PARTY NIGHT: Russell at the Sumfest launch with a trio of Digicel lasses; the 2011 possibilities Drake and Trey Songz
In spite of her enviable position as one of the planet’s reigning pop godesses, Caribbean beauty Rihanna was not on this year’s shortlist of overseas acts for an International Night at Reggae Sumfest, according to Summerfest Productions chairman, Robert Russell. “Rihanna has been here before, so our focus was on getting performers we’ve never had on the show before,” Russell tells TALLAWAH at Wednesday’s star-studded launch at Devon House. The Bajan beauty was among a long wishlist of superstars many young Jamaicans were hoping to see live in concert at this year’s festival. And the same can be said of hip hop/R&B bad boys Trey Songz and Drake.
“We tried to get them for the show this year,” Russell says in reference to the two male entertainers. “But suffice it to say that this year two of the biggest performers in the world are already confirmed for the show. Nikki Minaj is now literally number one in the world, and there is so much you can say about R. Kelly, as he is one of the best performers and songwriters ever.”
Even so, with the big event more than three weeks away, it’s never too late to add some additional muscle to the lineup. To this end, Russell revealed to TALLAWAH that Summerfest is still negotiating with the management of other international acts, including the handlers of Drake and Trey Songz.
“We were speaking recently to the people of Drake and Trey Songz, as a matter of fact. It was a toss-up between the two of them. And one of them may still be available to come. It’s possible. But we’re not announcing that because we’re still in the negotiation stage with a number of other artistes,” says Russell. “But the lineup we already have is still pretty, pretty strong. So we’re hoping that it’s going to be the best, greatest Reggae Sumfest ever this year.”
Indeed. But for the record, Mr. Russell, who we really want is Queen Beyonce.