Ones to watch in the Diaspora for 2018
For many, New York City is widely considered as the overseas capital for trends in music, fashion, theatre, radio, and television in the Jamaican diaspora. The city and its suburbs are a hub for creative explosions in these areas. Meet six residents of the city who have pushed the Jamaica brand with distinction through their work in 2017, and seem poised to make big waves in their field.
This Monegonian is a proud graduate of Cornwall College, and has enjoyed considerable success in 2017, promoting Jamaica's traditional folk forms. He was executive producer, co-lyricist and co-composer for the smash production Welcome to America: A Caribbean Musical. He also created one of the few folk singing groups in New York - the Braata Folk Singers. His most recent project, 'Ole Time Grand Market', an annual cultural expo that took place a few weeks ago in Brooklyn was sold out. For 2018, Andrew hopes to take his cultural products to other US and Canadian cities, and he will also turn his focus on releasing a solo music EP.
Though not Jamaica-born, DJ Norie is currently the freshest prince of radio's reggae throne in New York. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Norie was named Reggae DJ of the Year for 2017 by Global Spin Awards. He hosts his own show on the tremendously popular Clear Channel radio station 105.1 FM, also syndicated on iHeart Radio, blazing new and retro reggae hits on the weekends. He has a unique ability to transform a Kingston ghetto anthem into an international hit, and he's also one of the most sought after DJ for parties, festivals, reggae cruises and resorts - most recently the Riu Reggae in Montego Bay. Wine Up Yu Body by Bunji Garlin was a big production feather in his cap for 2017, and music lovers are waiting with bated breath for the release of his first 2018 production called Hot In The Streets.
Walk into the Nike retail store on New York's fashionable Fifth Avenue, and you are immediately captivated by the alluring image of Jamaican-born model, Jeneil Williams. William is a natural fit for Nike's campaign as her early passion was athletics while she attended Vere Technical High School in Clarendon, doing long and high jumps. She transitioned to modeling via Pulse Model agency in 2006, and for the past few weeks, she has been in South Africa shooting campaigns for some major international brands. "I'm very appreciative of my accomplishments as I've had the opportunity to work with brands such as Fendi and Balenciaga, and I am looking forward to some exciting projects for 2018," she told Outlook.
Diginus is one of the leaders of the pack of New York-based reggae artistes with a dream to make it big in the music industry. The Bronx-based artist is from Golden Grove in St Catherine, and developed his craft in a church choir in Jamaica, although he's been performing at venues across the United States for a few years. He is placing his 2018 bet on a new single called Many See that has leaked to a few stations in New York, and in the United Kingdom. The hypnotic single was produced by another New York-based Jamaican rising star producer, Dappastar, and the promotion of the single is expected to accelerate early in the new year.
If you haven't seen the Jamaican songbird on the rock recently, that's because she has relocated to New York City, where she has been appointed director of performing arts at Challenge Charter Schools Organization. Sutherland's brilliant career in music as well as her recent masters degree in cultural studies from the University of the West Indies (Mona), helped in her recent appointment. And her smash single Action has shot back on the playlists, thanks to the viral video clip with Prince Harry dancing to the overdub.
Rapper, songwriter and television star, Safaree Lloyd Samuels was born in Brooklyn, New York, of Jamaican parentage. His early fame came from dating and penning songs for hip hop megastar, Nicky Minage. After the two parted ways, he has been furiously throwing his energies behind the development of his career. In October, he landed the lead role on VH1's Love & Hip Hop: New York. The season premier earned the second spot in the Monday cable ratings among adults 18-49. For 2018, Safaree is looking to expand his growing empire with an upcoming feature film project in February, and the release of a new album in the first quarter. He is also in talks to do a summer tour with R&B singer and television personality K Michelle, and will also launch the 'Stunt For Jamaica' project which involves donating two computers per month to a school on the island.