Jason sparks a flame

The recent nomination of Caymanian musician and producer Jason Gilbert for two Grammys by the Recording Academy as a result of his work on a song on Rapper Eminem’s latest album, has reinvigorated many young Caymanians aspiring to make music their career of choice.

This is the first time an artist from the Cayman Islands has ever been nominated for such a prestigious musical accolade.

Though Jason Gilbert’s journey to the frontline of the musical regiment was not impeded by the lack of predecessors and the young man has remained steadfast to his calling.

The Observer on Sunday spoke with several youngsters in the community to see what their feelings are regarding one of their own had finding such success and what it meant to them.

Jamesett Anglin, one of the top singers among the young people in this land of soft fresh breezes commented, “When I heard about the nomination it definitely gave me more confidence. I mean no matter how talented you are, doubts can still creep in some times, but when you see it happening to your peers, it makes sense.”

The young songstress has been away at a performing arts institution of higher learning but has decided to switch from that programme to one at the world renowned Berkeley School of Music.

She is currently auditioning for a spot at the school.

“I have had the privilege of working with Jason and singing back up vocals on productions he has been working on and I hope to enlist the help of the iZ team with several songs I am hoping to record soon,” she said adding that videos were also planned for the songs she was planning to “put out”.

Other youths that have perceived Jason’s fete as a means of encouragement and pride include Giovanni Smith.

The young keyboardist and singer finished second in the Pirate’s Week Song Competition in 2008 and is the son of Cayman Music and Entertainment President Jean Eric Smith.

The 14 year old said he felt this was an exciting time for Music in the Cayman Islands and that the nomination would also serve to open doors for other young Caymanians, as the world would begin to look in the direction of emerging talent.

“I am happy for him. He worked hard and it paid off. I am also proud that he is from the Caribbean and I feel very inspired. It makes me want to work harder,” said Giovanni, who added that his instrument of choice was the piano.

Giovanni said he would like to have a career in Music and is interested in all genres of the discipline.

Anyone who knows Jason Gilbert is aware of the humility he seems to naturally possess and when the Observer on Sunday managed to catch up with him overseas, the budding star remained meek and at peace about what was happening in his life.

“I feel fortunate to be in a position to be living what I’ve so long dreamt of. I think what we are doing collectively is definitely reviving lost dreams amongst the youth.

“I’ve personally been active in the local Music scene for the last 14 years and have seen a gradual change in the level of support the community has shown towards the Arts, especially amongst the youth audience.

The increasing support gives our local artists the confidence to excel. We have a bright cast future talent that are on their way to achieve great accolades and make history. All they need for fuel is continued support.”

Music has traditionally been a past time/hobby in the Cayman Islands and only a small few venture to make a full time career of it.

Jason said he realises that he is building on the foundation of those who took that chance before him.

The president of the CMEA is one such individual.

He has been performing for nearly 39 years and has seen many changes in the industry and showed solidarity with Jason and his group the iZ during last year’s Muzaic Awards Ceremony at the Harquail Theatre, honouring them with the International Recognition Award.

“We have to have to do our part of encourage these youngsters, as they have shown exemplary dedication to the field of music, as well as displayed great national pride on an international stage,” said Smith.

Music has traditionally been a past time/hobby in the Cayman Islands and only a small few venture to make a full time career of it.