Dancehall artiste Teejay is lamenting that many of the younger artists are unaware of the music business and what is marketable abroad, leading to dancehall’s dominance declining overseas.
Since signing with Warner Music, Teejay has become a force to be reckoned with as his career takes off in the United States. The artiste recently performed at 92Q’s Winterfest and has been on a roster of artistes that performed in Times Square as a tribute to Hip Hop’s 50th.
His success did not come overnight, though, as he revealed that he learned the hard way about signing a publishing deal in which he signed away his rights without understanding his rights as an artiste and how residual income from royalty works.
“Me decide fi low dancehall music 2020. And just learn the game, just study the game, study about masters, me go so and go court with the people weh have me publishing, ended up getting back mi publishing,” the artiste said.
“Me learn seh as an artiste, do not voice a song and when yuh come out a di studio you and that producer or whosoever seh dem build the riddim don’t have a contract saying yuh own yuh masters or them give yuh exclusive rights to yuh masters, zeen me G dem, do not left the studio if that nuh sign. Me a tell uno from now, a one ah the greatest thing that me do with Drift,” Teejay said about the song that launched him the deal with Warner, which has been diversifying its artiste line up to include more Dancehall and Afrobeats musicians.
Teejay said he brainstormed creating a song that even children could love, and producer Gabbidon told him to jump onto the Drift riddim.
He said after Panda sent him the riddim, he returned the song in 45 minutes. He also refers to someone as “such man” who said the song was “bad” and who wanted a piece of music (royalties). Teejay and DJ Mac had a dispute over the ownership of the song. Still, it seems that Mac was not successful in claiming the entire song for himself, which Teejay previously revealed amid false attempts to register the music for royalties in his name.
“When the song release, such man and his management team go so and try style me and create a big propaganda pon the song…wha such man never know is me did already give him a contract fi sign and dem gwan like them smart…them not even read the contract…” he said adding that he was able to secure his legal rights in the song.
Teejay said he was sharing his story after discovering that Dancehall was not even 3% of the share of the music industry.
“Mi come fi find out say dancehall music is not even 3% of the market share. So nobody is investing in dancehall music. Nobody is taking up anything and give you guys as artistes. Focus. Our music is not going anywhere,” Teejay said, adding that artists need to think about the future.
He also added that artists have to promote themselves to ensure that their music connects internationally while using “Drift” as an example.
— Urban Islandz (@urbanislandz) December 25, 2023
“We haffi go out deh go promote we self and nuh listen to wah some people wah seh breda, weh tell yuh bout a old song that and yuh a get lazy now. Me study the game man and this sh*t easy, me tell uno and uno feel a joke, easy and a one song me a use dweet to enuh, caa me is boy enuh me love prove to people enuh.”
He added, “ah so me tan enuh seh me caa dweet youth me a prove it, one song me a use dweet and a straight back to summer we go back go Drift.”