THE music industry is a tough business. It can be tougher for journeyman artists like singjay Influential, who has been pounding the boards for nearly a decade.

In Suffer, his latest song, Influential addresses some of the challenges he faces trying to make it on the competitive dancehall scene. The song is a production of Jobes Records, operated by Alrick and Rupert Green.

“Mi nuh get nuh justice from the business, a jus’ pure exploitation. A jus’ the passion an’ love fi the thing carry mi through,” he said.

Dealing with shady promoters is one of the tough aspects of being an artist. Being on the road (he has performed in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean) have taken a toll on his personal life.

Suffer was released in December, nine years after his first song, Drugs and Guns, hit the streets. The latter was produced by Richard Foster of Platinum Piece Records but got little airplay.

He followed up with Principle and Cancer, both produced by Ronald ‘Sonny Spoon’ Wright, who helped develop singer I Wayne’s career. Like Suffer, Cancer is based on personal experience, Influential having lost his parents to the disease in 2009.

“Dat was tough, especially when mi see wha’ mi mother go through,” he said.

Influential was born Richard Powell in the border districts of Bath/Midtown in Manchester. His parents were dedicated Christians and it was in church that he got introduced to music.

After moving to Kingston, he played bass in the Mona Open Bible band alongside Jermaine Edwards, now a popular gospel singer. Living in the August Town area of St Andrew, he got into secular music, with one artist making a strong impact on his decision to go dancehall.

“Buju (Banton) music lift mi, in a way it spiritual like gospel. Him a mi biggest influence,” Influential stated.

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