When to quit?

By TYRONE REID, Staff Reporter
2003 09 03

Shaggy - File

A WISEMAN ONCE said that stardom is addictive. Once you get hooked on that notoriety, it is a point of no return. This manifests itself in the fact that local entertainers have serious issues about retiring.

They despise the feeling they get from the mere thought that one day their services will no longer be needed. Many even opine that they will never retire. Maybe that can work, if they decide to buy up their own records and attend their own stage shows alone or with close friends.

However in any business, there is an age of retirement. Music is no exception.

Famed producer Donovan Germaine said the retirement age for a deejay is at maximum 35 years old.

"I have never seen a deejay last past that age and stay current," said Germaine. This age limit should not be a hard pill to swallow, since youths are the core of the dancehall's consuming populace.

Generation gap

Thus a generation gap exists.

However, the wiseman says that there is no law against an attempt at bridging the gap. "Well I think the ideal situation is for an artiste to strive to bridge the generation gap, so as to have cross-the-board appeal," highlighted longstanding radio disc jockey, Richie B.

However, many are unable to construct such a bridge. Therefore, Richie B had no other choice but to concur with the age limit given by Mr. Germaine. As a matter of fact, he proclaimed that setting the bar at 35 years of old might just be too rich for the blood of many deejays.

Captain Barkey - File

"The way things are going right now, 35 is at the high end and an artiste has to be real good to go past that and still have mass appeal."

Currently, among dancehall's elder elite are Bounty Killer, 31; Buju Banton, 30; Shaggy, 34, and Beenie Man at 30. It cannot be said that any of the aforementioned deejays represent the 'big man inna di business' currently. Additionally, at their age they are not by a long shot at the top of their games. Albeit, they still maintain mass appeal. Time will be the ultimate deciding factor as to whether or not they can maintain that mass appeal, since 35 is just a few doors down for these veterans.

Get older

While agreeing that singers usually last longer than her and her male counterparts, Lady G did not embrace the age limit advanced by Germaine and Riche B. "I don't agree with that," she said sternly. She said that deejay Captain Barkey has flown past that age and in her mind he still has the magic on-stage.

With that said she conceded that age will definitely have a big impact on the health of a deejay's career. "For a deejay you cannot behave the same way you used to when you get older and this makes it more difficult to appeal to the younger generation," reasoned Lady G.

The conclusion of the whole matter is as the renowned bard, Shakespeare, puts it -'Parting 'tis such sweet sorrow'. Nontheless it is a reality.