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Music Matters: The Caribbean Edition
The podcast series featuring news, interviews and analysis of all the music from the islands.
Jul 31, 2023
Episode 45: Investing In Caribbean-based Music Festivals
Laura and Nigel host a panel at the MusicTT RVRB X Conference in Trinidad on Festivals as the new investment opportunities for the regional music industry, with Dr. Jo-Anne Tull from Barbados and Sobers Esprit from Dominica. They speak on the development and business opportunities for growth and data capture of the live music festival industry, with a goal of finding a workable template for effective private and public sector investment.
Nov 28, 2022
Episode 44: Globalisation and Commercialisation of Caribbean Music
Laura and Nigel welcome UK-born Barbadian emeritus professor of Recording Industry, author and consultant Mike Alleyne to the podcast as he discusses the efforts and "adjustments" made by the global the recording industry to successfully market indigenous Caribbean music and artistes; Bob Marley, Rihanna, and more.
1 hr 14 min
Nov 4, 2022
Episode 43: Valuing Caribbean Music: The Jamaica Example
Laura and Nigel have a conversation with Donovan Watkis of World Music Views about how his push to chart and certify Jamaican music's global sales and streams is converting cultural capital into financial capital. His strong entrepreneurial spirit comes through as he pursues the task of putting dancehall and reggae music on a level playing field within the global music streaming ecosystem, to accurately identify its value.
Aug 12, 2022
Episode 42: Memoir, Management, Machel Montano
Laura and Nigel have a conversation with Elizabeth Lady Montano, mother of Caribbean music superstar, Machel Montano, and author of his new coffee-table memoir/biography King of Soca. Published to coincide with the 40th anniversary of his professional career, Lady speaks her truth about Machel, she being the ultimate insider, the former manager, and the archiver of more than forty years of memories.
1 hr 9 min
Aug 4, 2022
Episode 41: The Post-Pandemic Future of Caribbean Festivals and Music
Laura and Nigel have a conversation where they ponder the future of the Caribbean music industry after the disruption of the two-year COVID-19 pandemic. The evolution of music festivals and Carnivals, the new economy of music for new and legacy artists, the coming-of-age new audiences in and outside the islands.
1 hr 4 min
May 16, 2022
Episode 40: Breaking Caribbean Music in America: What Needs to be Done?
Laura and Nigel speak with Caribbean-American music executive Nolan Baynes on the ins and outs of the modern US music industry, as he lays out what needs to be done by Caribbean artists and music business to get a significant space in that market. They analyse a few case studies of Caribbean music entrepreneurship and creativity.
1 hr 16 min
Mar 8, 2022
Episode 39: Caribbean Music Across the Pond: A Conversation with Seani B
Laura and Nigel speak with BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ and selector Seani B about his prominent role in putting Caribbean music on the radio in the UK and beyond, and on global playlists. Bashment party vibes from the Caribbean and beyond.
1 hr 18 min
Nov 30, 2021
Episode 38: Hard Truths: A Conversation on soca with Jaiga TC
Laura And Nigel speak with soca entrepreneur and facilitator, Terron Callender, JAIGA TC, on the way forward for the music genre. This TV producer, radio announcer and hit soca writer and artiste, among his other qualifications, gets real on the possibilities of soca in the global music industry highlighting pluses and pitfalls.
1 hr 11 min
Nov 13, 2021
Episode 37: A new season, a new beginning for the Caribbean music industry
Laura and Nigel begin the fourth season of the podcast with a conversation on the outlook and some of the recent happenings within the Caribbean music industry after 20 months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jul 7, 2021
Episode 36: Soca begins GRAMMY Best Global Performance contention
Laura and Nigel speak with soca producer Kasey Phillips and former Grammy Awards genre manager Marlon Fuentes about the clear opportunities towards recognition of the genre within the Recording Academy by their facilitation of the soca producers' significant membership drive in 2021. This first step is a real world initiative that can move the needle on Caribbean music's growth in a rebranded World music category.
1 hr 7 min
Jun 24, 2021
Episode 35: Licensing and global collaborations, Braveboy to the World
Laura and Nigel speak to Trinidad and Tobago EDM andhip hop artist and songwriter Braveboy about his many unique collaborations with global artistes from Albania to Taiwan, and almost everywhere in between. Those connections have produced music licensing deals that are more important in a world recovering from a pandemic. Lessons learned, advice shared in this wide ranging conversation about Caribbean possibilities in the music world.
1 hr 16 min
Apr 23, 2021
Episode 34: What's Chrending? A Music business Conversation with Fay-Ann Lyons Alvarez
Laura and Nigel chat with soca star and music entrepreneur, Fay-Ann Lyons Alvarez on her music career, live and recorded, during the pandemic and her move into streaming music platform development with the launch of her new service, Chrending, and moves to expand Caribbean music.
