Thu | Sep 28, 2023

Five Question with ... Topmann

Published:Friday | April 21, 2023 | 12:40 AMAaliyah Cunningham/Gleaner Writer

Rising dancehall star, Topmann, has been making waves in the music business with his catchy lyrics that have thousands of fans confidently reciting the tunes whenever he graces the stage. Known for tunes such as Gyal Code and Cash Ready, the young Montegonian is on a mission to make his mark on dancehall. Focusing on growing steadily as opposed to quickly, Topmann, whose real name is Jamario Hines, is preparing to showcase a different side of him through his artistry. Kicking off his music career in 2018, things were not smooth sailing especially as music was a pivot from his dream of being a professional footballer. Still, as is his personality, he is dedicated to making the best of everything. This week he speaks with Five Questions With ... about his journey.

1. What has been the greatest lesson you have learned since you have been in the music business?

The greatest lesson is having self-belief because self-belief is a very important aspect of one’s career . Sometimes there are a lot of doubts around you but if you do believe in yourself and a particular project that you are working on, then it can work by just the energy you put in it and the energy you put behind it as well. So, when certain things are happening it just connects the right way. But along with that, the music business is kind of corrupt as well because you will realise that a lot of persons that you probably idolised when you were younger are not as welcoming as you would have thought them to be. Once you get in, then you are seen as rivals, and you become their competition.

2. A lot of your songs have lyrics around paranoia, escaping pain through music and marijuana, how do you really cater to your mental health?

There is a difference between what you listen to and what you hear. So, there are a lot of things that are going around and people saying but I don’t really listen to it. I try to remain positive and although at times, like any normal individual you can get carried away, but I just have to ensure I have a clear headspace. I would just do some recreational activities just to cope and have a better mindset to write. When I have writer’s block, for example, I just go to the river to get a different energy. Those things allow my head space to be free so I can get more intriguing lyrics and so on.

3. How difficult was it to transition from your career path of becoming a professional footballer to music?

It was just a hard transition and people had so much to say ... which is why I also say you cannot listen to everything that people are talking about because if I did, I would not do music because everybody just knew me as a footballer ... a student ... and people have their own expectations of me and you cannot please everyone.

4. You graduated high school with 15 subjects and pursued a degree in management studies at the UWI, but as a dancehall artiste, you are exposed to stereotyping based on your lyrics and stage persona. What do you say about the scrutiny artistes come under based on their music?

You know that to be able to communicate is a form of education. For an artiste to put their lyrics together, all if a foolishness dem a talk and you can get the foolishness out of it, that is a part of communication. Artistes are naturally stereotyped because of our career and we are judged by the background and where we are from that has a lot to do with it as well. As long as we can express ourselves without a communication barrier and the intended audience knows what you are saying then you’re good. For example, you have a particular artiste that calls himself The Dunce Man but if you listen to the lyrics you realise that he is not dunce at all, and it is just the slang and it works. I think the society needs to stop stereotyping people and artistes. Most of the artistes we see are people who have gone to school or had a love for literature.

5. What’s next for Topmann?

I am going to show a different side of me. I am mostly working on showing the true me. So there is be more songs that show a different side from tunes like Gyal Code. I am also working on getting more bookings overseas as well. So we are looking at a lot of growth and expansion. I have upcoming projects to be released soon, a track called Running and collab with Gyptian called Peace of Mind and another collab with Jahshii.