King Calie calls for more structure in music business - Says lack of proper systems stifling growth of underground artistes

March 02, 2023
King Calie
King Calie

For up-and-coming artiste King Calie, Jamaica has some of the most talented underground artistes.

However, due to a lack of structure and gatekeeping, those with talent but little resources usually go unnoticed while music that may damage the culture continues to reign.

"If a kid leaves high school and wants to become an artiste, there is no clear path. You just have to take to the streets and watch and learn with your eyes and follow suit. And what you find is that oftentimes that leads a young artiste who just wanted to do music down the wrong road, and you hear seh dem deh round a dis ya part ya and this reach dem or dem round that part and that reach them. So you just have to dive in and learn how to swim once you are out there," he explained.

King Calie, given name Dwight Gutzmer, examined the UK drill scene and the rap scene in America.

"Once a yute decide seh him wah do music and him make enough noise in his neck of the woods and nuff people a share him things, sooner or later you will see him opening for some big names, and then from there he will start to build up his own scene and they replicate that over and over. While for us, it is just 'gwaan and go make a noise' and if you do make a noise and it doesn't work, then so be it," he added.

The reggae-dancehall artiste was born and raised in Red Hills, St Andrew, but lived in The Bahamas for several years before returning to the island. It was around 2004, during high school, that he first developed a love for music and has been working on perfecting his skill. In 2021, he won the Magnum Top Performa competition and received a cash prize and video and song produced by Romeich Entertainment. Since then, he said his career has taken off. But he maintains that structure in the local music scene would make it easier for good artistes to emerge at a more accelerated pace.

"Everybody that has made it has been [by] trial and error. I think we have seen enough success now to run the analytics to say this and this and this was done properly here, and just formulate a proper plan as to what you do and where you go the minute you decide you want to be an artiste. I think it would be way easier," King Calie said.

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