfest was awesome,” a very satisfied Kalado recalled. “I spent several hours visualizing my performance, what I would wear, how I would greet fans and what one could consider the basic things, because I understand just how important it is to get it right. Rehearsals went well; management stayed on top of things throughout (as usual) and it’s a heartfelt thank you from Kalado to all the people who helped to make this happen.

“Big respect to the band, Summerfest Productions and, of course, the fans. The feedback has been very positive and encouraging,” he stated, adding that he was looking forward to performing on the 23rd staging of Reggae Sumfest 2015.

No doubt, Kalado’s performance has ensured that fans will follow him to his next shows which include the Montego Bay Jerk Festival, Bikini Sundayz, Dream Live in Negril and in the motherland, Africa, in September. 

Always one to cater to the needs of his fans, wherever in the world they are stationed, Kalado is giving ample preparation all his upcoming events.

July 08, 2014

I-Octane’s management distances themselves from LiveJam Entertainment

Kingston, Jamaica - The management team of internationally acclaimed reggae singer, Byiome Muir, more popularly known as I-Octane, takes this opportunity to completely distance themselves from Barcelona-based LiveJam Entertainment and Stefano Ingrosso.

According to the management, effective immediately, LiveJam Entertainment is not authorized to accept bookings or deposits on behalf of I-Octane and is not in a position to negotiate any contractual or other arrangement on behalf of the singer, whether in Europe or any other part of the world.

“All bookings must be done through Khool International Agency and/or I-Octane’s manager, Ray Alexander,” the management emphasized, adding that it was very unfortunate that it has become necessary for them to take this drastic step.

I-Octane, a multiple award-winning artiste, whose demand on the international stage has surged dramatically in the last two years, will be performing live on two festivals only in Europe this summer – Reggae Geel 2014 in Belgium and Reggae Jam in Germany, scheduled for August 2 and 3 respectively. Both concerts had been booked through the agency mentioned above, but unforeseen and totally unacceptable circumstances have placed the artiste in a challenging position.

Despite this, however, I-Octane and his management have pledged to honour their contractual obligations.

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for the fans and the promoters, therefore we have no choice but to honour the agreement, even though it means that we will be out of pocket. We know that in music business there is always the positive and the negative, and we therefore embrace this challenge and move on. It’s all part of the journey,” the management stated.

I-Octane, who is promoting his critically acclaimed sophomore album, My Journey, and who also is the headline act for Reggae Sumfest Dancehall Night Thursday July 17th, leaves for Europe at the end of July.

Click on the link below for more info on the two festivals
I-Octane on Reggae Geel (Belgium) >> http://www.reggaegeel.com/nl/lineup

I-Octane on Reggae Jam (Germany) >> https://www.reggaejam.de/artists/

July 02, 2014

Octane's 'Journey' Takes Him Into New Territory

Davina Henry
Staff Reporter

KINGSTON, JAMAICA - two months after releasing his sophomore album, My Journey, reggae star I-Octane is already reaping the fruits of his labour.
In an interview with The Gleaner, Octane said the album has been gaining momentum, launching his career into new territory.
"It's definitely a great accomplishment. An outcome of this album is the upcoming European tour, which I will depart for in July. I'm booked for all the major festivals in Europe and, even after that, I already have other shows lined up in the United States and United Kingdom," he said.
Sales 'up and down'
My Journey has made its way into several charts worldwide, including those in South America. The Love You Like I Do artiste said sales have been "up and down".
"As with most artistes, sales are unpredictable. Today, it will be number one and tomorrow it will be in the twenties. The most important thing right now is to sell hard copies, so each venue that we go to, I make sure that we have the album and we sell a couple hundred each time. Europeans, especially, love hard copies of albums because they want to see the credits etc. We'll definitely be having hard copies when I go on tour," I-Octane said.
Questioned as to whether he believes European fans will be more accepting of his reggae songs, I-Octane said, "A lot of people believe that dancehall is not strong in Europe, but that's not the case, it's very prevalent. People love both dancehall and reggae. The difference is that reggae is more embedded and more prominent there, but if you check the statistics, songs such as Watch Out Fi Dis, by Busy Signal, went platinum. My song, Wine and Jiggle, is also one of my biggest songs in Europe, having been number one on charts in Germany and France. This proves that dancehall definitely has a place in all countries."
Confirmed as the closing performer for this year's staging of Reggae Sumfest, Dancehall Night, I-Octane is promising an energy-filled, lyrically potent performance.
"Fans will definitely be getting both sides of I-Octane. I'll be doing reggae songs from the My Journey album, as well as dancehall songs. Since it's my second year closing, I have to go twice as hard. Mi haffi mash it up. Right now I'm focused on pushing the My Journey album, for the next two years, and, after that, depending on how I feel, I may release a dancehall album."

Source: The gleaner