Sunday, October 1, 2017

#DingazzRoundup September 2017


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Greetings Everyone
Another roundup of what's been happening. Well, been finishing off the next single 'Paint a Better Tomorrow' by Miss Tun Pickney. What's it about? Well, I am a great believer in positive music and the power music has to initiate change. So, the main theme of the song is that there is always an opportunity to make a change. The first line of the song is:'Though today is another day it doesn't mean the same outcome as yesterday'. We can all put our energies into painting a better tomorrow. As is usual with songwriting themes are drawn from experience. I wouldn't be writing this blog if I hadn't believed there could be a better tomorrow. So getting painting people.

single cover art
Cover Art


Promo Video

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#PROMOTION one the 'must dos' for an independent. As usual the big question is on what and where do I spend my limited promotion budget. There are so many promotion services being offered on social media, many not worth spending that hard earned cash on. From my experience I find the spammy type of promotion e.g. I will blast your single to a million potential fans, hasn't worked for me. Music is so subjective, unless you target people who might like your music what is the point. So, I use promotion that is targeted, where I can either target the audience or the provider is already targeting a certain audience.
One type of promotion I use is Radio, FM and Internet. There are many that specialise in Indie artists and are often syndicated, meaning, their shows are played on other stations too. With a good station you will get tweets when your track is played that you can retweet to your followers. One station I am using at the moment, to promote an earlier release is Trend City Radio The station is not a reggae specialist but, I have had some good engagement and feedback. My track got voted into their Top 25 last week (see below). This is what you want as an Indie to broaden your appeal.

song

song

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#REGGAE MERCHANDISE
Launched my merchandise store this week. There are different ways of selling merchandise and with so many activities to take care of as an Indie, I decided I could not allocate enough time to deal with buying merchandise and shipping. So, I went for a managed service. They provide the stock and take care of delivery to the customer and pay me a commission. My store is hosted by  Zazzle
DingazzMusic Reggae Merchandise

You can see some of the items on the panel on the right. I create the designs and Zazzle take care of stock and shipping. I receive a royalty payment from sales but, there are other ways of earning income from them. The profits may not be as high as compared to having an independent store, but for me, making the best use of my time is what matters.
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I'M FOLLOWING  @ Twitterbusiness
There are some good tools associated with Twitter that are not widely known. @twitterbusiness  has some good ideas to make Twitter work better for you. Worth a try.
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Until next time
Bless
Dingazz


Monday, August 21, 2017

#DingazzRoundup Week 34 2017

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Well it's been another couple of weeks so what's been happening?
Still festival season and one the of the best is #RototumSunsplash in Spain. The line up included #Chronixx, The Wailers, U Roy, Big Youth and #Luciano. Check out this video of the Luciano set backed by the Mafia and Fluxy Band Luciano Rototum Sunsplash

Been in the studio myself working on some arrangements and laying down some demos. A mix of Roots and Culture and Lovers Rock. i'm planning to get them voiced by established vocalists and have got a couple in mind. I'll keep you posted.



Knowing when to collaborate is a decision we all have to make at some point. For me, it is whether I can really do the song justice. I know that there are loads of plugins and other wizardry that can make up for certain shortfalls most of us have but, I like to have someones creative gifts rather than a technical fix.

With these songs I felt that my vocals weren't good enough especially for one of the tracks that will have an RnB feel. That's not to say that I believe you can't improve your singing.  I absolutely believe you can. When I first started out time and options were in short supply my voice was not good enough to sing for four minutes. But if I wanted to finish the songs someone had to sing them. I decided that person was me.

I searched YouTube and found a vocal training program that felt right for me, had good reviews and so I subscribed. Nothing ventured nothing gained. After a couple of months I can confirm that my vocal range dramatically improved along with my pitch. This gave me the confidence to voice the tracks I was planning to release. So, yes you can become a better singer but you still have to decide whether that is good enough for your song.

