One1 says ageism is affecting his career
Singer One1 believes ageism is hindering the growth of the Jamaican music industry. The entertainer told The Gleaner that the current environment has a tendency to discard artistes once they’ve reached a particular age.
“Our music isn’t benefiting a lot from experience, because we’re of this perception that middle-age artistes, especially if you get to middle age and yuh nuh buss yet, should go sit down,” the former journalist said. “In other genres, there are old people who buss in dem old age...Europeans love older artistes. Europeans love old men and yet still, here in Jamaica, we tend to discard old men who want to be artistes.”
His comments came as he shared why he needed a bigger budget for the Jamaica Festival Song Competition than the average artiste. His entry, Sixty (Anniversary Time), is among the top 10 finalists, and One1 said that his “handicaps” require a different strategy for his music career.
“Those handicaps include the fact that I have a big belly and I am 52 years old. Once you pass 21, yuh nuffi inna music because the thinking is, music is age-dependent. The biggest artistes out of Jamaica right now are in my age group. Shaggy is older than me, I’m like three years older than Sean Paul, and yet they are still the biggest artistes out of Jamaica. If it is a fact, then, that old people have no relevance or significance, why don’t one of those younger artistes take over from Shaggy or Sean Paul?”
While he was a singer before becoming a journalist, One1 said he is often not taken seriously because of his media background. Given name Milton Wray, he credited Junior Reid for discovering him in Portland and taking him to Kingston to pursue a music career. ‘Sugar Moses’ was his first moniker and he performed with Burning Spear’s Jahpostles band and the Small Axe band. He also has two albums under his belt, one recorded with the Marley brothers’ long-time bassist, Christopher Meredith.
“I recorded for a number of producers. In fact, I am one of the few artistes who nuh buss but get a recording deal,” he said, before telling of a near-deal with Californian Peter Pan Records, which fell through after the intermediary was killed.
Yet, “People don’t know these things and think mi just a try a thing. But if you listen to my music, you realise I’m a professional.”