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Teejay entering new phase

Artiste talks working with Pheelz, big things ahead and making Ja a better place

Published:Sunday | July 24, 2022 | 12:10 AMStephanie Lyew - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Nigerian record producer and singer Pheelz shared that he is looking forward to experiencing more of Jamaica’s culture.
Nigerian record producer and singer Pheelz shared that he is looking forward to experiencing more of Jamaica’s culture.
Dancehall artiste Teejay is in a new phase and tried something new with his performance on Reggae Sumfest festival night one. ‘The screw face used to be for show, part of an image, but now I am just being comfortable with being me,’ he told The Sunday
Dancehall artiste Teejay is in a new phase and tried something new with his performance on Reggae Sumfest festival night one. ‘The screw face used to be for show, part of an image, but now I am just being comfortable with being me,’ he told The Sunday Gleaner.
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Teejay is changing the way he approaches the music industry.

Ahead of the release of the long-awaited Rags To Riches album, the reggae-dancehall entertainer is taking the time to make connections, and in doing so, giving more of himself, he said in an interview with The Sunday Gleaner.

“I have been feeling like I need to show my personality more,” Teejay shared.

The Stimulate artiste opened up about the changes that can happen within a two-year span and shared how he feels about balancing image and attitude after a blockbuster performance on the Reggae Sumfest stage last Friday night.

Teejay, who hails from Glendevon in Montego Bay, called out several acts from the Second City to the front of the stage, including newcomer Jamal ‘1Dunceman’ and Code hitmaker Brysco, as well as Westmoreland artiste Marksman. He also invited Nigerian record producer and singer Pheelz to demonstrate his Finesse on his first-ever appearance on a Jamaican music festival stage.

“I didn’t want the performance to be just a run and jump out on stage and perform the songs. I wanted to try something new and it was all a concept inspired by the Netflix series Money Heist, down to the outfits, and I know I executed it well,” he said. “It was to show a different side of who I am. I realised over the years I had another image but learnt that not because I come from the garrison I must behave like a hooligan. The screw face used to be for show, part of an image, but now I am just being comfortable with being me. There are still times the serious side of me will appear but there’s more to me.”

It was apparent that the dancehall entertainer was trying something new when he traded in his cornrows and plaits for a clean, low cut last year. He has also been exploring the TikTok platform more often than he did before, as a means to create content to engage fans, he said.

Teejay said, “The aim is to focus more on the music and not on clout. It’s not a bag of chatting pon a ends. Right now, Pheelz is in Jamaica and something big is coming. He is on my upcoming album and he did well on the Sumfest stage.”

He also lauded the attitude of the festival organisers, singling out Downsound Entertainment CEO Joe Bogdanovich for offering assistance personally at the gate of the event when he and the award-winning Nigerian hitmaker arrived at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre ahead of showtime.

“Big respect to Joe; I don’t know if it was because we had an international act with us but either way, I’m not used to the top people showing up and walking to the gate for an artiste,” Teejay said.

Leaving an additional message for his fans, Teejay shared that as one of the younger acts paving a way in the reggae-dancehall community, he feels like the voice of the youths and “by controlling anger and our overall reactions we can make MoBay and Jamaica a better place”.

“The system may be corrupt, and youths may still be exposed to corruption but there’s a level of appreciation we must have for what God has given us in order to move out of that negative space,” he offered.

Pheelz shared that he was looking forward to Teejay exposing more of Jamaica’s culture to him as they embark on working in studio.

“The energy of this island is out of the roof, it’s crazy and there are so many beautiful women and talent with a good sound. I missed Ding Dong’s performance but we communicate and I look forward to working with him also,” he said, adding that he is not particular about the “formalities” of the music business.

“I believe music is art and creativity should be allowed to flow. I can’t wait to get my hands into the culture. Part of that for me, too, is the food. I’m ready for some jerk chicken, I’ve come and experienced Reggae Sumfest, now it’s time for the traditional dishes,” Pheelz joked.

Teejay has been discussing the potential debut of the Rags To Riches album for the greater part of a year, and while he has not revealed the exact date of its release, he has said he will be including a few more surprises.

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com