Reggae music continues to evolve. And with that evolution comes the attraction to a more diverse listenership. Research has shown that many of Jamaica’s more established artistes have an audience whose average age is 30 years and above.
Does lyrical content influence their audience? Do the performers’ real-life circumstances have any bearing on the quality or value of their music?
Consider your most favoured songs from your favourite artistes and ask yourself: would you want to meet the person behind your favourite music? If that answer is yes, does it matter what the artiste has done in their past, or is doing at the moment?
As music is a part of our everyday life, it is impossible to escape the artistry of popular singers, especially when they find themselves in personal-life turmoil (fans typically Google their favourite singer when news breaks about their misdeeds. These searches typically take fans to an artist’s catalogue on streaming services thus boosting their streams).
The music we rely on from our favourite artistes to help to soothe moments of grief, commemorate moments of joy, paradoxically comes from the vocal trademark of people who themselves find themselves in circumstances of trouble.
Here are some real stories of persons whose music you love; they have developed habits that are not healthy, they have taken substances that are illegal, they have done things that are otherwise frowned upon by society, or they could be in prison. Does that change how you feel about your favourite songs or artiste?
With song titles like, Freedom Blues, To Your Arms of Love, Love is and Unconditional Love there are indications that the song-writer/artiste has ideas of shaping the minds of those who consume, but to also reposition thoughts to the discerning fan, that circumstances can cause life adjustments, and what is in the heart, comes out in song.
When you see a list that asks to Call on me as Only You, I am Longing For, those thoughts call for Reflections.
Comments about artistes differ from male and female fans and in age groups. A short survey among women over 40 shows they have more of a tendency to forgive. , “Does the Crime serve the time,” is a common thought among that demographic.
During a series of discussions held in Jamaica in 2019, scholars of music discussed the topic: Dancehall Stardom, Version 1 – Crime and Punishment. Positions such as a proposal for “a meaningful music curriculum [to] be implemented as a matter of urgency,” says Dr Sonjah Stanley Niaah.
Stanley Niaah has in the last decade spoken and published about music, but in discussing this topic, is developing material for a program dubbed “From Prison to College” – she believes in rehabilitation with and through the music.
Photo – Deposit Photos