Monday, December 12, 2016

#crimefreechristmas

The #crimefreechristmas campaign seems to be really taking off with numerous reggae artists taking part like #DuaneStephenson, #TarrusRiley and #Chronixx. This is where music can really help send a message that can make change happen. So if you come across #crimefreechristmas give it your support if it is something you believe in. I do, as it fits well with a couple of my mantras 'POSITIVE MUSIC' and  'ADD TO THE GOOD'.


Duane Stephenson - Better Tomorrow
https://youtu.be/v-WO-JJSNOI




Saturday, December 10, 2016

UK Songwriting Contest Results 2016

Well the UK Songwriting Contest 2016 has ended. This was my first submission to a songwriting contest and below are the certificates for my two highest placed songs. 

As an independent songwriter and producer this really gives incentive to push ahead. It puts your skills in some context. Now, the judgements are partly a matter of opinion and taste so, not achieving your goal in the contest should not diminish the determination to succeed. As we are all listeners to music, we know that musical taste is a very personal thing. 

To try and reduce some of the issues around taste, I also entered songs in the 'Lyrics Only' category. This way the judges can envision the song according to their tastes. I added no notes regarding the genre of the song. 

What I take from the outcome is that my own beliefs are not misplaced even though there is still a lot of work to do. Having the certificates also gives a little reminder, on those days where you wonder if it is worth it, that you can achieve success in this industry.

As an independent there are so many hats to wear, songwriter, musician, producer, studio engineer, business person, marketeer all needing some of your precious time. A little bit of validation from your peers goes a long way.




Saturday, December 3, 2016

#TheBeginning - How it all Began - #TheInstigators





There was always music at home, Country, Rock Steady, Ska and #Reggae. An uncle living with us had a #SoundSystem which gave my brothers and me exposure to all the classic #Jamaican music. We did toy with the idea of having our own Sound System but, then one day, the catalyst arrived. Mum bought an acoustic guitar from a friend and gave it to my brother.


I had just started working and I would come home and see my brother playing these melodies as he sat listening to Vinyl 45s. I thought, wow, bruv's got some real talent. So I put a deposit on a Fender copy Columbus bass guitar. The next thing I know bruv has decided we are starting a band, no instruments, no real musicianship at that time.


Over the next few months we taught ourselves rudimentary skills on DIY instruments until we could afford the real thing. A couple of school friends joined and so 'The Instigators' was formed.


The rehearsal studio was my bedroom and thankfully we had good neighbours. My brothers hawked around some rehearsal tapes and eventually a local Sound System owner 'Fatman' decided to open a few doors for us. The first thing that got us noticed was after we put down tracks for an album by two of Fatman's DJs. On hearing the Album the renowned David Rodigan refused to believe that a British reggae band had recorded the tracks.

We also released some singles the first called 'Let's Make Love' sung by Toyin Adekale who then went on to have a successful solo career. The follow ups were sung by the late Courtney Bartley (RIP), a great singer, who we discovered singing a tune on a bus.


 Another notable step up was a residency at the 100 Club in Oxford Street. This really helped to make the band a tight unit. We started backing the touring reggae artists from Jamaica and also had some success with some singles.


Then the inevitable happened and the band broke up as life and commitments got in the way. I pretty much left the music industry and became an accountant (I can hardly believe it myself). However, my  brothers went on to be successful musicians and producers winning awards and creating numerous hits in the UK reggae scene.


Which brings us to the present day. I always knew that I had unfinished business and the time was right to continue chasing the dream. So, the story continues, I'll keep you posted (no pun intended).


Sunday, November 13, 2016

#MafiaandFluxy - Our Home Grown Icons

A salute from StationFM to two of the UK pioneers Mafia & Fluxy who went to the home of reggae and proved that great reggae could be played and produced in the UK. I salute you bruvs!


Thirty 30 years as music producers and a few more years with The Instigators before that.
The story and the journey continues.....

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Akala Roots Reggae and Rebellion

Watched the Akala documentary on BBC4 'Roots Reggae and Rebellion'. A lot of the footage, if you are of a certain age,  would be familiar but, it was good to see a program that showed the struggle the music itself has had to overcome and also the impact it has made worldwide.

For the millenniums amongst you the social comment that reggae music gave voice to was brought to life by the footage of the events that lead to the rise of the music in Jamaica and the UK. I remember those times in the UK and reggae music was a unifying force and voice to communicate the inequalities felt at that time. It was also why I got into the music business in the first place, starting a band with my brothers and friends.

What the documentary also showed was that reggae spawned many other genres of music that have fared better, reggae still not regarded as mainstream. But, one thing is still true, reggae is a genre that still allows strong social comment riding on the foundation of a 'riddim' built on drum n bass. That's why I love this music.

Friday, November 11, 2016

#Conscious Music and the Age of Aquarius

Music has always been a medium to enable topics on social change and worldly events to be heard. 2017 with its natural disasters, 2016 with Brexit, the US election and the conflicts throughout the world sure suggests that #change is coming.

