A decade ago, Rawle Ferguson and Kerwin Bollers, two rising deejays in Guyana began a dream of a new entertainment frontier for Guyana and so the first ever Jamzone event was hatched and held. I remember it as if it was yesterday. The new Splashmins resort was the venue and Nicole Austin cruised her way to victory as the first ever Miss Jamzone. No one was quite sure what would become of the event and whether it would ever see another day break. But success has a way of repeating itself.
Fast Forward. Ten years later, Guyanese are waiting anxiously for what is known as the official start of the Guyana Summer. Of course, here in Guyana we dream of a summer and have adopted the American summer as our own although we enjoy the summer type of weather all year round. For us, the summer break is really a break away from the American summer.
Back to the event. The clock is ticking right now as Guyana’s number 1 promotion and entertainment group Hits and Jams prepare to unleash the type of entertainment and late night parties that would make Paris Hilton sweat. All across the country, in almost every neighborhood, the well off ones and the hard time ones, one word is rolling off the tongues of party goers – JAMZONE. The dates are set, from the 14th to the 22nd August; patrons will find themselves being given what the promoters promise to be a Guyanese ting with an International Swing.
The big name artistes are already lined up. American hip hop star Neyo headlines this year’s event. Jamaican Dancehall Star Movado will control the dancehall scene as Trinidad’s Karma Band the Palance Guys will add the soca and cross over flavor that will put the icing on the cake. But this cake is not ready to be baked just yet.
The International pageant which will attract 15 delegates from across the Caribbean and South America is being hyped as the Mother of all local pageants, one that will set a new stage for pageantry in Guyana.
You would think with all those big names and with all those big events, the Hits and Jams crew would be running crazy as they add the final touches. Not so. That’s not how they do it. Take a walk down to their Queenstown office and you would be amazed at how cool and relaxed these guys are. But they have the right to be. For them, this is just another page in the book that tells the story of their success, and it is here that I want to take you back to that story.
Think Guyana. Think the year 2000. Think two 21 year olds sitting and just putting together a dream that they hope would turn into a reality. That dream is alive. The Hits and Jams team of Kerwin Bollers, Rawle Ferguson and Dwight Ferguson provide the perfect sketch of that dream. Rawle would often remind you that he is the business brain of it all.
Start talk of profits and he would quickly begin adding numbers and looking at possibilities the way you expect a National Budget Director to be going about the nation’s business. When it comes to the dollar signs, he becomes focused and wants accountability all the time every time. Kerwin Bollers is the soul of it all. He is the one that tests the waters before everyone else goes in. Bollers is the big dreamer.
There is not a single thing he does not believe could be accomplished and he would use the links he would have created over the years to set the tone for whatever it is he is dreaming of. Dwight prefers to stay behind the scenes, but is at most times considered the deal breaker. He thinks. He considers. He acts. He brings the two worlds together and from the backseat, he directs the moves that ought to be navigated.
This sounds like a script from Donald Trump’s The Apprentice right? Believe me, The Donald and his crew would be amazed.
But I was taking you back right…When the guys began their collaborations first as music deejays then as business partners it was never envisioned that they would have raced themselves forward as sort of The Authority not An Authority but as The Authority on any and everything entertainment in Guyana. For a period in their lives, no one believed their dreams; quite frankly except for a few, not many really cared. But that’s the good thing about dreams, we forget them, but they never forget us.
Kerwin would often tell you the story of his back yard and house party deejay playing days, when he was a skinny kid with the braids and the noisy microphone. When Spragga Benz, Patra and Shabba Ranks ruled the dance hall scene, the days when “school bell ring” was a hit song. Rawle seemed to be the one who always wanted it his own way as a deejay and of course his brother Dwight proved to be the silent rising star.
From Dancehall vibes and back yard Barbeques to some of the biggest shows Guyana has ever seen, pushing themselves to the limit is what these guys prove it’s all about.
And from their commitment you realize that their greatest accomplishment may not be the dollar bills or the street credits, but it’s actually the simple fact of having taken themselves to a higher level, to setting a new bar and holding onto it.
Spend a simple 30 minutes in one of their planning sessions and all of a sudden you believe your dreams can become reality too. The shouting is there, the loud disagreements would be there, names would be called, papers will fly but then everything settles when it is decision time and then that decision is made about some upcoming show or event and the endless possibilities that now exist once that agreement would have been realized.
These guys know their strong points and they know their weak points and the funny thing is, they never seem afraid to point them out to you. It’s as if they want you to know the value they put into every little detail of work that they do.
Now of course, this is not any fairy tale Cinderella, Glass slipper story. All three gentlemen would easily admit that there were times when everything did not appear to be on their sides, when getting sponsorship seemed like a Guinness world record challenge and winning that sponsorship appeared like a night at the Grammys.
Oh what a difference, success makes. Today sponsors rush to their sides like little kids and ice cream. And oh yes, there is nothing like the sweet taste of success.
The radio shows have developed to take on a life of their own, a life that continues to grow. The TV station HJTV stands tall even after many challenges. It stands as a place with any young man or woman could turn to, to find a song that is related to their life’s story and their own dream.
If you were to ask these guys about the recipe to success, they would look at you and then take you deep into a story of finding yourself, finding your talent, building that talent and following your dreams. There’s a whole lot more that could be written about Hits & Jams, but rest and know that may only now be closing the first chapter.