Jamarr’s love of stage, school
There’s a fine, fine line between cockiness and confidence.
And while some may view emcee/teacher Jamarr Brown as the former, he asserts his ardent pursuit of excellence keeps him in the latter strain.
The 31-year-old’s face and voice keep thousands entertained, whether reggae or soca is the genre rocking the hill, at private functions or political platforms.
By the time this story is published, he will be preparing to stir the Cohobblopot at Kensington Oval, while holding onto an eventual aim of hosting Soca Royale in the near future.
“I am very confident. One of the things I don’t like about [emceeing] is that you are in the public eye and the public always has so much to say about you,” he opened up to EASY. “It is [also] a double whammy, because I am a teacher and I have to carry myself in a [certain] way as well . . . but I am easy to approach and easily [willing] to take advice, once it is [delivered] in the right way.”
Even his moniker – Jamarr The Star – has been considered a sign of his . . . avid self-love.
“That name came from when I was a student at the Barbados Community College (as a mass communications student) and it was given to me. A lot of people think it was a cocky thing. My tutor at the time, Cynthia Nelson, said I needed a [sobriquet] and my friend said, ‘Jamarr, star’ so I went with Jamarr The Star.”
But Jamarr Brown is different from his onstage persona, he admits.
“. . . Jamarr Brown is really just a very quiet person who does not like the spotlight. With this job I had to accept that at the end of the day I had to be in the spotlight and deal with it. I [only] go out when I have to work, [but] I like to be at home and I like to spend time with family.”
As to be expected, Crop Over is one of the busiest times of year for the emcee, but what many may not know is that his involvement in the season could have gone another way.
“I was involved in music from a young age and I have a Grade Six in trumpet from the London Royal School of Music,” he revealed. “I have a serious love for music. Because I could not sing and I had a serious love for talking that is how I got involved in emceeing.”
Nicknamed “Mouta Brown” while a student at the Erdiston Primary school, the young chatterbox was afforded the opportunity to make his stage debut at the graduation ceremony in 1994. Later at the Christ Church Foundation School, Jamarr was given the chance to emcee school concerts, and later pageants. His chance at a bigger stage came on the Junior Monarch stage at 18 years old.
“I was a little nervous . . . but I knew I had to find my own personality of me coming out of me on stage,” he explained.
He described his style as “jovial” – but comedian he was not.
“When I came on it was Mac Fingall, (Carl) Alff Padmore and Trevor Eastmond and it was thought that to be a good emcee you had to be a comedian . . . . But I also picked up from voices like Vic Fernandes, Carol Roberts, Marvo Manning, Gaynelle Marshall [and] Wayne Simmons, and these are people who I look up to who I emulate and who I even try to be better than in this industry.”
He has benefited from some useful advice from Mac Fingall as well, who also taught Jamarr a valuable lesson – balancing the life of an emcee and a physical education teacher. It is a job Jamarr has held for the past decade, first at his alma mater before moving onto the amalgamated George Lamming Primary. Currently, he is attached to the Welches, St Michael school while studying for an associate degree in education at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College.
“I strongly believe that I want to be the best or one of the best teachers on the island, and it is hard to do that and be in emceeing, but if Mac Fingall can do it I can do it too,” he said with a smile. “I don’t think I have to give up one for the other. Going the extra mile . . . is something I enjoy and I have a serious love for children.”
The single Gemini wants to father his own children – after settling down with the right woman of course.
“I am hoping to find the right lady to get there and get married because I believe in the union of marriage . . . but I have to be in a relationship with someone who understands my work, because I am very busy, mostly around Crop Over and [she would need to understand] it is something that I love and it brings money but I would have to find time and . . . to make time [to spend on a relationship].”
Jamarr also has hopes of getting into politics, “ten or 15 years down the road” as well as using his voice in other ways during the Crop Over season.
“I have spoken to King Bubba of Platta [Studios] and I was . . . thinking about either getting into production or singing. So you might hear a sweet soca song from Jamarr The Star,” he said with a laugh. “I am not Edwin [Yearwood] or Biggie [Irie] but I can hold a key.”