Dancehall/R&B singer Rayvon has been doing “big tings” since the early 90’s. Not only was he the featured singer on reggae artist Shaggy’s multi-platinum hit “Angel,” the Jamaican born singer is also credited for massive hits including “Big Up” and “Nice and Lovely.” From a two week stint at UPS to being an international recognized dancehall artist, Rayvon caught Singersroom up with his latest solo effort, being released under his own label GTC Entertainment. He walks us through the real steps and work it takes to be an artist while also running your own business, performing and dancing on stage and even how he would wine and dine a lady.
Singersroom: What are some of the challenges you are facing with the launch of your own label?
Rayvon: There might be quite a few because as an independent label you are responsible more or less for everything, except the distribution. So, marketing of the product and the advertising of the product and getting it out there to your fan base and creating a new fan base is all up to you now; it all falls in your hands. So, that’s one of the major challenges because there’s no parent company so-to-speak, so you’re not a trial company you are the parent company and with that parent company comes a lot responsibilities. Responsibility I think is one of the biggest cons. But depending on the product that you put out and the artist that you have, you can definitely be a top contender in the industry.
Singersroom: So since you are responsible for so many aspects as the owner, how does all that responsibility factor into the creating of the actual album? Since you have to worry about so much its like double pressure when making the album right?
Rayvon: Oh Yesâ¦sometimes its triple pressure (laughs)â¦because you’re the artist so there’s a lot of pressure in the creation of the album. That’s one side of it and now it’s all about putting the album out to the public. So, I think what’s very important is the team, that you have working with you; because you cannot do it by yourself. The team is important, if not one of the most important things, because a team is going to have your back; you’re going to have the team’s back. If everybody has the same vision and goal and everybody’s headed toward the goal I think you can accomplish it faster than when you have a bunch of people and everybody’s on a different page.
Singersroom: What’s your relationship with Shaggy now? Is he featured on the new album?
Rayvon: Oh Yes, he definitely will be featured on the new album. He has an album too that I will also be on. The fans love those Rayvon/Shaggy, Shaggy/Rayvon combinations, so it’s only right to keep giving it to them. We’re touring Australia, New Zealand now.
Singersroom: How does it feel to set the record for the longest 2-week notice after leaving UPS?
Rayvon: (Laughing) Yeah, I might still have a position over there, I don’t even know. (Laughs) I never really officially [left]â¦everything happens in a time, and I wasn’t really intending to leave that job because as much as I love doing the music I know how difficult it can be; so I just thought I had gotten lucky at first. So, I was going to stick to that [job] and just let music be a hobby. But I think the music kind of chose me and said “this is your calling” so, I had to end up picking one or the other. And I think I’d rather commit to a job I love to do. I love music.
Singersroom: How would you say you have grown since your hit “Big Up?”
Rayvon: Oh, I’ve definitely grown in the business realizing that those two words are very connected. Music. Business. A lot of times, artists when they first start out they’re just concentrating on the music. They use the term music business kind of loosely not really understanding that it’s a business and you have to deal with it like a business; you have to dot every “I” and cross every “T.” And if you don’t do that then that could cost you in a lot of ways.
Singersroom: With your label is it going to be just you or are you looking for new artists?
Rayvon: Oh, definitely. It’s going to function like a label. So, it’s going to be different genres of music from: Reggae to R&B to Hip Hop to Pop. And my project will be the first project but it’s not the only project that I intend to put out through the label. I think I have a good ear and an eye for talent and I want to put that to good use too. Because, coming up along the way I’ve come across all kinds of talent all around the world. People giving me their demos like: “Oh can you help me out?” and I tell them the truth I really wasn’t in the position to do anything for them at that timeâ¦ But, a lot of these people have good material, they just want a break, they just want a chanceâ¦So, if I could offer that to another artist and make it beneficial for everybody then I think I should do that.
Singersroom: Did you work with any hip hop or R&B acts on this new album?
Rayvon: There’s a Spanish pop artist called Young Quest that’s going to be featured on the album. Shaggy, of course. Then some reggae artist and some hip hop artist have been consideredâ¦but yes I will have some combinations of Hip Hop and R&B artists and producers also.
Singersroom: What’s the first single off the album?
Rayvon: The first single is called “Back It Up”. It’s a very upbeat, up-tempo, party song. Usually I sing and I reggae chant with other artists, but now I’m going to do it with myself. (Laughs) It’s a cross between: Pop, Dance, Reggae, Calypso kind of feel. It’s like a tropical fruit punch blend of song.
Singersroom: As a dancehall artist you have delivered many hits throughout the years, but you’re not typically mentioned, do you feel unappreciated?
Rayvon: Sometimes. Sometimes you feel a little underappreciated but you know that the fans are what really keep you going. Everytime I go out to certain functions or perform at certain functions the fans come back and show me tremendous love. [So] even if I’m feeling a little underappreciated, I know that my work is being recognized and once I keep doing what I’m doing eventually it’ll get to that point.
Singersroom: Let’s talk about dancing…Are you the dancing type?
Rayvon: Oh yeah! Yeah, yeah I’m the dancing type. I don’t do the ‘go on stage and stand in one place and sing’â¦I have to illustrate sometimes. Some of my music is energetic and is explaining certain dance movesâ¦so I got to be able to do at least some of the stuff that I’m talking about. And the crowd feeds off of what you’re giving and vice versa. If you come out and you’re energetic they’re going to give it back to you. So, yeah I’m a dancer.
Singersroom: What’s your favorite dance?
Rayvon: My favorite dance I think is what you call the “winding skill.” Now the winding skill is the movement of the waist, without moving the rest of the body. It’s like a male erotic kind of macho dance when males do it. But that’s for certain kinds of music like “Lover’s Rock” Reggae or Dancehall Reggae. But if a dance track comes on I put on my dancing shoes, a hip hop track, I do my two-stepâ¦I think I’m kind of an all around kind of dancer.
Singersroom: Do you think dancing is one of the main reasons Dancehall is so mainstream.
Rayvon: Yeah. It’s a lot of things that keep Dancehall on the fore front. I think it has to do with the music, the dancing and the dressing. I think those three things play hand in hand that makes it so acceptable, people want to do it, they want to try it. It definitely keeps it intriguing to the music business.
Singersroom: Do you pick women up like Elephant man?
Rayvon: (Laughs) Well, I’ve had female dancing partners on stage, but no I haven’t actually picked a lady up like elephant man (laughing).
Singersroom: How would you wine and dine that special lady?
Rayvon: Well, I think dinner over a movie is the way to go. Because a movie screen is doing all the talking and you’re not talking back to the screen unless you’re crazy. But a dinner date stimulates your mind. So, a nice dinner, a nice glass of wine. Some real good conversation and I think everything will fall into place after that because the comfort zone is what you’re aiming for.
Singersroom: What’s next for Rayvon?
Rayvon: Well, the sky is the limit for me right now. I think I’m venturing off into a lot of different arenas. As far as productions, putting out artists on the label, I also want to set up a tour featuring the artist from the label. Maybe even some movie situations. So, the sky’s the limit you never know where you’re going to catch me next. Right now it’s the label, the music, other artistsâ¦then just stay tuned to Rayvon on the website, Facebook, Myspace and of course SINGERSROOM to see what’s happening with Rayvon in the future. —— By: Interview By Lauren M. Walker