Artistes release previously shelved material and re-recordings
Quarantining is an opportunity for some to spend time learning a new skill, getting their bodies into shape or getting their creative juices flowing freely enough to write, record and release new music. The change of pace can also just as easily stop those juices, turning bodies and minds lazy, leaving creatives uninspired. In the dreaded case of such an insipid reaction, there are workarounds for musicians that will allow them to sate their audience, and keep active, but without flexing too many creative muscles.
Now is the time for entertainers to dig into previously shelved material, or to re-record beloved, relevant songs, like Big Ship Captain Freddie McGregor and well-known French-Caribbean performer Paille.
Earlier this month, McGregor released his first 2020 single called If God Is For Us. Originally recorded years ago, the singer recognised the song’s message connected with the global crisis climate. “During the production process, we realised that this song’s lyrical content and message is in conjunction with what is happening in the world today. Many people are turning to inspirational songs for comfort. Music can be therapeutic, especially in times like these,” he said.
Paille, considered one of the pillars of francophone reggae and dancehall, is gearing up for a release later this summer featuring Grammy-nominated reggae singer Etana. Paille, who has previously collaborated with local acts Konshens and Anthony B, shared that his connection with Etana was made prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and resulted in a song that was put on a shelf many years ago.
He was encouraged to revisit his shelf based on the regional response to his most recent release, Run Di Town. “People from the music industry in Barbados, Trinidad, St Lucia, Haiti and Jamaica were given time to actually see what we do and were eager to start doing things with us. I imagine this time was, for many other artistes, a way to take a better jump forward,” the French performer told The Gleaner.
Written and sung in French, Run Di Town was released in January with English and Spanish subtitles, and has already amassed half a million views.
Like the Big Ship Captain who is docked for the foreseeable future, Paille will have to settle with engaging with his audience online for the time being. If not quarantined in his home country Martinique, he would likely be readying to tour France. “We had a mini tour planned as well as a festival at the end of May. I wrote a lot during this quarantine and I feel the urge to be able to go back to the studio and onstage,” he said.