Sweeter Honey Jam Sept. 1 launch

Honey Jam Barbados is celebrating five years, and though it needs an urgent financial injection, founder and producer Ebonnie Rowe says this year’s edition will be big.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Rowe said in an interview with Bajan Vibes ahead of the September 1 launch.

Rowe is however keeping all the details close to her chest, but she has given the assurance fans will not be disappointed with the all-female talent showcase, prior performances of which have won the hearts of Barbadians.

Ebonnie Rowe, founder and producer of Honey Jam Barbados.
Ebonnie Rowe, founder and producer of Honey Jam Barbados.

“We are celebrating five years. I can’t believe it has gone by so quickly. We are launching September 1.

“What can you expect? We always deliver great events; well produced, organized; and we’ve got fantastic talent. There will be workshops that we provide for the artists. The surprise is: there is stuff that’s new, but I want to wait to reveal what is exciting at the launch.”

Rowe said interest in the show remained high, but funding was falling short. And, she is hoping for a miracle to stage the event.

“From the outside looking in, people who don’t produce events see a lot of logos, but they have no idea that most of those logos are not money at all.

“To get financial sponsorship in this economy is tough. The sponsors are all having their marketing budgets slashed; so they are pulling out of events; and it doesn’t mean that the events are not great events.

“And then some of them have to pull out completely, or reduce what their contribution is. So we definitely want to send the message out that what we are doing is a worthwhile developmental initiative and we really want to encourage support . . . .”

Rowe believes the initiative has been meeting its goal of providing young artistes with a stepping stone to their career, fending off concerns that singers emerging from Honey Jam don’t often walk away with a big music deal like Rihanna.

“I hear a lot people say, ‘This person sang in Honey Jam this year, but nothing happened’. I have to say that person doesn’t understand how the music industry works. It’s like taking a two-month course; you use the knowledge and contacts to get further on in your career.

Ebonnie Rowe with artistes at Honey Jazz.
Ebonnie Rowe with artistes at Honey Jazz.

“I think it is a success story that we are here five years, even though it has been such a struggle. I think the artistes are the best people to be the barometer for the success. Not in terms of who got signed, but in terms of what the experience was to them.

“When you are a part of Honey Jam you are a part of Honey Jam forever. So when opportunities come up we are able to go reach into the pool of alumnus. Take for example, every year Simon Cowell comes here and holds a private charity event; and we were chosen to provide the entertainment. I am able to pass that on to my alumnus.

“We are also able to provide paying gigs, because I get a lot of calls for people who are looking for people to sing at a wedding or perform at a company gig. So there are always opportunities to perform long after the show.

“In addition, the artistes get to meet people like Alison Hinds, Shontelle, Jayco, celebrity vocal coaches and more; so there are a lot of really great opportunities.”

Rowe insists Honey Jam is more than a show, and believes it merits strong financial support, given its role in developing the local music industry, which she sees as a potential goldmine
for Barbados.

“Sustainable funding for this initiative is important. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if our biggest artiste Ms Fenty could work with us? That would be a dream come through. I would love her to be involved in some way. I understand that she is going to be an adviser on The Voice. But wouldn’t it be fantastic if she could come and share some of her experiences in the industry with the home-grown talent?

“I know already that every Honey Jam has already provided fantastic learning experiences. I am confident that we will be able to provide that again. And then we always look out for additional opportunities to pass onto the artistes.

“We should all be rooting for their success; and they will definitely rise.”

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