WHEN producer Michael Coburn records songs from his base in The Bronx, New York, Jamaica is often on his mind. Like most reggae players in the Big Apple he wants a hit song “a yaad”.
“To get a hit in Jamaica while working in New York is a big deal because Jamaica is the heart of reggae music; all the great musicians and artistes are living there and a lot of producers are there as well,” he said. “If any song hit in Jamaica, it hits the world.”
Known as Jah Mike, Coburn operates Reggae Vibes Productions. His latest attempts to break in Jamaica are the songs True Lover by singer Prince Theo, and singjay Ras Capulu’s Inna
Mi Resident, both released in October.
Born in Kingston, Coburn has lived in New York for 20 years, producing songs by artists such as Luciano, Gyptian, Wayne Wonder, and Ky-Mani Marley. He is one of the producers on Marley’s Many More Roads, which was nominated for a Best Reggae Album Grammy in 2002.
Hit songs out of New York were common during the 1990’s, especially from Shaggy and Shinehead. Dancehall/reggae artists, born or reared there, now look to live in Jamaica to get a break.
According to Coburn, that is understandable.“It’s somewhat difficult to get promotions because of the simple fact, if you don’t live there (Jamaica) you won’t get that real promotion you strive for,” he said.
— By Howard Campbell