1 hr 4 min
Apr 8, 2021
Episode 33: Digital Innovation in the Caribbean Music Industry
Laura and Nigel have a conversation on the implications of the small steps in innovation happening in the digital music space of the Caribbean music industry. As the pandemic continues with the future dependent on outside forces, Caribbean music creators and business people have to move to the leading edge of the innovation curve to remain relevant. With the proliferation of digital solutions existing, we have to pivot the business models to our situation in the islands.
Mar 21, 2021
Episode 32: The Role of Video in the Promotion of Soca Music
Laura and Nigel chat with Navindra Harbukhan of NH Productions TT on the role of video in the promotion of soca music. He gives a masterclass on how video can break this music to the world. He gives a masterclass on how video can break this music to the world. He says, "...we are at the point where video is king. If you are an artiste, and you do not have a video for your song, you are doing music wrong." BOOM!
Dec 21, 2020
Episode 31: Caribbean Music Industry Conversations
Laura and Nigel speak with Jamaican music industry lawyer and entrepreneur, Lloyd Stanbury on the Jamaican and wider Caribbean industry, looking forward, post-COVID-19. Utilizing his role as co-founder of IRIE-FM and one person responsible for the establishment of the Caribbean Music Expo and many music organizations on the island, he provides an effective overview of where that island's industry went, is going and has to go.
Dec 15, 2020
Episode 30: A Conversation with Destra Garcia
Laura and Nigel continue in The Soca Sessions with a fun-filled yet open chat with the Queen of Bacchanal, soca star Destra Garcia on her career and how she has been able to sustain her brand for more than two decades and through the COVID-19 pandemic. The business of soca is revealed as Destra talks about longevity with innovation, albums and streams, media dominance, contracts and career.
Nov 7, 2020
Episode 29: A Conversation with Kerwin Du Bois
Laura and Nigel continue in The Soca Sessions with an intriguing chat with Toronto-based singer, composer and producer Kerwin Du Bois on his role in crafting a new crop of soca entrepreneurs. He also delves into the nitty-gritty of the competitive soca industry and places front and centre the role of the consumer in making soca music a global phenomenon beyond Carnival.
Oct 16, 2020
Episode 28: Soca Sessions with Erphaan Alves
Laura and Nigel chat with Trinidadian soca artiste, Erphaan Alves, who for the past five years, has championed the "No Seasons" campaign, an initiative designed to encourage soca artistes to release music all year round, instead of for a Carnival season. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing artistes to see their product outside the realm of festivals and Carnivals, it seems that his is an idea whose time has come.
Oct 4, 2020
Episode 27: Soca Sessions with Problem Child
Laura and Nigel chat with St. Vincent-born, US-based soca performer and prolific composer, Problem Child about the business of soca in this time when the the 2020 Carnivals were cancelled and the possibility that next year's may be on hold. Is soca without Carnivals affecting the proliferation of the music? Problem Child has some answers.
Sep 10, 2020
Episode 26: A Conversation with Pat Meschino
Laura and Nigel speak to Billboard magazine writer, Pat Meschino, about the coverage of Caribbean music in the US and foreign print and editorial media. The mechanics of pitching stories to publications, and the importance of reliable data on artists and their music are explored for a Caribbean context of how to get the story of Island music into the consciousness of wider audiences globally.
Aug 22, 2020
Episode 25: A Conversation with DJ Private Ryan
Laura and Nigel chat with Trinidad-based DJ Private Ryan about how he is coping commercially and creatively during the COVID-19 pandemic. His varied career as an important soca DJ, as a major Carnival fete promoter, and recently as a music producer are examined to showcase options for a new cohort of Caribbean music merchants post-pandemic.
May 16, 2020
Episode 24: What could a post-COVID-19 music future look like?
Laura and Nigel speak with musician, journalist and NYU professor Jason King, a Trini to the bone, who ponders on the possibilities and tracks the trends for a post-pandemic music future. A multi-disciplinary genius, King discusses industry disruptions that have existed and notes the current state of the global industry that could guide Caribbean music practitioners to a resurgent future in music.
May 16, 2020
Episode 23: Dada and the Caribbean Music Family
Laura and Nigel chat with Dominican super-producer, Krishna "Dada" Lawrence to get a handle on the wider Caribbean music scene. Dada outlines the possibilities for Caribbean music outside of Carnivals and festivals, and provides a wider context to the business of music by outlining his successes as a music producer of numerous hits and road marches in the festivals of the Caribbean, and his role as an advocate for collective management of music rights in the region. He also develops the idea of Caribbean music being a fusion of island sounds including his native bouyon.
