New Tessanne album records lowest first-week sales among ‘The Voice’ winners

Tessanne Chin's major label debut album, 'Count on my Love' has recorded the lowest first-weeks sales among past Voice winnersby Jodee Brown

Nearly two weeks into its shelf-life and Count on my Love, the major label debut album from Jamaican songstress and former The Voice winner, Tessanne Chin has garnered very mixed results.

Though the album, released July 1, reached number 20 on Billboard magazine’s Top Digital Albums chart, Count on my Love has struggled from a sales perspective, with only 6,623 copies of the album being sold in its first week, according to reports Sunday. Just under 5,000 copies were sold digitally while the remaining were physical copies sold across Walmart stores in the United States.

The first-week total for Count on my Love is the lowest among album released by winners of The Voice to date. Season one winner of the American talent show, Javier Colon sold a shade under 10,000 albums in his first week with his self-titled project. That album has sold over 50,000 copies to date.

Season three and four winners, Cassadee Pope and Danielle Bradbery, sold 43,000 and 41,000 album in their respective first weeks with their albums, Frame by Frame and Danielle Bradbery respectively. Frame by Frame has sold 170,000 copies overall while 136,000 copies Danielle Bradbery have been sold to date.

Season two winners, Jermaine Paul and season six winner, Josh Kaufman have yet to release albums.

Count on my Love was produced by Republic Records, a sub-division of Universal Music Group. Chin’s sophomore effort, her first since her independently-released In Between Words album in 2010, featured 10 tracks, including two singles, Tumbling Down and Everything Reminds me of You, neither of which have charted on Billboard. The album features production and songwriting from Diane Warren, Toby Gad, Supa Dups, Chuck Harmony and Ryan Tedder of One Republic.

Just hours after its release, Count on my Love peaked at number six on the iTunes top 100 chart before falling to number 10 by the end of the day.

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Debut album from Popcaan reaches number two on Billboard Reggae chart

by Jodee Brown Where We Come From, the debut album from popular Dancehall star, Popcaan, has entered Billboard Magazine’s Reggae albums chart at number two, just two weeks after its unveiling, according to reports Wednesday. The former Portmore Empire standout’s project only trails Rebelution’s Count Me In on the chart and is one of four albums by Jamaican artists in the top 10, with Ziggy Marley’s Fly Rasta at number three, Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Legend: Remixed at number five and Jo Mersa Marley’s EP, Comfortable holding down ninth spot. Featuring 13 tracks, Where We Come From features a blend of Dancehall, Reggae and hip-hop sounds, with efforts such as The System, Everything Nice and Hustle standing out, the latter a collaboration with former Clipse rapper, Pusha TThe album is produced by American label, Mixpak Records and executive produced by the label’s lead hit maker, Dre Skull. Major foreign media outlets such as The Guardian and the Washington Posthave recommended Where We Come From as a must listen, with the former saying Popcaan’s effort ‘creates a warped take on synth-fueled urban pop, breathing new life into old sounds.” Popcaan has featured on the Billboard charts before, entering the magazine’s R&B/Hip Hop chart in 2012 with his hit single, Only Man She Want. Since then, he released the well-received Yiy Change mixtape as well as the Unruly EP. A former protégé of incarcerated Dancehall superstar, Vybz KartelPopcaan burst onto the international scene in 2010, featuring on Kartel’s chart-topping hit, Clarks along with Vanessa Bling. Chart-topping hits such as Dream, Party Shot, Ravin and others followed. Some of his standout songs in 2014 include Tie Mi on the UIM Records-produced Punjabi Riddim, Da Ting Deh on the JA Productions-produced Overdrive Riddim and Only Jah Know on the Notnice-produced Devotion Riddim.