I brought in Mafia and Fluxy (award winning UK reggae producers) to work on the 'riddim' tracks. We layed down the demos in Studio H in Spain and plan to finish them in London. It was a wicked session with great vibes so stay tuned.


me in the studio

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The world seems to be on the brink at the moment with great change and fear on everyone's lips. This is a time when music especially songwriters and musicians can play a big part in getting the right message out there. Counter all the negativity that seems to be around. This is why I believe there is a rise in the popularity of reggae music. It is a music that has always been able to stand-up for truth and rights. Therefore, it has integrity when the artists sing of roots and culture, truth and rights, reality.

peace love reggae

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I'M FOLLOWING:
Rotor Videos @rotorvideos http://rotorvideos.com
Making music videos on a budget is not easy so check out these guys. For a relatively small outlay they have a a product that will give you a music video to be proud of. I tried them out for a dub track I wanted a music video for, see what you think Innocent Dub
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Next roundup in a couple of weeks
Bless  Dingazz


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Respect - A Big Word in Reggae Music


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Greetings

I've spoken about this before but reggae allows for expression of topics that are not easily found in other genres. 'Conscious Lyrics' sit comfortably with the music. Reggae was born out of struggle and the voice of the people. There is a feeling that reggae is becoming more popular because it allows this expression and has the 'Conscious' messages that people want to hear. These can be found in reggae music past and present. This is one reason why reggae greats like #BobMarley and #PeterTosh are as popular as ever. It is their message.

As I have mentioned before, Bob Marley especially was a big influence in my musical journey. He seemed to live his lyrics. So, I understood very early that his songs and lyrics were a way of life. They weren't just words, there was a meaning which you had to 'overstand' ( a higher state off understanding) and respect had to be earned before it can be given. 

An early example, and something I am proud of, was how the band I was in with my brothers (The Instigators) progressed. Like a lot of people from my generation, I lived in a household with strict values. When we decided to start a reggae band our father told us if we grew dreadlocks we weren't living under his roof (sounds harsh but that was just how it was). As we progressed and reggae gained in popularity all our peers wanted to look the part and most members had locks.

We decided that we would let out music do the talking and we did get some stick about not having anyone with dreads in the band 'the bands full of baldheads!'  (until Courtney our lead singer came on board).

my photo of courtneymy photo of the instigators

However, over time we gained a reputation for authentic reggae and things changed, having dreadlocks was not so important ( for those that were not Rastafarians) and hairstyles changed. But, what I remember is people then coming up to us and saying you guys didn't 'follow fashion you did your own thing, nuff respect'.That early lesson stayed with and even now as an indie artist and producer it gives me the courage to travel my own road and believe in what I am doing.

Reggae itself, I believe, has not received the respect it desires and because of this I believe a lot of young people have chosen other genres to make their way in the industry. However, in some ways, because of the lack of recognition for the music, reggae has a standing when it comes to messages of peace, love, inequality, equal rights, struggle and war, that is recognized and respected. As these are messages that have been written and sung about since its creation.

So, in a world, where in many places, the word respect seems to have little value, or it is only applied according to specific rules, people are looking for something a bit deeper in their music. Respect has always been a big word in reggae and a fundamental principle for peace. That is why you hear it in the lyrics of many reggae songs.

Respect, it is only one word but it can solve a thousand problems.


respect

Friday, February 17, 2017

#Reggaevibe - Find Your Own Sound



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Greetings

One of the toughest things about being an Indie Artist is trying to stand out from the crowd. One way is to find your own style and sound. This is not the only way. A lot of artists go down the doing covers road. This is a good way to get noticed and if the cover takes off can lead to the opportunity to then release your own songs. However, I have decided to release my own songs with my own feel.

One of my releases ' Innocent'  was reviewed and when I saw the lead title ' Miss Tun Pickney Expands the Reggae Genre' this meant a lot to me as trying to add your own twist to a genre in a meaningful way leaves yourself open to self doubt especially if this is viewed negatively.

Innocent Review by Indie Band Guru

However, the music industry is now a place of opportunity for many. But with this comes the fact that trying to be visible to music lovers is hard work. There are many factors that can make your music different in a crowded market place and one of those is to have a different sound. There is an insatiable appetite for new music. So although trying to have your own sound is risky, if you get it right, it can make a big difference to your path to success.

