Its been a while since Dancehall has had a real chance at crossover success. Thanks to Alliance gunners Mavado and Serani, Dancehall is at the forefront of US popular culture once more. For the first time ever two Dancehall videos made New joint of the Day in the same month on BET's 106 & Park, with the recent airing of Mavado's So Special and Serani's No Games. With appearances on Billboard and many high profiles, TV shows, magazines and concerts, manager of both artists Julian Jones-Griffith is very pleased with the way things are developing.
"We are working around the clock to take this to that coveted next level," said Jones-Griffith. "Space is very limited on radio playlists and charts etc for Dancehall so to have two artists with that crossover potential at the same time is very positive but very challenging. Because of that limited space, the general feeling in the US music industry is that Serani and Mavado are somehow competing against each other. We are trying to change that conception so that in the future Dancehall has more room to breathe. Both have their own lanes and so far, we've been successful in ensuring both acts continue to rise. With sales in the industry at an all-time low and with many of the top radio stations in dire financial trouble in the US it’s a new battle field so we have to adjust the game-plan constantly. Dancehall is still not accepted by mainstream radio on the whole, by advertisers and music consumers, but we are trying to make having a Dancehall act on the radio everyday or on Billboard or on TV shows like BET's Rip the Runway or a Metro PCS Tour an automatic choice, just like it is to have a rapper or an R'n'B star. We want to spread this to endorsements, movies, and the whole nine. It might sound a long way off but they said that about Hip Hop once too."
Mavado and Serani are in the midst of numerous public appearances across the US, with both acts giving great performances at the "WILD Splash" show held in Tampa on Saturday. Performing alongside Yung LA, Slim Thug, Sean Kingston, Souljah Boy and Busta Rhymes, it was once again a first to have two Dancehall acts in the mix.
"The crowd response was great," said Serani, who opened the show. "The audience was extremely different from the traditional Dancehall crowd so I just ensured I put out a lot of energy in my performance to inject that unique Jamaican vibe into the crowd. I came off feeling very good about my performance, as the crowd response was very positive. Hearing thousands of people of different cultures sing No Games was a great and inspirational feeling."
"You have to know how to work a crowd like that," added Mavado. "You have to know what songs to sing, how to get the audience involved and I think we did a very good job of that. If we don't do shows like this we are not going to break into those new markets that we need to get to the next level. I think we won some new fans at the show, not just for us, but for Dancehall on the whole."
The Alliance roadshow rolls into Newark, New Jersey on Wednesday night at the Prudential Centre in Newark. The final installment of the Metro PCS 5 Boro Takeover Tour stars Mavado and Serani alongside Estelle, Busta Rhymes, Akon, with superstar rapper T.I. added to the bill recently, reportedly his last public performance before he surrenders himself to the authorities to begin his one-year prison sentence.
"We've already confirmed Serani and Mavado for HOT 97's Summer Jam in the Summer," added Jones-Griffith. "Thats June 7 at Giants Stadium in front of 50,000 fans with the biggest icons in urban music. We're also doing a similar show in Hartford on the 5th of June and in Boston at the end of that month."