Apr 22, 2020
Episode 22: Live in the Time of COVID-19
Laura and Nigel return for the first of the "lock down podcasts" during the global COVID-19 pandemic. They speak on the decimation of the live music industry and the rise of the virtual concerts online with pioneering radio station owner and music producer Kenny Phillips of Trinidad and Tobago. Production values, the local music industry and the new normal of online access to a deep catalogue of Caribbean performances are discussed
Mar 10, 2020
Episode 21: Beyond Soca - A Conversation with Sheriff Mumbles
Laura and Nigel have a revealing conversation with innovative music producer, Keron "Sheriff Mumbles" Thompson on his outlook on the status of new music from Trinidad and Tobago. Together, they delve into the ups and downs of the recent music for 2020 Carnival season. His perspective, fashioned by constant explorations in the wide world of music, adds another element to the idea of soca as a new world music.
1 hr 10 min
Dec 3, 2019
Episode 20: Conversations with Charlie
Rawlston "Charlie" Charles is the most significant pioneer in the recording and wider distribution of soca music and calypso music in the US and the World via his Charlie's Records and his studio in Brooklyn from the 1970s onwards. His place in the history of the music's proliferation is secure. "Charlie" was back in Trinidad and Tobago to premiere his documentary at CARIFESTA XIV and he chatted with Laura and Nigel in two interviews. The first interview was first broadcast on Festival Radio for Carifesta XIV in August 2019. Produced by Trini Good Media.
Nov 9, 2019
Episode 19: Caribbean Music Festivals
Laura and Nigel reminisce on the various music festivals they have visited in the islands, and chat with Dr Suzanne Burke, culture sector researcher at The UWI who gives perspective to the hosts' observations on the role these destination music festivals have in nurturing all areas of a regional live music industry. CARIFESTA XIV is recalled as a case study of private vs public sector approaches to festival development in the Caribbean.
1 hr 2 min
Sep 15, 2019
Episode 18: The Digital Music Future in the Caribbean
Laura and Nigel speak to Trinidad-based music entrepreneur and educator Farley Joseph about his research and findings on Caribbean music industry's readiness and potential to fit into the global digital music landscape. An interesting conversation that tackles the nagging problems of weak industry advocacy, slow and ineffective uptake of modern tech solutions, and importantly, recommendations are provided for stakeholders to use to overcome and progress.
Aug 20, 2019
Episode 17: How to Make a Soca Star
Laura and Nigel chat with manager/music producer Anson PRO Soverall who manages rising soca star Nailah Blackman to find out his strategy for making a superstar out of this young singer, the grand-daughter of the chief innovator of soca, Ras Shorty I. Anson gives listeners some strategic ideas he uses to make a soca star and break them internationally.
Jul 26, 2019
Episode 16: The Ins & Outs of the Soca industry
Laura and Nigel interview Trinidadian music super-producer Kasey Phillips, now relocated to Los Angeles, to get a behind the scenes view of what it takes to build a Caribbean music genre in the largest music market in the world.
May 16, 2019
Episode 15: How to build a music business company
Laura and Nigel chat with acclaimed jazz musician Etienne Charles from Trinidad and Tobago about how he built his international career. His forays into the business of music in the United States are examined to understand how building a personal music corporation is necessary for sustained growth and success in the industry beyond the borders.
Feb 21, 2019
Episode 14: Soca in the global digital marketplace
Laura and Nigel speak with UK-born Trinidadian music industry professional Keith Kirk about the prospects of soca in the global digital marketplace. Keith, who has worked with the major labels, Sony, Universal as well as BMG in metadata support and music rights management, keeps it real and gives a direct analysis of what is happening now and what has to be done to further expand soca's musical footprint in the global industry.
Jan 29, 2019
Episode 13: Soca Management and Marketing
Laura and Nigel have a wide ranging discussion with Simon Baptiste, CEO of Question Mark Entertainment of Trinidad, and manager of Kes The Band among others, about the possibilities for the spread of soca music in the global marketplace. With insights gained from networking with A-list music executives, as well as his experience working with labels in Jamaica and developing a regional entertainment Expo, Baptiste details case studies in the Caribbean music industry and links management and marketing to success.
Jan 17, 2019
Episode 12: Defining and Marketing Soca Globally
Laura and Nigel continue, in the SOCA SESSIONS, the conversation on what is soca and what needs to be done to increase global uptake. Music producers Martin 'Mice' Raymond and Keshav Chandradathsingh give input along with sound engineer Robin Foster on what still needs to be done.
Jan 6, 2019
Episode 11: What is soca? How is it defined?
Laura and Nigel chat with modern soca producer and manager Anson Soverall, veteran sound engineer and expert Robin Foster, and pioneering soca producer and composer Joe R. Brown in a panel discussing and searching for a standard definition for soca, the sound of Caribbean Carnivals and the soul of calypso. In the first edition of our Carnival special The Soca Sessions we discuss soca, its roots and surprising similarities to today's trends with one of the rising producers in the artform and veterans who worked with the inventor of Soca, Ras Shorty I.
