IN­SIDE SAINT LU­CIA’S MU­SIC IN­DUS­TRY: AN IN­TER­VIEW WITH BIGSEA

The Star (St. Lucia) - Business Week - - MAKING MOVES - BY KERYN NEL­SON, STAR BUSINESSWEEK CORRESPONDENT

After his 2017 hit, Any size, Casim James, over­seer of the ‘Twaka Fam­ily’, or as most would call him, ‘Big Sea’, now proudly wears his man­tle as a Den­nery Seg­ment soca artist. With an in­ter­est in mu­sic dat­ing as far back as his days as a boy at the Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive Sec­ondary School, the now 32-year-old mu­si­cian and en­tre­pre­neur has achieved ma­jor suc­cess largely due to his mar­ket­ing-savvy ap­proach to his craft. In the midst of his hec­tic sched­ule, pre­par­ing for a gov­ern­men­tor­gan­ised six-week tour in the United States, Big Sea ac­cepted The STAR Businessweek’s re­quest for an hour of his time to dis­cuss his in­volve­ment in Saint Lu­cia’s mu­sic in­dus­try. SBW: WHEN DID YOU JOIN THE DEN­NERY SEG­MENT MOVE­MENT? BIG SEA: I would say it hap­pened in late 2016, early 2017. Be­fore that I fo­cused more on hip hop and rap but one of my friends sug­gested I go into soca. Peo­ple who know me knew I was some­one who would al­ways in­cor­po­rate very lo­cal lan­guage and cul­ture in my art so, when I de­cided to go into soca, I wanted to go into the most cul­tured part of it. Plus I al­ready knew a lot of the Den­nery Seg­ment artists be­fore they had their hits so they were more than happy to have me.

SBW: WAS THIS WHEN YOUR BRAND, THE TWAKA FAM­ILY, CAME TO FRUITION?

BIG SEA: Well, yes. Twaka Fam­ily is a new brand but be­fore that there was SAM. Although it is not an of­fi­cial label, SAM op­er­ates like a brother­hood. It is named after one of my child­hood friends who passed away. What we do is we prep artists and get them ready to max­i­mize suc­cess in the in­dus­try. I show them what I know about so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing and brand­ing. Since I moved into soca, I wanted to brand it sep­a­rately. I treat Twaka Fam­ily more like a busi­ness and in­cor­po­rate more brand aware­ness. We have a cloth­ing line and I try to push that, es­pe­cially since the word ‘twaka’ is very fit­ting for soca. In the fu­ture I want to go into mul­ti­me­dia man­age­ment and to help artists get their mu­sic pub­lished.

SBW: DO THE DEN­NERY SEG­MENT ARTISTS IN YOUR CIR­CLE MAKE GOOD USE OF ON­LINE MU­SIC STREAM­ING PLAT­FORMS?

BIG SEA: In terms of hav­ing mu­sic on­line, that’s [some­thing] the artists them­selves would have to fol­low through with. Most artists in Saint Lu­cia just put their mu­sic di­rectly onto Youtube. When you post it di­rectly onto Youtube, like that, there is re­ally no way to gen­er­ate any rev­enue un­less you mon­e­tize the Youtube ac­count. The other way artists can make money by putting mu­sic on­line is through Tunecore, and things like that, where they would tag the song, and when you put it on Youtube you’d start gen­er­at­ing cents ev­ery time some­body views or clicks on it. Some sites would also al­low you to put it on iTunes, Spo­tify, etc, where peo­ple can buy it.

SBW: WHAT IS YOUR RE­SPONSE TO CLAIMS THAT THE LYRICS OF SOME DEN­NERY SEG­MENT SONGS ARE TOO DIRTY?

BIG SEA: Well, if you ask me, I think we are artists. You’re cre­at­ing art and art is sub­jec­tive.The Den­nery Seg­ment mu­sic def­i­nitely streamed from solo and folk mu­sic that we in­her­ited from our fore­fa­thers who use to do djouk fouyé and all these type of dances that were very provoca­tive. It just pro­motes hav­ing fun; it’s all about danc­ing, mov­ing your waist and feel­ing the vibe. We’re not pro­mot­ing vi­o­lence, we’re not pro­mot­ing rape or steal­ing; we’re pro­mot­ing men and women hav­ing fun.

SBW: SO WITH THE UP­COM­ING TOUR OR­GAN­ISED BY THE GOV­ERN­MENT, NO-ONE WAS MADE TO CEN­SOR THEIR LYRICS?

BIG SEA: I won’t say they can get us to change our lyrics. Like I said, it’s art and as artists we’re en­ti­tled to ex­press our­selves. How­ever, if we want to be on an in­ter­na­tional plat­form we will def­i­nitely have to sub­mit radio-friendly or cen­sored mu­sic.

SBW: HOW DOES IT FEEL TO GET SUP­PORT FROM THE GOV­ERN­MENT?

BIG SEA: It feels very good. It re­minds me of when I would play bas­ket­ball for Saint Lu­cia. You feel like you’re on team Saint Lu­cia go­ing out there. Ev­ery­one knows be­cause it’s on the news. You feel like a pi­o­neer, like an am­bas­sador. It feels good to get the op­por­tu­nity. I al­ways like to say, ‘Peo­ple don’t owe us anyt­ing,’ so when some­one de­cides to put some­thing on the ta­ble for you, then you have to be ap­pre­cia­tive.

Big Sea, along with ten other lo­cal Den­nery Seg­ment artists, left Saint Lu­cia on Au­gust 30 to tour in cities across the United States. Per­for­mances have been sched­uled in: New York, Texas, Con­neti­cut, At­lanta, Philadel­phia, Bos­ton and Mi­ami.

Peo­ple who know me knew I was some­one who would al­ways in­cor­po­rate very lo­cal lan­guage and cul­ture in my art so, when I de­cided to go into soca, I wanted to go into the most cul­tured part of it

When he is not busy be­ing ‘big bro’ to younger Saint Lu­cian tal­ent, Bigsea can be found paving his way to in­ter­na­tional ac­claim.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.