Ras Zukes urges artistes to explore digital space
Ras Zukes isn’t a popular name on the local music circuit, still, the reggae artiste has managed to rack up millions of listens on popular streaming platform SoundCloud. With more than 11 million streams on his single Eva Ready, Ras Zukes is imploring artistes to explore other digital streaming platforms, especially in a musical era he says that has become more digitised than ever before.
“The new platinum is called ‘viral’. It’s funny, but it’s true. The Internet is where it’s at right now. If you can manage to breakthrough on the worldwide web, everything else should follow,” he told The Gleaner. “With COVID-19 shutting down a lot of physical activities on the entertainment circuit, there are more people online now than they were a year ago. This is our chance as artistes to get those streaming numbers up and start earning even more from these platforms.”
Speaking of said platforms, Ras Zukes said while YouTube continues to be the preferred medium for many Jamaican artistes, there are other platforms that are underutilised and have the potential to be big earners for these entertainers. “It was not YouTube that I streamed 10.9 million, it was on SoundCloud and it was uploaded on the Rapper SoundCloud page so it peaked in the hip hop market, which led me to touring Japan and getting to do other collabs with other artistes. You never know where this music business will take you, so you have to explore your options. You can;t afford to limit yourself,” he said. “Flood these other platforms, because if wasn’t for streaming, I would be left in the dark. These platforms are a way to stay connected with your fans and to make new ones, especially now.”
Ras Zukes said during the quarantine period he has been writing and recording, and has a new EP to release this year. Although he hasn’t established a set release date, Ras Zukes says he already has eight tracks for the project, including a single he is hoping to drop in a few months. With a new compilation set to kick things into high gear for him this year, the entertainer says he is looking to secure some tour dates for 2021. He expressed that there are some countries (like Kenya and Japan) that have a handle on COVID-19 and therefore have active entertainment sectors, and he is looking to kick-start some physical appearances there.
Zukes, who lists Beres Hammond as one of his mentors and inspirations, says he has been enjoying success in the African and Japanese markets, but wants to establish himself more on local soil. “I love my music industry. To wear my Jamaica colours on a global platform is my greatest pleasure, and I think it’s time the Jamaica space gets to know me more. If I only have a few loyal fans when I try to do so, then so be it, but I just want to put my music out there some more and let it speak for itself.”
Ras Zukes is currently promoting the tracks Ring the Alarm and Got To Know Yourself.