Business

'One Away' with Jane MacGizmo

BY PAUL ALLEN

Sunday, July 14, 2019

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Your passion is what fuels your soul. It's the vehicle for your search for happiness and often finds you, even when you're not looking. That's how music was for Denieze Anderson, the multi-hyphenate creative better known as Jane MacGizmo.

In a previous life, she was photographer, graphic designer and video editor, operating her own full-service studio in Mandeville. She now parlays those skills into the development of her own brand as hybrid jazz and neo-soul artiste with a uniquely regional perspective.

“Music brought the whole package,” Anderson said. “When I was a child this was really a dream for me; I used to write songs and pretend I was a big pop star but never would I think it would be a real career for me. So this is really a dream come true especially since growing up in a strict Christian household where my parents were trying to line me up to become a doctor and this path is totally taboo.”

Anderson, who studied mass communications with an emphasis in television production at the Nothern Caribbean University, said her move to music allowed her the freedom to channel all those creative energies, free from having to choose one.

“It really was that I was trying my hand at all the things I liked creatively and seeing which ones stuck. I always wanted to try music and my first two songs were really for me until someone said I should take it seriously, because I was naturally good at it. So I did, and the rest was history. But definitely what I loved about music was that it gave me the power to be me, unapologetically.”

The two songs she referenced, Babylon and Black Skin, were thought-proving explorations, both accompanied by stunning visuals she helped craft for the then musical novice who has since built a steadily growing audience for her distinct sound.

Her most recent solo effort, One Away, led by a daring single-shot video featuring just her, has been making the rounds on local and regional media. The attention is not unfamiliar to Anderson, who's seen her efforts make it to American cable channels BET Jams and BET Soul.

However, perhaps her greatest commercial achievement to date is her collaboration Blaze, with rising Reggae star Koffee, which has garned more than 1.2 million listens on YouTube since its March release, which she says is one of her proudest accolades to date; in addition to being listed as one of 10 Jamaican Artistes to Watch by Complex UK earlier this year. “I am also very proud of releasing One Away independently and having the numbers grow organically, all with my creative vision.”

It hasn't been all smooth sailing though, as she had to wade through some controversy when her debut single was released. My song Babylon caused controversy because it wasn't straight reggae. I wasn't a Rastafarian and I just wasn't able to be stereotyped so that rubbed people the wrong way; but I was just staying true to myself, and to where I was personally.”

Anderson also noted that interconnectivity within the industry often plays an important part in how an artiste's music is received by their peers. “Jamaica is a very high-network place, where a lot of people in the business like to be friends with you in order to rate you. How I overcame it is by continuing to be true to myself and give back love to the people who support me, and [I] just focused less on being validated by the people in the industry, especially since they are very fickle,” she said.

Additionally, she had to contend with not being taken seriously initially, which did not faze her as she was doing what she enjoyed — making music, adding that “sticking to it” helped her earn respect later on.

With a new single due to hit the airwaves in August, she credits much of her success to Romaine “Teflon” Arnett, a founding member of reputed production house ZINC Fence Records, whom she said “took me under his wing and really introduced me to the music business, and has definitely had a major hand in developing me into the artiste I am now by always staying honest with me”.

When asked what piece of advice she would share with someone hoping to break into the business she had this to say, “make sure your mental health is strong, you have tough skin and be prepared to (be) patient, because it could take a lot longer than you even anticipated…And always keep working on your craft because opportunity likes preparation.”


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