Ivan Berry Takes Caribbean music 2 World Image

by Tanaka Tiki Roberts

CEO of Caribbean 2 World (C2W), Mr. Ivan Berry, to use his years of experience working within Canada's music industry to develop the local sphere particularly honing skilled songwriters for international success.

As the company's name - 'Caribbean 2 World' - suggests, Ivan Berry had a vision to treat the local creative industry like that of the agriculture or manufacturing sectors that is to generate products for export. In this case the products would be songs. In fact, Berry has taken it a step further by having C2W music entity become the Caribbean's first publicly-listed and traded Intellectual Property Company on the Jamaican Stock Exchange.

 "We searched around the Caribbean to find out which stock exchanges are vibrant and which communities of people are really excited and forward thinking about investments. It came down to Jamaica by a long shot. The Jamaican stock exchange is properly run and I think the Jamaican public is really aggressive investors and they're willing to take a chance on something." He explained.

It is no secret that Jamaica has produced exceptional artistes for more than half of a century who have surpassed the boundaries of the tiny island to create waves internationally. Berry however realized that beyond being remarkable singers or performers, many were prolific songwriters as well. According to Berry, Jamaica has the potential to secure a niche in the multi-billion dollar music publishing industry and that is just what he plans to do.

Right now C2W has signed 6 songwriters and Berry is hoping to have around 12 in the next year or 2. These songwriters are expected to write songs themselves and also collaborate with other songwriters regionally and internationally whether through song writing camps or otherwise. All of these songwriters are very carefully handpicked by C2W staff. The selection process involves evaluating whether or not the writer fits the company's model and also if they are consistent in writing internationally marketable songs.

C2W has collaborated with international song writers for international artiste like Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Mindless Behavior and Rihanna. Berry informed Jamaicansmusic.com that the company has just completed a song writing camp in Negril which was directed at producing songs for Jennifer Hudson's upcoming album. The camp saw C2W collaborating with GRAMMY award winning song writers and producers along with Jamaica's own reggae songbird, Etana, to produce some 20 songs in one week. Heis hopeful that a few of the songs will make it to the album.

Once a song has been recorded and released, C2W then reaps the rewards of the exploits. Berry noted that it is a very lucrative venture as some songs might end up in a TV show or film, video game, advertising campaign, etc.

Sometimes it is the record company's who reach out to C2W for songs, as was the case for the song writing camp for Jennifer Hudson's album. In this case the writers are given guidelines as to the direction in which the artiste is looking to go with the album and the type of lyrical content they desire. From there the writers produce and vocalize the songs and once they have put together a small catalogue of songs, the labels then review the songs with their teams and the list is truncated and then brought to the artiste select from.

So far things are looking great for C2W as a slew of artiste have recorded some of their songs, including glee star, Amber Riley who recorded four songs, the X-factor's Rachel Crowe and Jerimih, just to name a few. The list of international artiste recording C2W songs has been growing exponentially but Berry expressed that C2W does not only cater to international artistes.

"Our songs are available for anybody not just international artiste. We are writing international sounding songs and we're writing them for any recording artiste that wants to record it. I don't care if its country, rock, R&B, pop or reggae as long as you can create some revenues for that song." He said.

The entrepreneur also revealed that C2W plans to continue to grow their catalogue and their staff, and eventually set up a physical company as right now it is more of a virtual operation.

"The long term plan is to grow and have multiple offices in the Caribbean most likely Trinidad, Barbados and Jamaica with full staff and keep doing what we're doing and keep getting cuts and hits and making our shareholders a return of investment." Berry said.

Berry currently teaches at two universities in Canada and wants to educate people in the Caribbean about the business aspect of the music industry. In his view, the Caribbean is filled with people who want to graduate and work for someone else and not enough entrepreneurs looking to start their own business.

The visionary businessman is adamant that artistes/songwriters need to start looking at themselves as a brand and manage their careers like the business that it is. Berry has confessed to hearing songs from the Caribbean that he admitted didn't make any sense to him but was told that it was for locals. He urges artistes to consider the fact that their songs are accessible to the entire world now and not just a local audience.

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