New Tarrus Riley album tops Billboard chart

Tarrus Riley's new studio album, 'Love Situation' is already top of the Billboard Reggae chart just over a week after its debut

Tarrus Riley’s new studio album, “Love Situation” is already top of the Billboard Reggae chart just over a week after its debut

by Jodee Brown

Acclaimed Reggae singer, Tarrus Riley has scored instant success with his new studio album, Love Situation, as it has topped this week’s BillboardReggae Album chart, according to reports Thursday.

The lover’s rock album, released February 4th, is the second album produced by a Jamaican artist in the last two week to top the chart following Papa San’s new album, One BloodThe latter displaced Snoop Lion’s Grammy-nominated project, Reincarnated, which had topped the Billboard chart since last year.

Love Situation is the first album of Riley’s to reach number one on the American’s magazine chart. His 2009 effort, Contagious peaked at number five while his previous effort, Parables in 2007 peaked five place lower at 10.

Riley has been promoting the first single off Love Situation dubbed, Dem a Watch, which has already garnered steady airplay in Jamaica since its release a week prior to the album’s unveiling.

Love Situation is currently available on iTunes and is co-produced by Dean Fraser, Mitchum ‘Khan’ Chinand Jordan McClure.

Damian Marley and Skrillex strike gold with ‘Make It Bun Dem’

Damian Marley can celebrate even more success of 'Make It Bun Dem,' his 2012 collaboration with American producer, Skrillex. The song has now been certified gold.

Damian Marley can celebrate even more success of ‘Make It Bun Dem,’ his 2012 collaboration with American producer, Skrillex. The song has now been certified gold.

by Jodee Brown

Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley can celebrate some history on the day his late father, Bob, would have celebrated his 69th birthday was born as Make It Bun Dem, the chart-topping collaborative effort with American producer, Skrillex has been certified gold by theRecording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

It was announced Thursday morning that the song, initially released in May 2012, achieved the prestigious status after over 501,000 copies of the song were sold in the United States, according to Soundscan. This makes Marley the first Jamaican artist to go gold sinceGyptian, whose award-winning single, Hold Yuh(2010) achieved similar status last June.

Make It Bun Dem continues to do well chart-wise, currently holding third spot on Billboard Magazine’s Digital Reggae Singles Chart, previously holding top spot on that chart for several weeks. The single also reached charts in the U.K., Australia, France, Sweden, Belgium and Austria, among other countries and, combined with the official video, has over 115 million YouTube hits.

Marley has struck gold before, as the international Reggae superstar earned similar status for his Grammy-winning album, Welcome To Jamrock as well as his single of the same name, which has sold close to 580,000 copies.

2013 Year in Review: The best songs, artists and stories in Jamaican music

by Jodee Brown

After a 2012 which saw Jamaica return to the roots of its music during its 50th anniversary year, the majority of 2013 proved to be a major letdown and appeared to be heading for irrelevancy within the pantheon on memorable Jamaican periods. That is, until a certain sparkly 28-year-old singer reminded everyone that our music still has a very long shelf-life, if attention is focused on the right channels.

Tessanne Chin added a much needed boost to what was a mostly ordinary year within Jamaican music and entertainment. From a downsizing of hit songs, to increasingly poor album sales in the United States, to undying scrutiny regarding lyrical content and party regulations, these were trying times for artists and music lovers alike in 2013.

Nevertheless, we try to look on the brighter side of things in our music. With that said, check out the slideshow in the middle of this article, showing slides looking at the songs, artists and news makers that made Jamaican music interesting in 2013.  Feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree with these picks.

Best New Artist – Jah Bouks

Best New Artist – Jah Bouks

Honorable Mentions – Keznamdi, Kelissa, Alkaline, Samantha J

This year was a strong year for debutantes on the local scene. Keznamdi has music lovers re-thinking how they would spend each Weekend, Alkaline inked his eye and his name on the Dancehall scene, Kelissa continued a recent run of impressive, upcoming female singers coming out, while teenage sensation, Samantha J bragged about being the girl in the Tight Up SkirtBut, in this writer’s opinion, there is only one winner.