Nov 8, 2018
Episode 10: Public Money, Commercial Music - A Caribbean Case Study
Laura and Nigel have a candid conversation with Melissa Jiménez, General Manager of the Trinidad & Tobago Music Company Ltd., a State-Owned company, as a follow-up to Episode 5 in which the live music industry in the Caribbean was discussed with a specific reference to the Live Music District (LMD), a publicly funded initiative of the State to enhance the music industry there. The State's track record on this new initiative to incentivise the T&T music industry is reviewed.
Oct 16, 2018
Episode 9: The Business of Calypso in the 21st century
Laura and Nigel chat with Meagan Sylvester of the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO) about the role and business of calypso in the 21st century. Calypso, the Mother music of the Caribbean, has a recording history of over a century predating recorded jazz music, but the music business evolution and global spread of the music has declined since the late 1950s, aside from a few outliers and outside the diaspora spaces. A modern perspective from an official source is given to identify a calypso renaissance both artistically and commercially, and the work being done towards that end. [Calypsos excerpted: "Iron Duke in The Land", Julian Whiterose. Recorded 1914; "Change", Helon Francis. ℗ & © 2018; "Long Live Calypso", Lord Superior. ℗ & © 1973.];
Sep 16, 2018
Episode 8: The New Breed: Soca 3.0
Laura and Nigel discuss this new generation's efforts at breaking indigenous music, soca and calypso, into the international marketplace beyond simple placement on digital platforms. They chat with artist/songwriter Jimmy October about his "New Calypso" and producer David 'Millbeatz' Millien about his "Caribbean Wave" as genres and new ways of defining Caribbean music for the world to acclaim.
Aug 5, 2018
Episode 7: The Bajan Soca Industry
Laura and Nigel discuss the Bajan soca industry after the recent Crop Over on the island of Barbados. As a conclusion to the cycle of 2018 Caribbean Carnivals and the festival music, they have a better overview of soca in the Caribbean from the prevalence and popularity of competitions as a gauge, and the new sub-genre of bashment, to a wide-ranging interview with legendary Bajan soca star, Red Plastic Bag who talks about soca on the island and his opinions on what could make the breakthrough for soca globally. We await the 2019 soca season.
Jul 12, 2018
Episode 6: A Conversation with Freetown Collective
Laura and Nigel sit down with Muhammad Muwakil and Lou Lyons of FREETOWN Collective to discuss their new album, Born In Darkness, and to chat about that album in the context of the modern music industry. As a bellwether of new full length album production in T&T, Muhammad and Lou explain how this project interacts with the current music ecosystem and how they have positioned themselves to buffer from any movements, positive or negative, in the global distribution, publishing and live music industry.
Jun 16, 2018
Episode 5: The Live Music Industry in the Islands
Laura and Nigel discuss the state of the live music industry in Trinidad and Tobago in the context of the government's plan to create a Live Music District in Port of Spain to act as a tourism magnet for visitors to the island. The experience and results of the State's efforts are gauged, together with a Jamaican perspective on the softened live music industry there, to come to a fuller understanding of what are the roles of the private sector and the State sector in developing the industry.
Apr 14, 2018
Episode 4: Caribbean music, broadcast and IP
Laura and Nigel chat about the reality of the slightly behind-the-curve business models and thinking about broadcast media, and its role in distributing music and creating economic rights for artists, composers, producers and performers in the Caribbean. Laura's recent trip to Jamaica to cover its Carnival showcased how the modern music "merchants," the soca artists of today are distributing their music, and how the Carnival circuit is expanding for year-round exploitation of potential royalties from public performance and from radio airplay.
Mar 3, 2018
Episode 3: A Conversation with Josanne Leonard
A professional in the areas of media, music and entertainment with experience at international levels, Josanne Leonard served as policy adviser on the Caribbean music industry to various global and regional bodies. She talks with Laura and Nigel on the music industry in Trinidad and Tobago with links to the wider Caribbean music industry and preferred strategies going forward in light of the ongoing state-dominated industry thrust toward its further development.
Feb 9, 2018
Episode 2: The Globalisation of Soca
The Globalisation of Soca is a podcast where hosts Laura Dowrich-Phillips and Nigel A. Campbell continue the discussion on the relative global spread of this music born in Trinidad. The wider international thrust by singers, DJs and producers from America, Europe and Africa to put the music on the same public consciousness as reggae and dancehall, for example, is considered.
Jan 9, 2018
Episode 1: SOCA: A Caribbean Phenomenon
SOCA: A Caribbean Phenomenon is a podcast where hosts Laura Dowrich-Phillips and Nigel A. Campbell discuss the spread of soca music from its base in Trinidad and Tobago to encompass rhythms and musical cues from other islands in the Caribbean. Producers, singers and fans from all the islands make this music more than Trinidad Carnival music.