Courtney Cole—

A NUMBER of music producers emerged during the 1990s dancehall explosion. One of them was Courtney Cole, whose Roof International released several hit songs from its Ocho Rios base.

Cole is still at the helm of Roof, though the label has moved to St Elizabeth where he works with mostly home-grown artists.

“I’m dealing with some young talent like a 10-year-old named Simonia, who is going places,” said Cole.

Let’s Live in Harmony by Simonia is one of Roof’s latest releases. According to Cole, the title sums up his label’s approach to music.

“Everything we deal with is conscious, nothing out of the way,” he said.

Dub poet Richie Innocent, gospel singer Meekle Melody and lovers rock singer Garth Swaby are some of the acts Cole has worked with recently.

An auto-mechanic by trade, St Ann-born Cole operated a tow-truck business before getting into music during the late 1980s when he opened the Roof Club in Ocho Rios.

Garnet Silk

Garnet Silk

Other than being a ‘party man’, he had no ties to the music industry. After seeing a number of artists perform at his club, he launched a label and went into production.

The move paid dividends. Roof produced a cache of hits including I Can See Clearly Now and Mama by Garnet Silk; Dem Nuh Like We (Capleton), Butterfly (Tony Curtis and Jigsy King) and Who Sey Mi Dun by Cutty Ranks.

Cole said he took a break from producing for a while, turned off he says by a proliferation of ‘dutty songs’.

With his current roster of artists, Cole hopes to help put St Elizabeth’s music on the map just as he did in Ocho Rios 20 years ago.


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