I draw inspiration from my musical influencers and the things that I like to hear in songs. As a musican you can then add 'yourself' to the song. What I mean is, for example, you could give 10 guitarists the same guitar and you would hear 10 personalities being portrayed when they play the guitar. This personality is what needs to be added to the musical ideas to finally end up with your own sound. It doesn't have to be a dramatic difference to be recognized, it could just be a matter of emphasis.

If you follow my blog you know my genre is #reggae but there are always things I like in great songs from other genres, the things that make you remember the song. My biggest influences were Bob Marley and Sly & Robbie. The pioneering rhythm section, that Sly & Robbie were, is something that always stayed with me and during my days with 'The Instigators' had a strong influence on our songs. Bob Marley, on the hand, was a supreme storyteller and the power that good lyrics have to transform a song is understood by all music fans.

However, it takes courage and belief to put your personality into your music rather than make it sound like someone else's. Especially, if you are looking to make a living from making music. But. nothing beats the feeling when others appreciate your musical style and productions, that is a flame that can keep fires of self belief burning for a long while.

So I am going to keep trying out ideas and try to expand the reggae genre in my own way. If your music doesn't contain any of you, then, it's somebody else's music (sounds like an idea for a song..hmm?)

You can hear my productions on my website  Dingazz Music the home of Miss Tun Pickney.

Innocent Review by Indie Band Guru

single cover art



Saturday, February 4, 2017

#ReggaeMonth Jamaica - Good Idea!


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Greetings

February is #ReggaeMonth in Jamaica. This is a recognition of the importance of reggae to #Jamaica socially, musically and economically. It is being celebrated across the island and is supported by artists and the government alike. Check out the twitter handle @reggaemonth and the hashtag #reggaemonth. It is great to see the people of Jamaica and the government recognizing the impact reggae music has made to enhancing brand Jamaica.

Jamaica is the home of reggae so, it is right that it is celebrated. The music has spread from a little isaland in the Caribbean all over the world. It has been a vehicle for people to express important human issues like injustice, equality, peace and human rights. This is probably the reason main stream radio shies away from having much reggae on their playlists.

Though the music still struggles to get the recognition it deserves, there are now other 'centres' of growth and expansion of #reggaemusic like the USA, Europe and even Japan. Where new artists from differing backgrounds are expanding the boundaries of reggae and building large followings. Reggae now has sub-genres, like Dub, Dancehall, Lovers Rock and each of these sub-genres is expanding. It will become more and more difficult to ignore reggae music.

Reggae month, therefore, is a good way for Jamaica to advertise that Jamaica is where it all began. That is something that will never change and cannot be taken away.

rastaman and Jamaican flag

In the UK, the reggae market seems to have shrunk compared to mainland Europe where, you will find many international reggae music festivals like #Rototom Sunsplash #ReggaeJam and #Garance Festival. In fact there are reggae festivals all over the world. This is confirmed by the number of Jamaican artists that may well tour Europe without visiting the UK or just make a token appearance.

This is a shame as I was fortunate to experience what I believe was a golden era for reggae when Bob Marley was at his peak. In the UK, at the time,  reggae was a voice for change and I clearly remember the 'Rock Against Racism' movement of which reggae played an integral part. So, maybe the UK reggae industry could put its weight behind a reggae month in the UK (maybe #reggaemonthUK) to re-energize the reggae scene and maybe give the music the critical mass, focus and exposure it needs.

We see for a few days in August each year how the Notting Hill Carnival gets a lot of exposure and is now recognized  the world over. A countrywide celebration of Reggae annually could achieve the same thing. We have the tools to make this happen WE JUST NEED THE WILL!

Anyone for #reggaemonthUK
                                                              ------   oOo  -----
How good is your Jamaican Patois?
I came across the hashtag #reggaeAFilm on twitter. Where you add a reggae / Jamaican twist to a film title. There were some really good contributions like the ones below:

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 of your own?

Link to dingazzmusic.com



Friday, January 27, 2017

#70sVibe #Vinyl #RootsRockReggae REVIVAL

DingazzMusic

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Greetings

With the advent of digital music and the popularity of downloads, it seemed that vinyl 45s would be relegated to museums but, they seem to be making a comeback. In the UK scene some of the bands from the golden age of vinyl reggae are still going  Misty in Roots and Aswad. Others are making a comeback like Black Slate. That got me thinking and I started looking at the reggae scene.