As an ardent listener of Portmore’s Sun City 104.9FM, there is a strong amount of good, featured music by artists with potential, but little to no mainstream assurance. One such artist was a St. Thomas native by the name of Jah Bouks whose vocals and concepts were unique and smooth.

After hearing songs like Angola and Don’t Cry play so many times on radio, there was no doubt in this writer’s mind 2013 would be Jah Bouks would be a breakout act, if he got the right push. Sai push came in the form of competing on season six of Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall, where his singing ability and stage presence instantly made him a hit with music lovers. He failed to emerge with the million-dollar grand prize, but his star had shone too brightly for him to fade in the limelight soon thereafter.

Angola has been a big hit in mainstream media and on Jamaican streets, landing him several shows locally and overseas in the last six months. Going Home, Vital and others proved that this was not just any ordinary, fly-by-night tinker in his music, but someone whose vision is more wide-ranging than some veteran acts in today’s business, if you listen to his content. 2014 will be a year in which music lovers will look on him Highly! As he would say.

Male Deejay of the Year – I-Octane

Male Deejay of the Year – I-Octane

Honorable Mentions – Aidonia, Vybz Kartel

There was a huge struggle with this pick, nearly a temptation to leave this award vacant in all honesty, as no Dancehall artist really made his mark on the scene all year-round, struggling for a string of hits.

Konshens, who asserted his authority in Dancehall throughout 2012 with a slew of number ones, was mostly an afterthought this year, with Pull Up To Mi Bumper (feat. J Capri) really being his only standout song, with well over six million YouTube views.

Vybz Kartel, still awaiting word on his freedom from a long-standing murder charge, produced his share of noteworthy songs such as School, Business and Georgina. But, as often the case with the ‘Worl’ Boss’ in recent years, he follows up one big song with five low quality ones.

Aidonia certainly looked like the frontrunner in the first half of the year, driving female audiences mad with songs like Fi Di Jockey, Bruki and Tip Pon Yuh Toe, but his work released since the summer drastically failed to replicate that early success.

So, in the end, this honour goes to I-Octane. His hit at the start of the year, Gyal A Gimme Bunwas a hit with music lovers, adding a mix of old-school vibes with new school humor, as evidenced by the accompanying video. Happy Time and Wine and Jiggle have also been strong on local charts and, despite some skepticism going in, Octane validated the faith shown in him by Reggae Sumfest organizers to close their Dancehall Night with one of his better performances.

Mind you, this was not as solid a year for him as 2010 was, but in a year where many Dancehall acts flattered to deceive, he managed to topple them all.

Female Deejay of the Year – Lady Saw

 Female Deejay of the Year – Lady Saw

Female Deejay of the Year – Lady Sawjamaica-gleaner.com

Honorable Mentions – Macka Diamond, Spice

Unlike the male version of this category, the female one took much less thought, because frankly, content from female deejays was very limited.

Macka Diamond certainly had the biggest song amongst her compatriots with the chart-topping single, Dye Dyebut could not duplicate that form with her follow-up efforts, no matter how raunchy or edgy her promotional or lyrical content gotSpice also had a pair of modest hits, Twerk and Dun Wife which were catchy and thought-provoking, but she was mostly anonymous otherwise, with her beefs with Macka Diamond and the winner of this category mainly keeping her talked about in the press.

For all intent and purposes, Lady Saw was supposed to be done with Dancehall – moving on to a calmer, more spiritual lifestyle after growing tired of the stress and obstacles within a genre she dominated for decades. But the inner ‘bad gyal’ in her just could not resist staying away for good. Her video for Heels On, and the remix (featuring Flo-Rida) put her back on the international map again.

Her solo set at STING 2013, and, moments later, lyrical decapitation of the aforementionedMacka Diamond during their heated clash at the show really summed up how much Dancehall still needs its queen. She still has the edge and lyrical quality left to be a force in the business, as Heels On proved. Time will tell if she follows up on her decision on walk away for good, but her fans will certainly try their best to keep her around.

