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  • Writer's pictureSade Carthy

From Western Jamaica to the Main Stages: Selector 'Yung African' shared his musical experiences

Interview: The accomplished selector of YM Entertainment talks about the challenges (“we are seriously overlooked”), close relationship with Teejay, the state of dancehall currently and more

Yung African, Established selector in the business

When you think about the popular talents of the music industry, urban parishes are often acknowledged as a primary source of successful production. However, it is rarely discussed the skills and resources possessed by rural parishes also. A prime example of its successful aura is experienced deejay Kamarley Headley popularly known as "Yung African". Born and raised in Trelawny Jamaica, the talented deejay discussed his time in the industry, relationship with 'Drift' deejay, Teejay and his hope for the countryside to gain more exposure in an interview with Kaboom Magazine.

Joining the selector industry in 2005, Headley described his experiences as a disc jockey and how the evolution of time has changed for selectors then versus present time. "Back then it was important to know your craft", Yung African keenly explained. "It was easier back then to be dedicated to your artistry. In present times there are now deejays who are better at marketing and they know how to network. I believe it's important to understand that, because now the persons who do will have the advantage", the Trelawny native added.

"we involved in every big party in Mobay, Trelawny, Hanover and Westmoreland"

Since his time in the industry, the expert selector has been known to play at popular parties such as Dream Weekend and the yearly staging of the "Wild Bunch All White" event in Montego Bay. Expanding his talents across American borders, Headley has also played for popular US radio station Hot 97, and annual party "Mayhem" in Florida and recently hit once again the stage of Dream Weekend 2023, Which was the third consecutive time in the event for his team. “The dream weekend team; Scott ,Ron ,PJ and PP are all great people to work with. this was our third year being a part of the festival being one of the top names from western Jamaica”, he said.

Highlighting his accolades, he described what sets him apart from other talented selectors in the music industry. "I pride myself on building relationships with the people around me", the selector zealously expressed. "My ability to communicate and my skillful way of networking will always set me apart", he added.

YM Entertainment & the close friendship with Teejay Joining YM Entertainment in 2018, Headley explained how the team successfully began dominating the rural area. "We are the staple of entertainment in Montego Bay", Yung African confidently expressed. "We are involved in every big party in Mobay, Trelawny, Hanover and Westmoreland”, the accomplished selector added. Most recently, the team also hosted their first major overseas concert 'Drift The Jamaican Independence Celebration', with known mainstream artiste Teejay as the concert’s headliner.

Describing his relationship with the dancehall star, Headley expressed his admiration for the love Teejay has for his fans. "Teejay is a very good friend of mine. He has a clear passion and love for music", the selector explained. "The connection he has with his fans is really unexplainable, he really cares about them", Headley added.

Teejay, really cares about his fans (Jamar Cleary)

Discussing his time taking over the rural area, African expressed the challenges that arise while being a countryside selector. "The biggest struggle is that we work so hard and we are seriously overlooked", Headley expressed with disappointment. "To get picked up by major events we have to do triple the work. We are very talented but we need a platform”, the deejay expressed with sincerity.

Sharing his opinion on the global state of dancehall, the selector implored the music industry to be more open to the current state of music. "The new artistes are doing well. As ambassadors I definitely believe we should be open to new music.”, the knowledgeable talent passionately expressed. “The veterans were once pushed so I think it’s time they push the new artistes. They too have the talent we just need to be open. Personally, I listen to Teejay and Masicka and the new generation also to Valiant & Nhance”, he added.

Divulging with us his goals as a deejay, the YM Entertainment protege expressed his desire to showcase his talent on a bigger platform. "My biggest ambition is to grow my platform. I already love music and I am passionate but I really want to travel to more countries such as; Europe, England and The Caribbean", Headley expressed.

Giving advice to the selectors of the future, the western Jamaica native talented selector highlighted the importance in loving your craft and taking advantage of your platform. "Love what you do and take advantage of your media platforms. Networking will take you to a whole different level", he concluded.


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