The art of storytelling is missing from the music. That was the sentiment shared by veteran entertainer Professor Nuts, as he encouraged young entertainers to make music for the long haul.
In an interview with The Sunday Gleaner, the Inna Di Bus deejay, explained that a lot of the ‘nowadays’ entertainers will not achieve longevity in the music business because among other things, they have been neglecting the art of writing and the role a good story plays in the construction of a song.
“When you’re telling a story, it takes a certain amount of thought. The story affi flow and make sense; there’s a beginning, a climax, and an end, yuh nuh just get up and a talk a bag a things,” he explained. “Music won’t be respected in the end if the lyrics are not properly crafted into a story that will still be relevant years from now. They (songs) have to reflect real-life situations and they must be constructed in a way people can relate to it.”
Nuts, who is often referred to by industry professionals as one of the greatest lyricists to come out of Jamaica, then went on to argue that entertainers today lack creativity. He pointed out that lyrics nowadays are too common, and lack the ‘oomph’ a song needs to be memorable.
“I was always a good storyteller, especially if there was a joke in it, and that just translated to music,” said Nuts. However, he believes that storytelling can be learnt and that mastering it is possible for entertainers, “but the music (content) is now coming from topics like badmind, liquor, sex … and it’s not like these entertainers are finding creative ways of saying things. They are just throwing things in your face. I sang about sex and other topics, but I never fling it in people face. Me always find ways of saying things that people will have to think to figure out what you’re talking about,” he explained. “That’s why you have so many three-months and six months deejays, because they don’t know how to construct their lyrics in a way that will paint a picture for people using words. There are only a few artistes out there today that really understand the art of storytelling and are putting their lyrics together creatively to match that. Dem nuh just get up, pick a topic, and go sing about it. Dem sit down like when you used to go school and a write composition, dem think about it.”
In addition to the music today lacking creativity, Nuts pointed out that too many entertainers are in music for the hype and not for longevity, or more so building a legacy.
“Even though some people put me on a pedestal where music is concerned and consider me one of the greatest lyricists out of Jamaica, I have that thing that still keeps me down on the ground with other people and not up on the pedestal where they put me,” he said. “If you too hype, you’re going to drop off that pedestal one day and when you drop, the bottom going to be lonely. There’s another thing a lot of artiste don’t understand and it’s called mutual respect for everybody. the hype thing nah go work. I have respect for everybody. Respect is key in this business and will determine if you have a career for five years or 50 years.”
On the issue of longevity, Nuts encouraged industry insiders, particularly event promoters, to support veteran entertainers by booking them on more local shows. Pointing out that veteran entertainers mostly perform overseas, he lamented that it is almost as if the foreign audiences appreciate the foundation music more than Jamaicans.
“I think the veteran entertainers have been neglected in Jamaica, because the new millennium kids born and people more going for the monotonous topics that they sing about. Content from these young artistes are more sexual than anything else, but that’s what the people are gravitating to. We, the veteran entertainers, have a more cultural, easy-going and settled vibe about us, and it seems that’s not what the majority of Jamaicans want right now,” he said. “Unfortunately, promoters believe this, and so there are few shows that a veteran entertainer will be booked for, but my advice would be for us to never forget the foundation. I’m sure we can do better where bookings are concerned.”