Never mind “X-Factor”, “The Voice” and “American Idol”.
True talent will find its own way to the top through the traditional ways of touring, writing great songs and working in the studio to create that catchy hit that will touch hearts and minds worldwide.
Wayneroy, originally of George Town, tells Weekender that he’s recently signed a very exciting five-year deal with LA-based record company, UAA Music.
“They pay for everything – it is very exciting and pretty scary at the same time,” he notes.
Negotiations lasted around a month, he says, with initial contact in around March 2013. The deal was finally signed in May. The company had picked up on various tunes that Wayneroy and his management had uploaded to different sites online, he explains.
“Putting your music out there on the Internet is such a big thing; we live in an island of 60,000 people. Years ago you’d probably have to fly out and meet people but these days you can get the email addresses of pretty much every South Florida DJ online, be that Facebook or whatever it is, and send them the tracks to check out.
“Last November, I was contacted by Norman Ratner, co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. He put me into artist development and said he would love to be able to say he was responsible,” he notes.
Sol Star manages Wayneroy, who also has booking agents in place.
Good and bad deals
The UAA deal is the first one that really has been appropriate, with labels having been sniffing around for quite a while.
“There were contracts [offered] before, none of which worked in my favour,” continues the star-in-waiting.
“[One of those offers] was $2 million for five years. But in that contract I was not able to write or produce; they had in-house writers and producers and I would have had to sing everything they wrote. And I would have had to move to Arizona.
“But with UAA it was made clear that I write and produce so if you look at it from a record company perspective, I was a cheaper artist to sign than someone who does not. Wayneroy can be at home and write, record and produce a record. Other artists need studio time, writers. So now I have to sign another contract as a producer for the company also.”
The deal requires that Wayneroy deliver an album per year, which he feels will be no problem as he already has around three LPs worth of material ready to go.
“One thing is finding out what they want. I have had previous comments [from labels I was negotiating with] such as ‘why are you still doing R&B? Nobody listens to that.’ They wanted me to do pop. But I think what they meant by that is to take R&B and make it more commercial.
“What they really need in the industry from me is what plays on the radio, what plays in clubs. I cannot make any money if it’s not commercial, at the end of the day.”
Whilst he’s coy about the financial side of the deal, it’s a truism that the large dollar figures mentioned in standard record deals as above should be thought of as more like bank loans than anything else. Any money advanced, in other words, by the record company, must be recouped through sales and other exploitations of the music, before the artist or label make any money. Wayneroy, having been around a little while, says he is aware of the pitfalls and responsibilities of the industry.
Though the label is based in Los Angeles, Wayneroy explains that he will be still living in Florida until December.
“I have been there so long that for me to get up at 11pm and need a guitar or to record something I can call [contacts] in Miami and start it there whilst I don’t yet know anyone in LA.
“They said they need a single right away so as soon as I leave [this interview] it’s down to work.”
A typical day?
Wayneroy’s typical day involves gym work, vocal training, a careful diet, dance training and working in the studio. At this stage, recording is key as is hitting up DJs before a planned tour.
“One of the deciding factors was that online I don’t have music videos – I have live performances. Whilst a video can sound like anything, a live show is you singing so that was a really important part of it.
“My records and live performances are two different things. A record is a totally different vibe in a live performance. I hand-pick my musicians, get them together and decide the way to play. I am a musician; I have been doing this my entire life. I love live music; I cannot express how much I love it.”
Indeed, Wayneroy’s live shows often feature on-the-spot communication with the audience depending on the vibe he feels. He cites Justin Timberlake and his ‘awesome musicians that vibe well together’ and producer-turned-artist Ryan Leslie as people he admires.
“Anyone who is interested in music would say Ryan’s production and live stuff is where it’s at,” the musician says.
“I love being on stage; I love the look on an audience member’s face when I hit a note or sing a lyric [that resonates with the crowd.]”
Wayneroy’s themes and lyrics are universally-relatable, which can only stand him in great stead for his career.
“I represent for Cayman and am from here; at the end of the day though they can relate to everything else I am saying. The point is to reach as many people as you can reach. Of course there are tracks where I relate taking trips to Cayman and the beach but as far as talking about coconuts … no.
“You need to be true to who you are. I never sing a song about things I don’t know about, you won’t hear me singing about driving around Bucattis; I stay true to who I am.”
Rihanna’s experiences come to mind, I suggest. Turns out that Wayneroy already worked with the Bajan superstar on her debut album.
“Her first album was more Caribbean-sounding, but that exposed her to the market then she could progress as an artist,” he notes, wrapping it up sagely.
First fruits of Wayneroy’s record deal, he says, may be available to the public as soon as December or January.
“I got some serious work from now until the end of the year,” he concludes.
“I am booked from now to Thanksgiving at least with travelling, working, studio time.”
He wouldn’t have it any other way, of course.
With a combination of good looks, great moves, catchy songs and crucially the drive and experience to negotiate his way through a competitive and often unforgiving industry, Wayneroy’s journey is only just beginning.
Go get em, BoBo.
Editor’s note: This story has been corrected from its original version.