Jun 04, 2023 News
Richie Rich Jaggy Records studio…
By Shervin Belgrave
Kaieteur News – Guyana is definitely not the place to invest in music for profit, but despite the challenges and major losses, producers face in the local industry, there is one in the business who doesn’t mind losing money. In a recent interview with The Waterfalls, the local producer, who goes by the name of Richie Rich, said he is making music in Guyana because he loves it and that rhythm beats and sounds are part of not only his life but the lives of human beings.
Richie Rich said that many have advised him to quit making music because there is no money to be made in the local industry, but he would always respond, “Here we do music for love, here at the Jaggy Records Studio (the local recording studio he has set up in Guyana), we do music for love it is not a hobby, this is life.”
Richie Rich was born in Guyana and attended St. John’s College, but after dropping out of secondary school at age of 15, his mother decided to migrate to neighbouring Venezuela. There, Richie Rich was offered the opportunity to further his education; he fell in the niche of music, something he loved since childhood.
“I can remember and I have photos of this when I was a child, my step-father had this sound system and me and my brother, we would put these headphones on and get a mic and we would be singing”, Richie told The Waterfalls.
After receiving his qualifications in music engineering (one overseas the technical aspects of recording sessions), Richie joined the Venezuelan music industry in 2009.
During his career, Richie spent most of his time doing shows and working as a songwriter and singer. It was going well for Richie Rich until the Venezuelan economy crashed and the country was plunged into crisis.
Richie was left with no choice but to return to his home country in 2020 but relocating and leaving everything behind was no easy task for the music producer.
“Although I am Guyanese, it was very hard cause you don’t have a contact, you cannot get back your friends, you could not make a link, it was very hard,” Richie said.
Nevertheless, according to Richie, his mother always had the perfect idea. She reportedly opened a hair salon and the money they earned from that was further invested to open-up a car wash.
“…And there we started yuh know selling lil food, yuh know normal things…hustling”. The new way of life, however, meant that Richie would be separated from his love, music and even though it made him sad, he would cheer himself up with his mother’s comforting words.
“She would always say yuh know, we got to put aside our past like where we come from and we have to start fresh. Don’t have fear maybe starting over is the best thing,” the music producer said.
Richie accepted that starting over might be the best thing, but music, according to him, was a part of him that he could not let go.
The music producer recalled that while washing cars, he would meet people and spot camera gear and music instruments in the trunk.
“I overheard a conversation with him talking musically. I am a person when you talk about music, I am just there…It just burst out; I am just emotionally and mentally happy,” Richie recounted.
He immediately approached Barrington and asked him for an opportunity to showcase his skill in the local music industry.
To his surprise, Barrington accepted his proposal and that is where it all started for Richie Rich. At the time, he was not acquainted with many Guyanese artistes so he worked with Issibaby, a Venezuela artiste who started her career singing karaoke.
She collaborated with Guyanese singer Ezan Benzy and Barrington was impressed. Richie was producing music again and then he met a journalist and singer, Zeena Henry, who shared her vision for Guyanese music to be recognised on the world stage.
Together they birthed Iszwerich Entertainment, a small recording studio on Waterloo Street, Georgetown. But as is the trend in the local industry, there is no major support for local music and Richie and Zeena suffered losses.
“I told her (Zeena) let’s take a break and I am going to save some stuff,” Richie said while adding that although they decided to save up to invest some more, he did not stop working with Guyanese artistes and continued to make music in his bedroom.
“I remember using a blanket so that the sound won’t expand”, Richie recalled. Luck, however, was on Richie’s side. An opportunity presented itself when a Canadian music producer from Canadian label, Jaggy Records visited him and asked to listen to some of his productions.
The Canadian company was taken aback by the quality of Richie’s production and decided to invest by equipping his bedroom studio with professional gear, which included an interface, monitors and studio quality recording microphones.
It came as a huge surprise for Richie, but it was a second opportunity that Richie Rich was not going to let slip through his fingers, so the Richie Rich, Jaggy Records studio was born in Guyana and has been doing well since then, producing genres of music targeting the Latin American, Caribbean and North American markets.
“Our main artists right now are classified in different genres. We have Issibaby the Latin artist, we have Yellow Marshal the dancehall artiste, Dennis King another dancehall artiste, Zepe we have Gringo, Fido, Solomon and we are making the industry change right now in Guyana” a positive Richie detailed.
Asked what can be done locally for Guyanese music to trend globally like popular singers, Richie said, “I want the Guyanese artistes to know is that we need support from all the radio stations, the newspapers, promoters, the DJS”.
“What people don’t understand is that you have got to keep beating that song if you play that song three, four, five, six, seven times eventually people are going to like it somehow and of course the song would go viral in the country,” Richie explained.
He noted that artists in the Caribbean would get that kind of support from their respective islands and their songs would trend. Promoters from other countries would then book them for shows as well and give them free promo making their music viral across the globe.
Richie pointed too that while support is needed, artistes have to play their part by not being lazy when it comes to selling their product.
“Do not invest in music just to keep it in a flash drive and save it,” said Richie while explaining that artistes need to learn to promote their own production by posting, and convincing promoters, DJs to play their songs.
“They can even get the media to give them publicity,” he said.
As it relates to his studio, Richie said, “I am not doing it for money, I want to leave a legacy that there is a Guyanese producer in Guyana working and that Guyanese artistes came out of my studio. I want to leave a legacy that Richie Rich always sends something good to the public.”
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