Reggae Artist of the Year – Chronixx

Reggae Artist of the Year – Chronixx

Reggae Artist of the Year – Chronixx reggaesumfest.com

Honorable Mentions – Sizzla, Beres Hammond, Etana

After a year which saw him rise to instant super stardom with one international hit after the next, one could forgive Chronixx if he relented and moseyed along 2013 while trying to find firm footing within this new-found status. Nope, he is a Warrior, and he continues to fight his way to the top with alarming ease.

Conceptually, he is well beyond his years, showcased through his chart-topping hit,Smile Jamaica, a song reminiscent of Bob Marley’s classic, with a spin on it comparing Jamaica to a beautiful woman. After dropping one of the best songs of 2013, he could again be forgiven for taking his foot off the gas pedal. Of course, again, he refused.

Access Granted, Rain Music, Most I and Here Comes Trouble went over with Jamaicans far and wide, earning rotation in markets such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Billboard has already identified him as potentially Reggae music’s next big superstar, and who would blame them for jumping to that conclusion this early, given his catalogue.

In fairness, Sizzla, Beres Hammond and Etana put out solid hits which did not received nearly the same airplay or approval, but were solid throughout the year, both in studio and on stage. The former two received nods for the 2014 Best Reggae Album Grammy, whileEtana, in this writer’s opinion, should have earned a similar nod.

Given the trajectory Chronixx is on, such recognition will be coming his way much sooner than later, and deservedly so.

Song of the Year – Bumaye (Major Lazer feat. Busy Signal)

 Song of the Year – Bumaye (Major Lazer feat. Busy Signal)

Song of the Year – Bumaye (Major Lazer feat. Busy Signal)twelvefresh.com

Honorable Mentions – Smile Jamaica (Chronixx), Gyal a Gimme Bun (I-Octane), Nuh Compatible (Bugle)

There were a few gems that sparkled song-wise within the seemingly rusting jewel that was Jamaican music in 2013; all of them dominating for a long stretch of time.

Gyal a Gimme Bun was Dancehall’s biggest, most noteworthy hit between January and March, racking up number ones and giving pop culture a new term to exhaust with ‘Mi chest plate a bun mi.’

Nuh Compatible was one of the spring’s most talked about songs, composed by journeyman artist, Bugle, who finally earned his first real mainstream hit since his debut single, What We Gonna Do five years earlier. The acclaim it received was deserved and gave those going through untenable relationships a song to hang their hat on.

As mentioned in the previous slide, Smile Jamaica was a stroke of genius by Chronixx, and was easily the best Reggae song for 2013. But, the winner of this category had his song play in the background of a Pepsi commercial featuring world footballing great, Lionel Messi.Enough said.

Busy Signal, seeking that next, big mainstream hit since being released from prison in November of last year, teamed with Major Lazer for the single, Bumaye, which in English, means kill them (a phrase shouted during Muhammad Ali’s legendary fight with George Foreman).

This top-of-the-line, collaboration was, to use another boxing reference, an instant knockout, earning over 40 million YouTube hits, platinum status in Denmark and that aforementioned commercial with Messi. It was a throwback-themed song – using old-time Dancehall sounds and terms – that morphed into a commercial success and made Busy a major international player once again.

Story of the Year – Tessanne is ‘The Voice’

Story of the Year – Tessanne is ‘The Voice’

Story of the Year – Tessanne is ‘The Voice’ File photo

There could only be one winner or nominee for this honor; a no-brainer really.

Some four or five months ago, Tessanne Chin was a relative afterthought struggling to find a major breakthrough that would launch a once promising career that mostly stalled since making her mainstream debut as a teenager in 2004. Thanks to smart advice from Shaggy and one-chair-turning audition in Los Angeles, she went from Hideaway to being one of the most sought after musicians in the world right now.

