Entertainment

Brit launches J'can app

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer

Monday, January 21, 2019

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When it comes to Jamaican music and culture, Karen Proctor has no preference for any era and sees no boundaries. She reaches out to the like-minded with Jamarado — the reggae and dancehall app, which she unofficially launched last month.

The multifaceted medium offers visitors their choice of music — from ska, to rocksteady, roots-reggae and dancehall. The East London native has compiled over 5,000 songs divided into 10 'zones' that caters to the listener's tastes.

“My driving goal has always been to create a well-designed platform to showcase and unite the brilliance of reggae and dancehall in one place. I wanted to offer a specialised reggae app that brought the music from all the decades (1960s to now), styles and influences together to be enjoyed and discovered,” Proctor told the Jamaica Observer. “I also wanted to offer coverage of the lifestyle and culture around it. Jamarado is all about entering the world of reggae in an instant,” she added. “We select the best and the most loved, alongside the original and the new. We aim to give our subscribers a rooted and diverse experience, retaining Jamaica at its core, whilst embracing the development of the music beyond the Jamaican shores.”

The zones include Big Chunes (classic reggae), Love Mi Always (lovers rock), Rebel Rockers (roots-reggae), Dancehall Direct (dancehall) and One World (international reggae). Other slots include Our Diary which covers industry news, while Directory follows trends, including fashion and cuisine.

With numerous music apps to choose from, Proctor said it was important that her product is diverse.

“I wanted to bring everything together in a simple yet up-to-date hub — the music itself, the artistes, the fashion, the food, the festivals, the travel experiences, the culture, the arts and, of course, the people,” she explained. “Jamarado is all about people and connectivity. Apps are the future due to their functions and structure, (so) by linking everyone, I want to see the artistes, independent businesses, creatives and the people who love this music thrive.”

Jamarado — The Reggae and Dancehall App can be accessed through Apple App Store and Google Play. Proctor is candid about response to date.

“I am definitely not going to say we've had 10,000 paid subscribers in our first three weeks. It would be amazing if we had – I might be able to sleep at night! That said, we do have well into the 100s and 1000 isn't too far off, which for three weeks fully live is good going,” she said. “We will launch officially in London in the spring. We're growing consistently and responding to what we learn from our customers.”

Most of those customers are from the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Of Polish, Irish and Welsh heritage, Proctor was born in Greenwich, south east London but moved to west London 20 years ago. Initially, she was into Motown soul and rap groups like De La Soul, before switching to reggae at age 18.

According to her, “I discovered the early Wailers tracks and some old Jamaican lovers rock, and Gregory Isaacs; they opened the gate and that changed everything for me.”

Proctor has been to Jamaica a “few times”. She plans to visit the country in February for Reggae Month celebrations.


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