St. Lucia’s international reggae artist, Taj Weekes, has added his voice to the pleas for greater developmental prospects for local artists in the highly competitive music industry. Weekes is the first St. Lucian singer to be considered for nomination of a Grammy Award. He and his band Adowa recently released an album titled “Deidem” which means “all of us.” He eagerly looks forward to performing in St. Lucia sometime soon.
“In St. Lucia and other developing countries, the talent is there, but not much emphasis is placed on arts and sports… we need to nurture these industries just the same as we do with other commercial entities,” he said. He added: “Jamaica did it all along; they nurtured that industry. So did Trinidad and Tobago, and that’s why they are successful.”
Weekes remains convinced that St. Lucian artistes can achieve more, should they garner representation on some of the musical exposés being canvassed globally, such as Midem and Homex. “The tentacles of these things run so deep that if you nurture it, everybody eats,” he said.
Weekes is willing to assist with the promotion of St. Lucian artistes, and feels that there are prospects available through his connections with an international distribution company. “I will be very happy to help in any way that I can with local artistes,” he offered.
“We as a country need to reach out to our own… there are lots of St. Lucian bands out in the country doing excellent work but they do not get any play on the island,” Weekes argues. He was especially excited about young Tempest sensation Khrys Bailey, and was “blown away” by her singing. “I thought that it was an incredible song and I would like to meet this young lady,” he added.
“I feel that St. Lucian artistes possess incredible talent, a lot more than some of the people they emulate,” he said. He referred to the exploits of local trail blazers like Emile Ford and Rick Wayne, who had hit songs on the European charts in the 1960s.
Weekes expressed the view that the local authorities were oblivious to the work being done by St. Lucian musicians oversees. He said that through the extensive tours by St. Lucian artistes in the United States, they have been able to promote the island as a holiday destination, and so “are doing a hell of a job for the St. Lucia Tourist Board.”
He threw out a challenge to the authorities saying they needed to pay attention to that, “and maybe they can invite us to play at the local jazz festivals, since we have done so much work for them.”
His upcoming project is to include a tribute to some of St. Lucia’s leading musicians. “We need to pay some homage to brothers like Boo Hinkson, who carried the music industry for a while, Luther Francois and Emerson Nurse who have done their work,” he said.
Weekes also runs a publishing company called ZiltaMac Books, named after his deceased parents Annazilta and George McLean Weekes. “We are currently working on a poetry book collection to incorporate St. Lucian artistes, and the most appropriate selections will be published,” he said.