Apparently, we are now in the 'Age of Aquarius'.This is an astrological age that represents rapid change and awakening. There sure has been a lot of change in recent years both socially and technologically. On the internet there are thousands of videos questioning the 'facts' we believed to be true. There is definitely an increase in 'consciousness' and the impact of this will be felt by all of us. The effects will depend on how each of us handles this change.








However, the Age of Aquarius is also a period of love, brotherhood and unity. So, from a music and songwriting perspective we have the chance to influence change with the messages that our music and lyrics portray. Artists like #Jah9 , #Chronixx have tapped into this greater awareness or awakening and are rapidly gaining an army of fans.






Some are pointing to the 'Quickening' the speeding up of time as one of the reasons for this increased consciousness. For example, the effects of the decisions of others e.g. governments and corporations took more time for people to become aware of it say 20 years ago. However, the internet has cut the time between action and awareness, a message sent and the message received. Because of this the power of  'Conscious Music' is even greater.




So let's use the power of music to send positive messages and raise awareness and make the most of the Age of Aquarius.


Dingazz Music Website




Saturday, November 5, 2016

#BobMarley - Bob Marley Nobel Prize for Literature?

Congratulations to Bob Dylan for winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. It was awarded to Dylan for "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition". There's no doubt that for 50 years Dylan has been writing songs that include socially conscious topics. However, if the award was to be based on conscious lyrics, then, I am sure that Bob Marley would be right up there.

Although, he is no longer with us physically Bob Marley's words of wisdom are constantly quoted on the internet and are still a source of inspiration. One thing this all proves is the power that music has to touch people and from this feeling can come forth action. 

As the great man said "Love the life you live and live the life you love"






Friday, October 28, 2016

Try this #reggaeAFilm

Came across the hashtag #reggaeAFilm on twitter. Where you add a reggae / Jamaican twist to a film title. There were some good ones like:

Lord of the tings
G'wan with the Wind
Irie Potter
Dial M fe Murdah
Dutty Dancing
The Gruffalo Soldier

My contribution:
Spar Wars
Godfaddah tree

A bit of fun got any ideas?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

All about that little something

If we knew the secret to creating a great track this music business thing would be a lot easier. There are so many elements and even as a listener and fan I know there are different things on a track that tick the box. It can be a hook line, the story in the lyrics, the melody or just the 'riddim'.

Monday, October 24, 2016

UK Song Writing Contest 2016 update

We can all work in our own little world but this music business leaves plenty by the wayside. So you have to believe and test yourself against your peers. That's one reason I entered the UKSC. So just to update you on what has happened. I entered a couple of MP3s in several categories as I couldn't really work out which was the best fit for reggae, they didn't make it into the semis. I also entered songs in the 'Lyric Only' category and am pleased to say that two have reached the semi-finals and so in with a shout of the finals. For me, this is a great marker. It means industry experts also think I can write songs. There are plenty of other things that make you wonder whether it is worth the effort in this business. But these are things you can look back on and say to yourself.. keep going!




The finalists and winners will be announced in November....it doesn't cost anything to dream









Friday, October 14, 2016

Lost my Note Book

Lost my note book yesterday with my song edits and ideas. Luckily, when I have the bones to a song I save it online but, sometimes you get an idea and want to write it down. Maybe I'll have to go 100% digital.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

#Reggae a Voice for the People

Just reviewing the news and the focus on the negative stuff going on in the world. It reminds me of my formative years, similar to now, a lot of focus on division. Then reggae was a voice for positive energy. Bob Marley was at his peak and reggae was spreading all over the world.

It is different now reggae has many sub-genres, Dancehall, Lovers Rock, Roots & Culture, Dub etc. But the time has come for us reggae songwriters, musicians and producers to put even more focus on sending positive messages, no matter how hard it is to get exposure for the music. With the help of listeners, fans and like-minded people we can succeed.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

L.U.C.I.D

I just followed back an artist on Twitter called Dre Lucid. 
As he says L.U.C.I.D stands for 'Living Under Circumstances I Decide' an expression of self reliance and a dream optimistic state of mind. I really connected with this as it is similar to the idea in the lyrics of 'Just a Point of View'. You can check him out at http://drelucid.bandzoogle.com/

Song Writing Contest

Decided to enter the UK song writing contest. Can never find the appropriate category for reggae music. It is hardly ever listed. But entered 'Your Magic' and also entered the 'Lyric only' category for some songs I've written. I'll keep you posted

September Progress

Hi
Decided to set up a blog on the website instead of the Twitter widget. There is a Twitter account for Dingazz Music (@ dingazzmusic) but at least with my on blog I'm not limited to 140 characters, nor for that matter are you. So let's see how we go.

Released 'Just a Point of View' a sort of reggae hiphop tune. A light hearted look at perceptions