Monday, 19 March 2012

MAN OF THE MOMENT: Cham still doin’ it (big) for the fans and family

CROWD PLEASER: "The challenge is always to be more creative."

The voice might sound the same, but Dameon ‘Cham’ Beckett admits that he has done some serious personal growth since we last heard from him.

Having rooted himself in the cultural consciousness with a reputation for street anthems (for the hardcore lovers) and sexy tunes (aimed at his army of female loyalists), these days the dancehall superstar is expanding his musical horizons with smashing radio hits that both captivate partygoers and reflect his new attitude and outlook.

Ahead of his showstopping performance as headliner of the Digicel 8.99 concert in MoBay on Saturday, the 32-year-old entertainer spoke candidly to TALLAWAH about wooing his followers anew, how inspiring literature influences his artistry, and the details of his clever 12-round strategy.

TALLAWAH: We are all excited about your new music. People are happy to see you on top again. After such a lengthy absence, how is it this time around?
Cham: It always feels good to know that after you take such a long break, the fans embrace you back like this because in dancehall it is rare that an artiste can do without putting out 50 songs per year and still have their space and even more. So you have to give thanks. And I have to thank Team Cham, and that includes the fans, my management, PR, my friends, everybody.

Being away from the spotlight for so long, how was the time spent?
You spend time with the family as much as possible because that’s important. I have two kids back in Miami. I’m always in the studio with Dave Kelley working nonstop. We’re always on the road, so even though I’m not here releasing singles, I’m always touring. So you find that it gives you a little more time to put in some reading. That’s me, still. Before I start writing, I normally read. Whenever I know that I have the album to work on, I try to get in as much literature as possible. That’s what I try to do. Now we’re basically getting the fanbase alive again. When it’s where we know that we need it to be then we will go with the album.

Tell me about the inspiration behind your addictive new smash singles “Wine” and “Doin’ It” – and what you wanted them to achieve.
I just wanted to get my female fans excited again. That was the main aim because you know the rude boys will follow us no matter what. The females tend to swing more. They will work with what’s going on, so the aim was to get my female fans knowing that the kid is back and ready, so let’s go.

Do you have a year-long plan in mind?
Yeah, the plan is 12 rounds. And when I say 12 rounds, it’s like a boxing match for Team Cham. Before this year I have never released three songs a year. But the fans have been crying that they need more songs. So the idea for me and Dave Kelley was to give them 12 rounds, meaning 12 songs. So if their chin is as hard as a boxer, then let’s go (Laughs).

Musically speaking, what’s the biggest challenge now for Cham?
The challenge is always to be more creative. You have done so much musically that it gets harder and harder to keep on pushing yourself, and it’s not just like you have done some lacklustre songs or some two-month songs. They are classic songs. So to top those classic songs, that’s the challenge. But what’s life without a challenge. I embrace that challenge, and we go at it.

NEXT TIME: Cham reflects on the modern dancehall, his legacy – and transforming his wifey into a musical sensation

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