Chin long possessed the vocal range, clarity and stage presence necessary to become a superstar, and after successfully auditioning for season five of NBC’s The Voice, those qualities were finally there for a much bigger audience than ours to witness. Song by song, she hit every high note with ease, and round-by-round, more American viewers were warming up to a woman whose personality and talent were too irresistible a combination to overlook.

Her last two solo performances – of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waterand Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing – were two of the most memorable performances ever displayed by a Jamaican artist, or on any talent show worldwide for that matter. With every well-sung word, she had her own coach, Adam Levine, and really everyone else speechless, leaving one to wonder how high her ceiling really is.

Winning The Voice and an American recording contract were mere formalities really. It was the way the she galvanized her entire country to the point bars and Half-Way-Tree square were filled to Bolt-like proportions that was the real story. Jamaican music, and Jamaica in general, now had something to smile broadly about in a year filled with economic and social mishaps and drug controversy surrounding the island’s main source of unbridled joy in recent years, its track and field team.

Chin brought a badly-needed light on the island in dark times and has given every local musician to believe that a break is coming, with just a little persistence and attention to detail required. She now has the opportunity to become the island’s next musical icon and open doors for Jamaican in an American market which has not been kind to them since the days ofDamian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, Shaggy and Sean Paul.

Here is to hoping in 2014, she lays the foundation for Jamaica building a much stronger home musically.

Tessanne Chin features twice more on Billboard Hot 100

Tessanne Chin is seeing double on the Billboard Hot 100, earning two spots in the chart thanks to her stunning run on the NBC talent show

Tessanne Chin is seeing double on the Billboard Hot 100, earning two spots in the chart thanks to her stunning run on the NBC talent show

by Jodee Brown

The Voice: Season Five winner, Tessanne Chin has once again earned recognition from music’s most established chart as Billboard magazine now features two more songs from the Jamaican sensation, according to reports Friday.

After peaking on the Billboard Top 100 chart at 64 with her rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water during The Voice semifinal, Chin has outdone herself once again by placing at number 51 for a similarly masterful performance of Whitney Houston’s classic, I Have Nothing in the final.

Additionally, her performance of Let It Be with coach,Adam Levine has entered the chart at number 76. Both songs are also featured on Billboard’s Heatseekerschart, with I Have Nothing topping the chart while Let It Be is seventh.

Meanwhile, Chin’s new single, Tumbling Down, written by One Republic’s Ryan Tedder could enter theBillboard charts as early as next week, according to reports. The song has been heavily promoted and was performed during her media blitz in the United States following her victory on The Voice, including on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Live with Kelly and Michael and Access Hollywood Live.

Her new album is expected to be in stores early next year.

Major Lazer set for Kingston show in December

major lazer1by Jodee Brown

Internationally-renowned super group, Major Lazer is set to return to Jamaica in time for the holidays as they will headline a concert in Kingston the week before Christmas, according to reports Monday.

The group, consisting of Diplo, Jillionaire and Black Chiney’s Major Lazer will perform at the New Mas Camp on December 20. Early bird tickets for the show will go on sale this Friday at the Acropolis Gaming Centre in Barbican for JA$2,000. The event is drinks-inclusive and is slated to kick off at 8 p.m.

This will Major Lazer’s second performance in Jamaica this year. The group performed a special, sold-out show at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in January, dazzling crowds with props and crowd surfing. Additionally, the show featured performances from Reggae sensation, Chronixx and Dancehall star, Popcaan.

Major Lazer has long been known for its affinity for Reggae/Dancehall music and produced two smashing hits in 2013 featuring two of the genre’s popular figures.

This past Spring, they teamed up with Busy Signal for the retro-themed single, Bumaye, which has garnered close to 50 million YouTube views for the song and accompanying video. In May, award-winning dancer, Mystic Davis, who featured in the Bumaye video, featured on Major Lazer’s single, Bubble Butt alongside Bruno Mars, Tyga and 2 Chainz. That single has pushed the 20 million views mark on YouTube and peaked at number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singleschart this past summer.