Shaggy urges dancehall and other Jamaican music stakeholders to get educated about the music business or fall behind.
The reggae/dancehall legend is gearing up for the five-day Island Music Conference (IMC) next month. Music for the Caribbean Conference will be held in Kingston from February 8th to 12th, featuring workshops and keynote presentations by Caribbean music stakeholders on all aspects of the music business.
“Financial literacy is important … you can make money, but you have to know what to do with it,” Shaggy said in an interview with The Observer.
Shaggy, whose real name is Orville Burrell, also urges artists and stakeholders to take advantage of new and emerging technologies now available. Streaming options such as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube continue to see tremendous growth in music consumption as more and more people around the world start to connect to the internet.
“You must educate yourself, [learn] What they’re about, how they work, and how they work in the Territory — because Territorial law is different in many things. Many things are changing. It’s a different time, and now is the best time,” lamented the artist.
Before his IMC, Shaggy advised artists to dream big and not set limits on themselves.
“The most important thing is to let them know that they should dream big and don’t put limits on your dreams,” said the veteran Jamaican artist. “If a guy used to get… all you see in the bank account is a thousand dollars and a guy comes to you with $20,000, then you think you’re rich. If that’s what you’re used to , a man brings another you think you’re rich, you don’t know you can make 10 million. A lot of people try to make it look like it’s there, “Oh, that’s the furthest you can go place” and tell you that you have to make yourself a bank. You have to make yourself worth investing in.”
Shaggy also expressed the importance of artists being bankable and worthy of investment from labels and companies. To achieve this, artists must become professionals and develop a good work ethic.
“When Ariana Grande came out, she was making $10 million a song, and it was because she had money, and because the labels were investing in her, knowing she would show up on time, and two, she would work hard, and number three, you know I mean, she’s going to come with bells and whistles, and number four, she’s got a professional team,” Shaggy continued. “If we don’t start building a professional team, then no one will want to save money.”
Shaggy is one of the most commercially successful artists in the history of Jamaican music, with albums selling diamonds and several best-selling records that have stood the test of time.
Last year, Shaggy opened the door to young and seasoned artists in the industry to sit down and ask him questions. He says it’s his way of giving back and helping educate the current crop of artists to take their careers to greater heights.
“I’ve seen some artists get a great opportunity, but with a rush mentality decide they won’t take it. If you have a manager who doesn’t know how to build a career, they only know how to raise money, you’re going to have Question…for me the most important thing in my current position is to create a platform to teach.Anyone can come to me and ask me [anything],” the artist said.