Veteran dancehall and soca artiste Admiral Bailey has lashed out against fellow Jamaican artistes for destroying the relations with Europe promoters due to greed and unprofessionalism.
According to the deejay, Europe has found a way to host their festivals without relying on Jamaican stars to secure success. "Back in the days when Europe host a festival, you have all 15 of us going to Europe.
But, nowadays, if five men from Jamaica are booked on the show, we are lucky. This is because Europe has watched us and has copied us. They have their own singers and deejays now and their Bob Marley lookalike.
So they are booking their own acts now, and are even pulling stronger crowds than us," he said in a recent interview, Bailey added that Jamaican artistes developed a reputation in Europe for abusing their star power and making ridiculous demands.
"Some of dem man ya chest did get too high as well. If they are not flying first class, they are not moving. They also want to carry their chef, the man who clean their shoes and all sort of foolishness.
So the promoters had to be booking even 15 rooms to accommodate one artiste," he said. "Some of them not even see a one star when dem deh Jamaica, but dem gone a foreign and wah five.
If the room have one clean bed, mi gone sleep and then mi work. Some of us also started to overprice. Why spend €30,000 and send for one artiste, when you can book Europeans and get more artistes? Plus, you will now avoid additional expenses to fly in an artiste," he said.
Though an avid supporter of carnival and soca music, the deejay is also batting for dancehall and reggae to be given the same support locally by Jamaicans.
"While we are here locking off dances at 2 a.m., people in Europe are seeing it as a potential to capitalise on our market. So when we lock it off, Europe turn it up.
That is why some people are saying France is the reggae capital now. They need to market our music same like how dem spend on tourism.
Spend on the music too. That is what we need," Bailey said. Europe currently has a slew of reggae artistes, including Gentleman, Matisyahu and Alborosie. Notably, on this week's Reggae Billboard chart, Bob Marley and his son Stephen Marley are the only Jamaicans ranked in the top 15 albums. Coincidentally, they are also the lowest ranked at 15 and 14, respectively.