Shenseea and Govana earned top honors in dancehall last year.
If there was a word to describe 2020 when it comes to entertainment, we might go with the words of Spice, who said she didn’t make any money in 2020 due to the pandemic causing the industry to lock down and losing J$26.1 Billion in revenue. Things in Jamaica officially locked down in March 2020 as news spread that the covid-19 virus was deadly and highly contagious, and almost 10 months later, there is no ending in sight as yet.
The unique nature of the Jamaican entertainment industry, in particular, has placed the livelihood of many in the industry in a precarious position. Unlike the United States Recording industry, where artists depend on streams and sales, Jamaican artistes rely on tours and live performances locally and abroad. When things locked down, forcing a ban on events and gatherings, the primary sources of income for artistes were cut.
However, the challenges have not stopped those who are high performers as they pivoted to manage the new hardships. Instead of focusing on what was lost, many took to the studios to produce and release good music as they focused on streaming. Although some events moved online like Verzuz, Reggae Sumfest, Reggae Sunsplash, and various live corporate events, including Friday parring with Coppershot Music and other local DJs.
Among those being recognized as consistent performers are Shenseea and Govana, who pulled off the Female and Male Entertainer of the Year awards respectively by the Jamaica Gleaner’s 2020 Year in Review.
Both have been able to perform at an unrivaled level, releasing a number of singles that adds to their growing catalogues. Among Shenseea’s hits for the year are the releases of “Side Chick,” and “Lighter” – an international banger with Tarrus Riley cementing her growth as an artiste. Shenseea’s streams have been nothing short of admirable as she racked up 35 million views for the song and trending in the number one spot for weeks.
She also released a number of other singles, including “Silver Tongue Devil” featuring American-Jamaican Saxophonist Masego. She also released the catchy “Sure Sure,” “Bad Alone,” “Good Comfort,” “Rebel,” “Wasabi,” and “Zum.” Shenseea has arguably released more hits than any other artiste and is deserving of the award.
It was not all smooth sailing for Shenseea, who also lost her mother to cancer in June. However, in spite of that, she continued working and has reaped the rewards with a lucrative Pretty Little Thing endorsement deal and launching her eyelashes line.
Govana secured the Male artiste of the year award with his Convo series making it not only a hilarious mini-movie but catchy song and lyrics. Fans excitedly waited as the series was released in parts. ‘Likkle Bit a Money’ was also a hit so much so that the slang is now used in arguments and even quoted in the House of Representatives by the Local Government Minister as used as a point of defiance by those who broke the Disaster Risk Management Law.
Meanwhile Skillibeng on the other hand was breakthrough male artiste for the year. The artiste released hit after hit even though many said he’d be a one-hit-wonder with “Brik pan Brik.” He proved otherwise with the release of “Torpedo,” “Shake” featuring Jada Kingdom, and the banger “Crocodile Teeth.” Among his wins for the year are signing an international recording deal with Sony/ATV at the end of 2020.
Meanwhile, Shaneil Muir was recognized as Breakthrough Artiste of the Year by the Jamaica Gleaner. Among her biggest songs were “Yamabella,” definitely an independent ladies’ anthem as it rebukes women who act foolish to please men.
The artiste shared the news on her Instagram, thanking her fans for their support “TOP GYAL, grateful for the love.
Many artists in the industry sent their congratulations, including Jada Kingdom, who said “well deserved” Shenseea with heart emojis. Seanibremix, Cecile who said, “you deserve this Shaneil. Congrats. Mi Luv u eeesi.” Shaneil is definitely one to watch as she shows her versatility and creativity with “Same Guy” with Good Good Productions label-mate Denyque, who returned to music in 2020 after the birth of her daughter.
Koffee’s “Lockdown” was also recognized by the Gleaner as the Song of the Year, and we can see why as Koffee with Popcaan and others really gave us hope as many made plans post lockdown. We’re still looking on for the silver lining that we are sure will be coming in a few months with the advent of several vaccines now available to treat the spread of Covid.