Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 10th 2015 Contents B4
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, September 10, 2015
Almost ten years ago, MTV s parent
company launched Tempo---a 24-
hour channel specialising in
Caribbean music and culture---with
a string of concerts throughout the
Caribbean, including one at Mobs 2
in Chaguaramas featuring some
T&T s biggest stars, Machel Montano,
Kes, Destra and Bunji Garlin among
"We told the world that we were
going to elevate Caribbean talent right
there in Mobs 2 that night," Tempo
CEO Frederick Morton Jr reminisced
The move was an unprecedented
step for the pop culture powerhouse,
providing a platform, like MTV did in
the 80s for American acts, for emerg-
ing music and talk-show talent from
"I challenge anyone to challenge me
that we didn t contribute, even if it
was just a drop in the bucket, to the
elevation of Caribbean music and tal-
ent," Morton said, speaking to guests
in the lobby of Queen s Hall, where
Tempo recently launched a collabo-
ration between local act Ziggy Ranking
and V Bozeman, one of the stars of
the music-based soap opera Empire.
"We ve brought local talent to
regional stature and then international
stature. We certainly had a role to play
in the beginning of Rihanna s career,"
Morton said. "We certainly had a role
to play in Tessanne Chin s [career]. In
fact, we knew she was the voice
before The Voice."
Dressed sharply in a white blazer,
dark blue slacks and a white shirt with
blue and red stripes, Morton enthu-
siastically introduced a pair of up-
and-coming acts, showing his con-
siderable skill in promoting Caribbean
artistes, which may have led MTV to
take a chance on Tempo when he pre-
sented the idea as an attorney in the
company s legal department.
"I believe it is an appropriate name
for this band," he said of the R&B/pop
act The Gifted.
Singer Arita Edmund, he said, "will
be one of [T&T s] greatest musical
exports at some point".
He saved his greatest praise for
Ranking, who he met ten years ago,
when he came to T&T for the Tempo
launch. It was his first visit.
He organised for Ranking to duet
with Bozeman on a remix of her hit
What is Love. A video for the remix
is also being filmed in T&T. Bozeman
and Ranking gave a live performance
of their duet for the Queen s Hall audi-
The collaboration was six months
in the making. A record executive
friend reached out to Morton to help
put together the remix. Morton
brought on a producer, Ruben Cama-
cho, who s worked with Tempo.
Of enlisting Ranking, Morton said:
"He was the only one to do it.
"To match an international recording
artist whose voice is so amazingly
powerful," he said, referring to Boze-
man, "it was important to find a talent
that was equal in power."
Morton recalled what happened after
he first heard Ranking s Miserable Life.
"It became very clear that this was
a song that needed exposure," he said.
"I pushed it, and the region embraced
it fully. Ziggy was on a plane practically
every week. In the Bahamas, a par-
ticular party got into power on Mis-
erable Life. They told everyone that if
they re tired of the miserable life vote
"They brought Ziggy up [to the
Bahamas]," Morton recalled. Morton
talked about how Tempo exposed
countries of the Caribbean to each
other s music.
"I remember Machel [Montano]
telling me that before Tempo he wasn t
moving around the region," Morton
said. "He was moving more to North
America and to Europe, but the region
wasn t fully aware of who Machel
Montano was, and then Tempo came
along. And, of course, in the earlier
parts of Tempo Machel was all over
it."Morton, who was born and grew
up in St Croix but resides in New Jer-
sey, acquired Tempo from MTV in
According to its website, the channel
reaches "3.5 million viewers across the
Caribbean and the US".
Ranking and Bozeman praised each
other and the remix during a press
"It s a pleasure and honour to work
with an artist of this calibre and such
quality music," said Ranking.
Bozeman called Ranking "an amaz-
"His voice is so strong and anointed.
I m happy that we can come together
and do this incredible remix. I m very
pleased with the remix and the video
too," she said.
Morton said the project shows that
Tempo is continuing what it started
ten years ago.
"We are particularly proud of the
work we do to elevate Caribbean tal-
ent," he said. "We ve done really well
at that over the last decade and we
want to do more, and this particular
collaboration is a step in that direc-
After ten years, Tempo still boosting Caribbean artistes
Ziggy Ranking and V Bozeman perform at Queen's Hall, Port-of-Spain during the media launch of the What is Love remix. PHOTO: MARCUS GONZALES
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