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EDITORIAL: Hard work paying off

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Hard work paying off

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The band Cover Drive deserves the most genuine kudos for attaining the No. 1 spot on the British singles charts, not only because it was achieved by dint of hard work but equally because the four young musicians and their management have quickly made good use of their contacts and opportunities.
Appearing as the headline act at Rihanna’s home concert before a crowd of 25 000 in August would have been a gem of a chance to showcase their talent on a live stage, while mingling backstage would have either set up or directly led to introductions to music executives who are nigh-inaccessible in that competitive business arena. From there, lots of studio time, writing and production would have had to be done in order to live up to Rihanna’s obvious faith in them.
Cover Drive seized the moment.
Let’s not forget, though, that a good song is just that: a good song. And the blending of their voices and instruments is precisely what would have made that first good impression, as the thousands of listeners on YouTube can attest.
They are now ideally placed, between the ages of 18 and 23, to grow not only as business owners offering a product that is finely-tuned – pardon the pun – but as live performers whose appearances on stage cannot be pirated as a CD or download can be. In fact, tours and live performances seem to be their objective, having announced plans for a video of their third yet-unnamed single and the release of a 12-track album.
Just as Rihanna has grown from being the shy Pon De Replay girl to be the most sought-after live pop artiste in seven years, it is not far-fetched to believe that this group just needs to keep creating and, with more than a foot already in the door, can take their music to another level.
The management of the band is particularly important as well; and who better to be their mentors at this time than the parents of drummer T. Ray Armstrong Jr? He and his band mates have been friends for years, cutting their musical teeth in the basement of the Armstrong’s home.
It is even more fortuitous that his parents, Ray and Kerrie Armstrong, have long-standing backgrounds in the music business, since Kerrie has managed artistes, including Livvy Franc who was signed to Jive in 2007, while Ray sang on the local circuit as a member of Second Avenue and more recently with one of Barbados’ most trend-setting groups, krosfyah.
For these co-managers, their responsibility goes beyond the music and involves the trust of the other three members’ parents/guardians who have, in essence, placed their offspring Amanda Reifer, Barry Hill and Jamar Harding in the Armstrongs’ care.
So what’s next for Cover Drive, having started 2012 on such an exciting note? They have done commendably with the first single Lick Ya Down and reached No. 1 with Twilight, and a video and album are in the works.
This new wave, coming as it does on the threshold of public discussion about the Cultural industries Development Bill, should make Government look more favourably at investing in the industry and cementing relationships with music labels and other industry partners, much like our tourism business has effectively partnered with international brand names like the Hilton, Four Seasons and Holiday Inn.
What’s more, it gives hope to local musicians and artistes who might have been thinking that nothing is happening for Barbados since Rihanna. Indeed, the possibility of emulating her success had begun to seem remote, but Cover Drive is showing what’s possible.