Iconic dancehall artiste Stitchie was recognised for his contribution to the music industry by the Jamaica Reggae music Industry Association (JaRIA) at the annual JaRIA Honour Awards endorsed by the Chase Fund on Saturday night.
The deejay who was also awarded an honorary doctorate from the Cornerstone Christian University in Orlando, Florida, in 2012, told The STAR in a follow- up interview that dancehall music is not receiving major contracts because the genre lost its authenticity.
“I was the first dancehall artiste to be signed to a major label which was Atlantic Records and also the first dancehall artiste to hit the Billboard charts with Know How Fi Dress. In 1989, I was taking dancehall to Europe and explaining to people what dancehall was and also to make it clear that the genre wasn’t a fad and was in fact here to stay. So as the person who has opened the network to major labels, I believe the originality is something that the music is lacking,” the icon said.
The deejay believes Jamaican artistes were the trendsetters in late 80s and 90s, however, they have now become the followers.
“Everybody is trying to sound like somebody and I think there is not much originality even to the sound of the music, people are trying to fuse it with other genres even with rap music. Many of them don’t even realise that rap is a tangent of dancehall music, dancehall is the daddy. People want the authentic thing and if you are trying to be somebody that you are not, things are going to be difficult. People want real Jamaican stuff, our real culture,” he said.
The artiste also thanked JaRIA for the award stating that to be honoured in one’s place of birth, gives the ultimate feeling of appreciation.
“To be recognised in your own country by your own peers in the industry that you never created but became a part of it, that means so much to me. Because I am able to appreciate it and say thanks for it, I am feeling a sense of humility. I wasn’t expecting to become an icon, that wasn’t my aim, I just wanted to do music out of the love and to ensure that my music survived the test of time,” Stitchie said.
The deejay will be releasing his 20th album and a book by the end of 2015. He is also promoting a single called Letter To Dad, which will be featured on the album.
Other honourees included Sugar Minott’s Youthman Promotions Sound System, iconic group The Gaylads, Millie Small, David Rodigan among others.