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  • Writer's pictureRomaine Brown

Exclusive: Squidell To Elevate Jamaican Talents in His New A&R Role at Atlantic Records UK

Exclusive Interview: Popcaan's brother discusses his new role at Atlantic Records, aiming to elevate Jamaican talents on the global stage and bridging the gap

Squidell at Atlantic Records Office

International record labels have demonstrated a keen interest in collaborating with Caribbean artists, particularly those from Jamaica. In recent years, several Jamaican musicians, such as Masicka with Def Jam, Teejay with Warner Music, and Skillibenng represented by RCA Records, have secured deals with major international labels. Atlantic Records has also acknowledged the importance of this trend.

Demonie Wilson, popularly known as Squidell, the elder brother and former manager of dancehall star Popcaan, is now positioned to play a pivotal role in launching Jamaican talent onto the global stage. Recently appointed as the Artist and Repertoire (A&R) executive at Atlantic Records UK, Squidell' is set to make significant contributions to the music industry.

Atlantic Records UK, established in 2004, is a British record label serving as the copyright holder for UK releases under the US-based Atlantic Records label.

In an exclusive interview with Kaboom Magazine, Squidell outlines his goals in his new role, the anticipated impact on the Caribbean market, and sheds light on his continued career as the manager of artists such as Govana and Ching.

"Since relocating to the UK, my goal has been to strengthen the connection between the UK and the Caribbean. I've expanded my network, collaborating closely with key figures in the black music industry, including Sincere, Fredo's platinum-selling rapper manager, and executives from Atlantic Records UK and Warner Music Group, including Portia Clarke," expressed Squidell. "I believe that if Jamaican music received the same support as other genres, our artists and music could achieve the same level of success. Since my move, I've worked as an A&R on numerous successful projects, leading to the establishment of this position and securing deals through successful meetings and project travels," he added.

Addressing his new role, Squidell acknowledges the task ahead, stating, "My primary role and core responsibilities involve staying attuned to the Caribbean music scene and actively scouting for talent, with a specific focus on identifying talent from Jamaica."

Squidell recognizes the challenge faced by artists signing with major labels, noting a tendency to stray from the authenticity of dancehall music when adapting to a global audience. "We've witnessed numerous artists being signed to major labels, only to release music that strays far from their roots. I believe that dancehall music can achieve global recognition without sacrificing its authenticity. Let’s also remember the genre is infectious; the influence is bigger than we even know due to being in the scene," he resonates.

Considering the global popularity of dancehall and the evolving demands of artists, Squidell explains, "It would involve pairing the right artists together. We've seen this approach succeed several times in the past." While unwilling to disclose specific details, the St. Thomas native hints that some artists are in the crosshairs.

Despite his new position, Squidell remains dedicated to managing dancehall artists Govana and Chi Ching Ching. He highlights his commitment, saying, "I still run my own company. I wouldn't neglect my own business to become an employee at someone else's firm."

With aspirations to unite Jamaica and the Caribbean with major labels, Squidell undoubtedly faces an ambitious journey ahead.

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