Stowe banks on Koffee

Stowe banks on Koffee

BY AALIYAH CUNNINGHAM
Observer writer
aaliyahc@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, January 26, 2020

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MUSIC industry player Maxine Stowe says she is pleased with this year's crop of nominees vying for the Best Reggae Album Grammy.

According to her, over years, the American bands have made inroads in the genre and have outsold their Jamaican counterparts.

“There has been a bumper crop of California bands that were competitive because of the burgeoning ganja industry of California investing in them and several festivals. It has been critiqued that their dominance was skewing the Reggae Awards by Americans and whites, but none of them have won the Grammy. The fact that none has been nominated (this year) maybe a recognition of the voters,” she told the Jamaica Observer.

In 2017, American bands Rebelution ( Falling Into Place) and SOJA ( Live in Virginia), and California singer J Boog ( Rose Petals) were nominated in the Best Reggae Grammy category. Ziggy Marley ( Ziggy Marley) won that year.

The following year saw American/Hawaiian band Common Kings ( Lost in Paradise) and J Boog ( Wash House Ting) making the cut. It was, however, won by Damian Marley ( Stony Hill).

Last year Shaggy and Sting walked away with the award for 44/876.

This year's nominees are: Sly & Robbie & Roots Radics for The Final Battle: Sly & Robbie Vs. Roots Radics; Steel Pulse ( Mass Manipulation); Koffee ( Rapture); Julian Marley ( As I Am); and Third World ( More Work To Be Done).

Stowe has more than four decades of experience, having worked with venerable record companies including Sony International, Island Records, and Motown. There has also been stints with VP Records and Studio One, the outstanding label started by her uncle Clement “Coxson” Dodd.

She was an influential member of Sony's Artist and Repertoire team during the 1990s, when it had great success with artistes like Shabba Ranks, Mad Cobra, Patra, Diana King, and Super Cat.

Stowe predicts that Koffee will take home the coveted trophy.

“I think Koffee stands a great chance to win based on the mainstream success and breakthrough pattern. As a female, I would love her to do so, especially that the appetite was opened last year by Etana. I've worked with all the nominees and I love them, so I'm not biased in any kind of way, but she's female and she is young and I am really rooting for her,” she told Observer.

Her win would be an anomaly of sorts, as according to Stowe, traditionally older acts tend to get the award.

“The Grammy results are voted on industry people, not so much consumer. Not often you find that the voters have a knowledge base of the fresh acts in the business but are more so familiar with the golden, golden era of reggae. Then there is the Marley factor, where every time a Marley goes in they win,” she explained.

The record company advocates on behalf of the artistes and the album, but there is a tendency for three old groups and one Marley factor,” she continued.

Damian Marley is producer of Third World's More Work To Be Done. Stowe believes the Marley factor will not play a role.

The 62nd Grammy Awards is set for the Staples Centre Los Angeles tonight.


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