MAN OF THE HOUR: "I am 150 percent in, and I am excited about the possibilities."
The setting is the Courts megastore in Portmore on a late Monday afternoon. Self-proclaimed vibemaster Jerry Davy, who a week earlier made a fanfare return to afternoon radio on RJR, is hosting an outside broadcast. The place isn't packed to capacity, but Jerry's presence is everywhere. His microphone-aided voice fills the gigantic showroom, which is stocked with beds, stoves, furniture and appliances and fitness equipment -- all part of the store's ongoing Cash Attack Promotion.
As he goes about rapping with staffers and curious customers, he exudes that mix of likeability and easy-going charisma that has always endeared him to folks over the course of his admirable career as a broadcaster, event emcee, and part-time comedian. It's that same tidy package (embellished with a few other elements, of course) that he's bringing to his new programme Vibe 360, weekdays on RJR. "It is a diverse package. It's a musical potpourri, as well as an entertainment potpourri," he tells me, reclining on a bright-red sofa. "[The show] has to reach different segments of the society, and if you listen long enough you'll hear some of my jingles, which include people from Caymanas Park to Coronation Market. So I call it inclusive radio."
It's been well over six years since Jerry's voice was last heard on the Jamaican airwaves. How did he make use of all that time? As he explains, he developed his brand and grew his business, Mobile Stages, which co-ordinates events and, as its name suggest, supplies equipment to corporate firms and other entities islandwide. "It was fantastic," he says. "Growing your own business, especially if it's something that you love, is a fantastic idea."
In person, Jerry D is great conversation company. He's open, wise and full of intelligent quips, whether he's discussing being a modern dad, nurturing his friendships, or throwing himself fully into his coveted new job. "Having accepted this particular assignment, I have totally embraced it," he admits, with utter conviction in his voice. "I am 150 percent in, and I am excited about the possibilities, excited about things that can be done in respect to having a national, and by extension, a global impact."
"My 50 will be the new 30!"
Fun and entertainment aside though, Jerry says, through Vibe 360, he wants to explore issues like the role of fathers, family, crime and violence, health, fitness, education, and agriculture, just to name a few. "These are just some of the areas I want to focus on," he explains. "Not right away with all of them, clearly. But there will be programmes coming out to deal with certain areas at different times."
Unsurprisingly, those who work closely with him at RJR say he's a ball of vigour and simply a joy to be around. "He keeps you on your toes because he's so unpredictable," shares producer Laundia Blair. "Jerry is the kind of person who will climb up on a bike or a van, if he could. You never know what he's going to do, so that spontaneity is refreshing. It's exciting and it's fun and you kinda need that."
Once he's done checking out the fitness equipment, I ask Jerry how he feels about this present chapter of his life. "It's a good place to be at," he confesses, without missing a beat. "It speaks to seeing and understanding a bit more of the world. Being more in tune with me, and being comfortable enough to know where else I'd like to go and what else I'd like to do." He says he's in a place of experience that is really cherished. "[It's] where you can appreciate more of the things that you see happening around you, and also understanding what you've been through and understanding why."
Now older and wiser at 46, he's set his sights on hitting the half-a-century mark with full force. "I am looking at when I reach 50, and I'm saying to myself that by the time I reach [that age], my 50 will be the new 30." Translation? "I'll be so fit and healthy. That's the general idea. Eating healthy is big right now. Exercising and just having a general sense of self and health," he explains. "That's significant at this point in time. So by the time I am at that stage I should be enjoying life even more."