Back in the day when vinyl was king there was a lot of underlying tension in the community with ideals and causes like 'Rock Against Racism'  which held rallies and festivals where reggae artists often had the opportunity to be billed. The music also reflected this 'reality' and this 'crossed over' because the issues could be related to by many parts of the community, not just the black community. Because of reggae's ability to be a vehicle for expression, some of the best reggae music was written and produced. I believe this period was reggae's heyday and all this great music captured on vinyl.

It felt great to have the latest  single or even better buying what was called a 'pre-release' which was an imported single from Jamaica that was not generally available. To have these in a physical collection of records was something to be proud of. So there was always a rush to the record shop to get the latest singles before they were sold out.

vinyl record



With digital technology came the increased availability of music and also the need to do without a physical representation of the music. I remember thinking, this will never take off. People paying for music they don't own with no physical asset. How wrong can you be. However, the new breed of music lovers are beginning to rediscover the joy of owning something their musical heroes produced. Because of this, some artists are now releasing some tracks only on vinyl. The few pressing plants that still exist are in high demand with lead times for a run of vinyls being months. How times change.

In the dub scene, fans are willing to pay a good some for 'Specials' which are very limited edition vinyls that are not on general release. The merchandise table for the top sound systems and DJs now doing a roaring trade in vinyls.

Looking at the world at the moment, we are in a period of uncertainty and although the sub genres of reggae like lovers rock and dancehall are popular, there is definitely a rise in the popularity of Roots and Culture, Reality and Conscious reggae.Whether out of Jamaica like #RagingFyah #Jah9 and #MorganHeritage or from the USA with #Rebelution and #Groundation, there seems to be a return to music with a cause. Because of this I believe fans are feeling a stronger connection with the artists and want something more tangible than an mp3 audio file.

Reggae music was born from the need for people to have a vehicle for their voice and it is still a vehicle for the people to be heard. Only now the voice is also on vinyl.

Friday, January 13, 2017

I am #Innocent


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Greetings

The single by Miss Tun Pickney entitled 'Innocent' . The idea for the song is that innocence is not defined by the innocent. This is something that I have always found a bit scary. You here the saying 'if you are innocent you have nothing to fear'. But from what I see in the news bulletins everyday that seems  an over simplification. Cases of mistaken identity, the treatment of outsiders, racial profiling, bullying and trolling. All these are circumstances that put a presumption of guilt on a person my others. When this happens it can be very difficult for that person to put things right without making matters worse.

You see it everywhere as there are so many mediums to voice opinions. Social media has made it easy for people to hide behind a profile, which, for the concept of free speech is a great thing. But can be devastating if a campaign against an innocent person is conducted because the speed of communication is instant the opinion can go viral in hours.

Sadly, there have been many cases where the trauma of the campaign is too much for some and has ended in tragedy. To be, this conveyed that no matter your personal view of your innocence, it is really in the control of others, whether justified or not. We live on a narrow track where we normally do not have to justify ourselves but, it doesn't take much to change that. So, in the song I try to define what innocent means to me and ask the question 'what does innocent mean to you'. I think it is a question we should all ask ourselves and then see if we like the answer.

It was difficult thinking of a theme for the cover art. How to reflect what the song is about in one image. Innocence, as far as I was concerned, was a birth right of all people and I wanted to try and reflect this in the video and the cover art. So, I threw this over to my graphic designer to come up with some ideas, one of which, was a face, but whose face? Then, the idea of a face that was a collage of other faces came to mind.

A few options were put forward and I settled on the one you see in the cover art. I wanted to try and convey a couple of ideas, is this the face of innocence and " I am innocent!". I don't know if this worked, I'll let you decide. But, I hope you find the image interesting, let me know what you think.


single cover art




This is why I love creating music because there have been so many songs that really have made an impact on me. I hope you will listen to it and maybe you will agree or disagree. The main thing is, I hope it strikes a chord (excuse the pun) with you in some way. Let me know what you think, comments are often great triggers for a new song idea as well as great feedback. The video link is here


Dingazz Music the home of Miss Tun Pickney