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2006-07-07 00:07:51

A Musical Battle: Bahamian Artists Versus Music

David Hoyte has retired from the music world.

After 40 years of song writing, producing and engineering music for some of The Bahamas' biggest artists, the pioneer has withdrawn himself from it all.

Despite his passion for the arts, the music mogul said that after all of the toil; the sacrifices and struggles, he is finished with the industry.

But his is not a happy departure.

Hoyte, like many other entertainers, has discovered that not even his talents could save him from the bleak side of Bahamian music. A side where artists like Hoyte claim that other musical agendas are being pushed forward while the Bahamian melody floats behind.

If this is true and Bahamian entertainers feel unappreciated and overshadowed by foreign music, then what could it mean for current artists who battle the everyday plight of promoting their music?

What could it mean for artists who are still striving to expose themselves and the meaningful root of Bahamian music that is considered the essence of our culture?

What could it mean for the music makers of tomorrow?

Pushed Aside
"What I have discovered is that I am doing so much things for other artists but I feel as if I am not getting the right push. I think there are foreign artists that are getting more promotions than we are and it makes us feel like they have more stability over us. It's not right," says Hoyte.

Hoyte heaves a sigh then leans back in his leather chair. Staring out the window he scratches his beard, looks at the tightly guarded instrument in his hands and nods his head.

 "I have been performing all my life and I think I have done enough of that," he repeats with one more sigh as he describes his disappointment with today's Bahamian music industry.

After producing work for artists like the late Swain and Phil Stubbs, Hoyte says that artists like himself are not being recognized by the leaders of the music industry.

He claims that most Bahamian artists are not getting the promotion that they deserve and blames other genres for the limited Bahamian music that is being played on the airwaves.

"Bahamian artists are not getting that exposure like we should. For some reason other music gets promoted more," he said.

"Their music is in all the shops, on all the radios. It's everywhere and we are not.

"We might get some artist like us out there but not like it should be. So now what is left for us to do? We feel like it is useless or that maybe we should move on."

Hoyte says that after being in the music industry and experiencing all of its highs and lows, he is leaving his career to explore other areas in his life.

With plans to open a music school for children to learn the basic fundamentals of music, Hoyte says that he is leaving his profession to teach what he has learned to others.

Despite his ongoing passion for music, the musician says that the Bahamian music industry is not doing enough to safeguard its artists and calls for a serious revision on the route that the country's entertainment is taking.

Gazing out of the window once more Hoyte goes into thought again.

"Perhaps they need to give more regard and pay attention to people like us because we are role models for young kids that want to have a career in the field of music," he muses.

With a touch of his beard and glance of his instrument, he shakes his head with one final announcement.

"I been trying to keep it going but somehow I could do better. And I don't blame the public because they enjoy our music. They just don't have the chance to listen to what we have to offer," he says.

"All I know is that I have to keep a strong frame of mind. Just keep pushing; because no one else is doing it for me."

Immediate Response
It is possible that Hoyte's story is not like that of many of today's Bahamian artists.

Artists whose music gets mainstream exposure may not have the same experiences as those who have lost the battle to becoming recognized artists.

Hoyte believes that most Bahamian musicians become successful based on how much exposure they get on the radio.

"What happens is that we listen to the tracks and if we think it has the feel, then we play it.

"The public will call and say if they like it or not and basically the songs get played based on the response of the public," explains General Manager of Mix 102.1 FM Don Martin.

Martin says that both radio DJs and the public contribute to the play of Bahamian music.

The manager of the hit radio station describes a segment called 'Bus' It or Flush It,' where only Bahamian music is played.

"What we do is we play new Bahamian artists and people would call in and vocalize their opinions on the song. Sometimes they make it and sometimes they don't."

Martin says that Bahamian music can only be transformed into mainstream songs if it carries a strong, presence.

He said that the station plays a lot of Bahamian music but songs are only rotated based on the response of the population.

"These artists have to remember that every song that you cut is not going to sell. Everything that you cut, the public is not going to accept," he explains.

Martin says that some Bahamian artists believe that only Bahamian music should be played however, he says that just because an artist is Bahamian, it does not mean that their music will do well on the radio.

"We play a lot of Bahamian music, but sometimes the people don't feel it," says the general manager.

The Artists And The Music
Perhaps there is a competition between the Bahamian artist and other music that is played in our society.

Maybe a Bahamian artist feels that he or she has to fight with outlets to stardom like the radio station in order to get their musical message heard.

Or is it a fact that the radio station is not to blame, but rather those who respond to it?

Bahamian music has the power to be recognized because it carries energy and longevity like every other genre of music out there.

But sometimes artists may make it; sometimes they don't. Competition exists all along the journey.

And when it comes to the music industry, nothing is ever guaranteed; not a hit on the radio nor the ear of a listener.

By TAMARA DELANEY, Freeport News Reporter

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