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June 1, 2010

REGGAE

RISING STAR

Beky Glacier: Spotlight on a Rising Star By Kevin Pennant Out of many there will be few to rise, take stage, and bellow out their stories surrounding the circumstances of life, narratives told with a firm grip of the microphone and channeled through the hypnotic, forceful rhythms of dancehall reggae.

Beky Glacier in studio. Trevor DeFreitas is President and cofounder of Phyah Proof Entertainment

While many voids remain open and ready to be filled, the barrier to entry remains at the bottom of the funnel, where producers and distributors control the release, while the top brims over with talent vying to get in. With a limited number of producers straining the flow of talent we are left with artistry that is insipidly recycled and repackaged bodies of works. As the maturity of dancehall turns to the more formula based means of achieving the ends, the music has all but stalled, but Phyah Proof Entertainment has the key to ignite the engine with a little known spark named Beky Glacier. My prelude to the new talent came as a video link to you-tube. Upon hearing the distinctive voice I was nostalgically greeted by a HalfPint quintessence of reinvigorated dancehall reggae in raw form. Beky’s potent delivery is reminiscent

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of a Barrington Levy “broader than broadway” posture. Solidly, Beky came across cunningly, feasting on the arrangement of digital baselines accompanied by the provocative bob cuing keyboard riffs, as if the rhythm was especially cooked up for him. The “Downfall” video was superbly shot in familiar surroundings for a tune befitting of the struggle for a rising star. The backdrop represented the densely populated Diaspora of Caribbean cultures, displaying intermittent flashes of prominent street corners that can only be found in Brooklyn. The Glacier covers the drum and keyboard-laced track containing a laser-pulsating auditory effect, interspersed precisely, and demanding of the staccato torrent of lyrics “dem a carry news and a tell pure lie, cah dem wan come mash up all me an me spouse/ but me

have God in a me heart God in a me life so me na ramp fe go bun dem out”. When I spoke to the artist he was as advertised, cool yet assertive, about his focus and path in the music business. I noted his dexterity to bilaterally dee-jay and sing and highlighted the dissimilarity with current artist trends of relying on studio enhanced vocals that limit stage performance and Beky quipped, “I believe that working on the vocals, and being true to your craft, and not just about the business, but being true to the craft, so that whenever you do step out there and show what you have you can come across as real as possible.” He honed in on his singing skills in an era marked by popular R&B songs being done over with an


June 1, 2010 REGGAE RISING STAR

Beky Glacier: Spotlight on a Rising Star Continued

increase in tempo and a rhythm laden with heavy baselines, polished with renditions by Sanchez, Singing Melody and Richie Stevens. But he decided that the well-travelled road was too easy and stated that “ I drifted from the easy route of quick notoriety where I could have sing over a Michael Jackson song, or a New Edition song but I wanted to write my lyrics, practice on delivery, and not sound like anybody else”, albeit he is a fan of some of those renditions. I asked how would he categorize his style, is it culture, lovers rock and he abruptly proclaimed, “my style is a lifestyle”, slyly remarking, “not the prophylactic ting”, “different emotions, different feelings, different expressions, and just being a person you exert certain emotion, certain action and whatever way I ‘m feeling the best outlet is to put it down and sing about it.” Beky describes himself as a Rastafarian culturally, which invokes real feelings of his environment and the changes it brings in which he thoughtfully expresses through song. Glacier addresses his spiritual side by praising Jah as the Sun shines to recalling many brethren who have been incarcerated and identifying the plights of the ghetto youths and the role of politics in those instances. In an industry with opposing geographical scenes, with Jamaica

Jamaica West Indies Kingston.

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“my style is a lifestyle, not the prophylactic ting, different emotions, different feelings, different expressions, and just being a person you exert certain emotion, certain action and whatever way I ‘m feeling the best outlet is to put it down and sing about it.” Beky Glacier

states have been less of a challenge as the thirst for new artists and material are more welcoming. He notes that acknowledgement in Jamaica is hard to come by and would require moving with the powers that be. Glacier appreciates and respects reggae as “the mother being the promotional staging of dancehall” and the King’s music. ground, while the lucrative contract Certain aspects of the music or the and fortune are met overseas, Glacier understands the business. He hybrids of it, may contain subject matter that is skewed with the realizes that the talent in Jamaica is prevalence of negativity and Glacier quite abundant and at any given dance there may be more artists than questions whether “we are reaching for negativity or is that negativity is all patrons who are all striving to be around us and that is why it [seems] heard. In the fraternity he respects that that is all we can sing about or and admires the apparent humble talent of Busy Signal. Glacier is quite relate to”. Glacier firmly believes that aware of the violent overtures where reggae music will never die and that overinflated egos infect and stain the the music has always been a vessel music in what he views as just being “through unity and love, we can always seek betterment, and that the too overtly confident. Beky Glacier’s stage appearance message will always be around because there are people who are is apparent in the video and he has done many shows all over. Shows in hungry for that message.” Beky Glacier’s music can be Jamaica can be quite harrowing and found on YouTube and MySpace. oftentimes parallel performing at the Apollo. Beky states that his first show Just Google Beky Glacier. in Jamaica was an experience in resilience as the crowd was initially less than receptive, but warmed to him soon after he became more aggressive in conveying his talents. Shows that he has done in the


Interview with the next Reggae Rising Star