FOR dancehall act Cham, Sunday’s free Red Stripe Bold concert is a rare opportunity for the performers and audience alike to have a good time. The Madhouse entertainer has been included in a quality line-up of reggae/dancehall stars including Lady Saw, Tarrus Riley, I-Octane and Vybz Kartel, set to perform on Knutsford Boulevard before an expected audience of thousands.
“It’s rare when you have a block concert where you have a street full of people in Jamaica that feels so authentic because of where dancehall is coming from and it’s just such a good vibe when you have so many good artistes on stage. It’s always a good vibe to share the stage with them and it’s always a good vibe to perform at a free concert where people are coming out and enjoying themselves,” he says. “You are giving them back something and that’s good of Red Stripe also.”
Born Damien Beckett, Cham’s body of work includes his incredible debut album Wow…The Story back in 2000; his 2006 hit single Ghetto Story as well as collaborations with such international stars as Alicia Keys, T-Pain, Akon and Foxy Brown. Although honoured that he was selected to perform in such a stellar line up, Cham doesn’t put much emphasis on past accomplishments even though acknowledging that it is good to be recognised. “You’re only as good as your last song or your last album,” he says. “For me it’s about staying focused and making good music, but its good when people look at you in that light.”
Come Sunday, he says, he is planning to give the audience some of the old mixed in with the new. “I haven’t even set a list yet of what I am going to perform. You know you have to do some classics and you have to do some new songs like Stronger,” he says. Stronger is the number one song in Jamaica right now. You know it’s going to be a joyride.”
In the meantime, Cham has been busy working in the studio adding to his already impressive body of work. “We just finished the riddim, Turn It Up, produced by Dave Kelly and the Madhouse family,” he revealed. He features on two songs on the riddim — Thump Me with Timberlee and Dat Mi Say. The riddim also carries tracks from Bling Dawg, God Mi Say; Bounty Killer’s The Message and Enemies; and Pinchers with Amazing.
Cham believes that the concert, which also initiates the launch of RSB’s Stand Out Campaign, is a very timely and good thing. “It’s a good look,” he says. “I like the direction that I have seen so far, that I’ve heard. The Stand Up, Be Bold is a big statement and its wide. So if you want to look at it as stand up be bold, stand up for your country and be bold; stand up for what you believe in, it’s just a good look and I love where they’re going.”