Dancehall artiste Malie Donn says he missed out on a label deal because he did not own the publishing for his breakout hit, “V6.” As a result, he is not entitled to any royalty.
The song was released six months ago and has 19 million views on YouTube. In a recent interview with Perspectives in St. Kitts, Malie Donn revealed that he made the track as a favor to someone, and he wasn’t even thinking it was a hit song.
“Mi can’t pay you full fi a song but give you a family price,” the artiste said, noting that it was his first time singing on a riddim like that. “Me never have an intention say issa hit song because me nah go hard fi say alright this is. Certified hit song. Me just a be myself,” he said.
“It’s the people who automatically gravitate to the song,” he said.
The 21-year-old artiste said that he could have been signed to a major label even before “V6,” but he was waiting on a hit song before he signed. However, there was a major blunder with the ownership of the song.
“The person who owns ‘V6’ like the master, they wish not to sell [it] to a label and the labels want me but the labels are invested in V6,” the dancehall deejay said. “Them interested and invested. Their main focus is V6 because them see the numbers weh it a do naturally… the natural numbers sparking so automatically labels want the song.”
Malie Donn added that there was no bad blood between him and the producer for the song and that he gets 50% of royalties for his singing. The producer owns the song because he and the producer did not have a contract in place, as he and the producer did not complete the split sheets for the track.
The singer also said he isn’t pressing the issue because, at the end of the day, he did a favor to his manager’s friend by recording “V6”.
The artiste does agree that the producer refusing to sell the song to the label to give Malie Donn a big push with his career is not logical.
‘Ultimately the song can take you to a next level but me as a person have a 100 more of them song deh inna my brain. Inna my meds can bring forth, mi nun need fi dwell pan one song,” the artiste said.
“If I was an ignorant person, mi would pree [you] as corrupt how producer get hit song [but] the song itself do a lot for me,” Malie Donn said.
Malie does shy away when asked if the situation with the peaceful was “peaceful,” but he is not “stressing” the situation and will continue to work hard to make another hit song.
“Is like the direction of my mind deh, mi nuh up fi war fi a song. Mi nuh up fi it because mi know mi capability and if a label really wants to sign you and see the potential in you they will sign you regardless of one song,” he said.
Malie Donn is not the only artiste who has experienced issues over ownership of his song. Teejay also recently revealed that he and DJ Mac were at odds over his hit song “Drift,” which landed him a Warner Music label deal. Mac allegedly attempted to register the song in his name to cut Teejay out of the ownership of the track.
Malie Donn insists that he will ensure that he gets contracts in place for his future work so no “f***ery can go on” when it comes to his music.
“It’s all about educating yourself about the music and you see other people make mistakes and you have to just learn and if you don’t learn, any loss/misfortune is on you so it is a matter of accepting your losses and move forward,” the artiste said.
In giving advice, the artiste said younger artists and their teams have to balance their passion for music with the protection of the artiste and his future income and ensure contracts are in place when making music.
The artiste also addressed his shot to fame, noting that music was not his first goal but ended up becoming his main passion while in high school.
“Many people talented but they don’t get big so you affi do some means of smart work as much as you are doing hard work, try capitalize on mi talent. Try advance and win uh reach nowhere yet, we nuh reach we limit…whole heap leff fi reach we maximum,” the artiste said.
According to Malie, it took him at least three years to get a hit song after trying consistently to make music with songs like “Crook,” “Bank,” and “Throat Goat,” among others all preceding “V6”.
His first song, “Crook,” was released in 2020, which brought him on the radar of music fans, but he never got instant success as the song gained traction more than three months after release. It was his female fans who helped the song to gain momentum, which soft-launched his career.
Despite critics claiming that artists who buss from the pandemic would fade away, the artist, however, says, “nobody knows a next man’s destiny,” noting he never listened to the “noise” or negativity.
Malie Donn shared that he grew up in Waterford, and he held onto music because he felt that he might have ended up in jail or worse. His influences include hardcore dancehall artists like Vybz Kartel and Sizzla and R&B music. Still, Malie insists he will not label himself as any particular type of artist as he believes he can do dancehall and other genres.