It looks like hard-work and dedication have finally paid off for one young Caymanian keen to break into the music industry.
The first music video by Hasani Levy, aka Blackface, is planned to be shown on Caribbean stations Hype TV and Tempo.
The video is being shot at the Next Level Nightclub and will feature top Jamaican dancehall stars Delly Ranks, Busy Signal and Adonai, alongside scores of local artists and extras from Cayman.
The rising star said that the video, which is being shot in high 24 film quality, has been in production for the past two months, adding that musically it is perhaps one of the biggest events to hit Cayman.
‘We are in the final stages of shooting the video,’ he said. ‘It’s been hard work. There has been a huge amount to co-ordinate – I didn’t realise the amount of work it would take, but it’s been great fun.’
Raised in the US and with parents from Jamaica and the Cayman Islands the singer’s music is, not surprisingly, a fusion of these cultural backgrounds, a cross between hip-hop and dancehall.
The single for the video, Move It, is a club track, written by Blackface early this year.
The singer has been working on his music for the past two years – writing songs, building contacts and planning the launch of his career.
‘I have about two or three albums worth of songs but I have not put anything [albums] together yet,’ he said. ‘It’s part time, part strategy. I want to logistically plan it. It takes time. A lot of artists in the music business are in it for a long time before they get their big break.’
Although Blackface wanted to carefully choose which song to release internationally, he said the decision to choose Move It as his debut was relatively easy.
‘I have released a lot of my songs in Cayman so I went with the public opinion – which one got the best response. The song also had to appeal to as many people as possible. It had to be a song I could market and could also envision a video alongside.
‘Cayman was like my testing market – I got a good response.’
Describing Move It, Blackface said the song is ‘really catchy’ adding that he hopes it will appeal to a broad audience.
Although he remained tight-lipped on the finer details of the video, he said it was not a ‘hype-video’.
‘There is a storyboard – it’s a bit like a movie format,’ he said.
The singer chose Cayman to shoot the video as he wants to keep it as local as possible. Clothing for the video has been supplied by Cayman-based company, One 345, owned by local entrepreneur Luigi Moxam, and the video has been sponsored by local entertainment company Music Mogul Entertainment, LLC.
‘I wanted to promote Cayman as much as possible in the video.’
He added: ‘Hopefully it will shine a spotlight on Cayman’s music scene.’
The artist leads a double life and his Blackface guise could not be more different from his day-time persona as assistant accounts manager at the captive management firm Willis. One day, he said, he hopes to work as a singer full time, although for now, he puts just as much energy into his day job as he does building up his music career.
The ambitious 28-year-old was born in Brooklyn, New York. It’s somewhere he hopes to return to soon. Although he said that Cayman’s music scene is blossoming, he whole heartedly admits that it doesn’t offer up quite enough opportunities.
‘Musically there is no real outlet in Cayman. There are more possibilities and avenues to pursue in the States with regards to a music career.’
Blackface’s planning has been meticulous throughout the last few years. The rising star has launched his own entertainment company in the US – Hollow Point Entertainment – to handle bookings and other business related to the industry. He also has recruited his own entertainment lawyer. It all means that once Blackface’s career is ready to take off he’s ready.
The rising star’s music ambition is by no means a flash in the pan. This is serious business.
‘I have been holding back for a long time. I wanted to wait for the right time to launch my career internationally. It’s taken a lot of work. Some people say I have not been doing anything. I have, it’s just behind the scenes, pulling everything together.’
Blackface feels he is on the verge of something big. He could just be right.