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By Howard Campbell—

IN a business crowded with consultants, publicists and promoters, it is not easy being the new kid on the block in dancehall-reggae. New Millionaire Entertainment (NME) out of New Castle, Delaware is the latest company to throw its hat into this competitive ring.

NME was launched this year by CEO Clinton Garibaldi, an American who will concentrate on developing the company’s hip hop acts. Vice-president is Jamaican Dave Grant whose focus is exposing dancehall-reggae to a wider market.

Top: Dave Grant
Bottom: Sanchez

He was recently in Jamaica and spoke to Splash about the organisation’s plans.

“We’re not just a management company, we’re not just a label. What we’re trying to do is distribute music and deliver content on a worldwide basis,” he explained.

A digital distribution deal with the giant Universal Music Group is the thrust of NME’s campaign to break its Jamaican artists. It has been almost 10 years since producers of dancehall-reggae entered that market but digital sales have been disappointing even for big names like Sean Paul and Shaggy.

Wary of this shortfall, Grant notes the importance of expanding the music’s appeal.

“The music business has evolved and we have to evolve as well by finding different ways to earn revenue by placing music in commercials and movies. That’s one of our priorities,” he said.

One of the acts which NME has high hopes is singer Sanchez, who flourished during the dancehall boom of the late 1980s and 1990s. This Christmas, one of his first recordings for the label, will be released for the Yuletide season with a new album expected out in early 2014.

Grant describes the 49-year-old Sanchez as the label’s “flagship artist”. While he has not had a hit song in some time, Grant says NME is determined to re-introduce the lanky vocalist to a genre which rarely acknowledges veterans.

“Our aim is to put him on the level he should have been, but he has never had an international presence even though he is one of the top singers out of Jamaica. That’s where we want to put him,” Grant explained.

Singjay Jah Selah and gospel singers Omari and James Murphy are also on the NME roster. They also have projects earmarked for release in the first quarter of next year.

NME has headquarters in Delaware, the smallest of the United States where Bob Marley lived briefly during the 1960s. Its principals are no strangers to the entertainment industry.

Garibaldi once headed P&L Records which worked with a number of dancehall heavyweights including Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Bounty Killer and Buju Banton. Grant is known in Caribbean music circles as head of the Island Media Entertainment Group which promotes events throughout the US east coast.

Artist and Repertoire veteran Jeremy Stenson, Earl Samuels (marketing) and Trevor ‘Scatta’ Bonnick (production) are other core members of the NME team.

Broad Smile, a Christmas compilation and NME’s first album, was recently released.


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