Studio Ten: Administrating the music Image

by Tanaka Tiki Roberts visited the site of the newly opened Studio Ten in Kingston Jamaica. Along with a tour we spoke in-depth with Bruce Wong-Ken, owner of Studio Ten who shared his vision for his company and the Jamaican music industry by extension.

At the centre of music production is the studio. Jamaican music history is laced with instrumental production houses that have in some way or another revolutionized the industry. In the 1960s and 70s there was Studio One, in the 80s there was Techniques and in the 90s was PentHouse. Today, Studio Ten comes to make its mark.

If there is one thing Jamaica is not short of its studios. Despite of this, what is also true is that Jamaica has not quite seen a production entity of this kind, Studio Ten seeks to set the bar. Not only is it furnished with state of the art equipment to foster the creative development of the industry it has also been structured to hone the business aspect. Owner of Studio Ten, Bruce Wong Ken had a clear vision in mind when conceptualizing the establishment, to mould artistes to effectively function at an international level and to make a difference in the administrative unit of the industry.

It is no secret that Jamaica lags behind in regards to balancing the creative dynamics and business elements of the industry. Yes we are aware of what our counterparts' are doing professionally wise but very few have been able to put these practices into operation which is where Studio Ten comes in. From the very beginning of booking studio time to gaining access to the premises, the structure and clear exhibition of regulations are defined. It's not just a studio, it's a business.

From the tiny lights projecting from the floor of the recording booth to the clean modern colour scheme, it was evident that much attention was paid to details of the decor. Wong-Ken told of how purposeful the team was in creating an aura that feels professional while still being exuberant and full of positive energy. Even the use of different flags as a part of the decor was strategically done to inspire young aspiring artistes to strive for international success.

It's not just for the artistes alone though. Studio Ten's commitment to enforcing administration provides an atmosphere that appeal even to corporate clients. Although the studio can be booked at night as artistes commonly do, the office is open between 9am-5pm to accommodate persons who are interested in using the facilities in the day. All persons who wish to utilize Studio Ten will have to do so strictly by appointment, whether through the receptionist or their website.

He pinpointed that especially with the increasing popularity of Jamaican music across the globe there needs to be an entity that exemplifies professionalism so persons beyond the local scene would want to use their services. To illustrate his point Wong-Ken identified several popular musicians namely Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber who have featured Jamaican music influences in their latest releases. Unfortunately very rare do you find that actual Jamaican producers are a part of these projects. Why, because of the lack of administrative grounding. This Wong-Ken expressed is unacceptable. Hence he has created an outlet where by musicians overseas can comfortably outsource a Jamaican production team so that the island can actually benefit.

Along with the studio there is also a conference room, fully equipped green screen room and black room for video and photo shoot purposes. All of these services are available to the public, at a cost of course with which Wong-Ken reassured is guaranteed value for your money. Along with this Studio Ten provides Messaging On Hold services, from script writing to the actual production. Several high profile artistes have already chartered Studio Ten services, and its reputation steadily grows for the high level of professionalism practiced there.

Still, there are many plans of expanding the scope of services available including plans of publishing. In keeping with their efforts of development, Studio Ten also plans to eventually set up its own non-profit music school facility, fully equipped and open to the public specifically schools for lease. Wong-Ken noted " It's not for Studio Ten to make money because with that now we'll be able to turn around and give people hope in the music industry because we (Jamaicans) are very talented." He sees this investment as a platform to develop natural talent and source our next Sean Paul or Rihanna, especially for underprivileged children who would otherwise not have such an opportunity.

He stressed however that Studio Ten cannot do it alone. Wong-Ken implores other labels and production houses to join together for the improvement of the industry. From the administration to keeping up with the trends of technology for securing better creative output, more attention needs to be paid. He stresses the necessity of quality and advised, "Just maintain certain standards and affordable price, that's all it boils down to."

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