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Big Woman Tingz
‘Big Woman Tingz’, the highly anticipated 10-song compilation album featuring an all female line up of amazing music with meaning, officially dropped on Friday, March 8th on all digital platforms. Released on the GURLES, Ltd. record label, and being distributed by ZincBeats, the project debuted on International Women’s Day 2019 and is a prolific echo of the experiences of women around the world.
‘LA AAA ADY’, a catchy anthem by newcomer Jamila Falak is the most recently debuted (Feb 2019) featured single gaining quite a bit of steam, and fans, with its fun proclamation and definition of queendom. Previously included on the soundtrack of UMC Network movie series “Jacqueline & Jilly” (created by Victoria Rowell, popularly known as Drucilla Winters of Young & the Restless), Falak’s song is also the debut video of the album. Other previously released singles such as ‘Pretty Girl’ by Minori, ‘Everything’ by Latoya Jane, and ‘Naa Mek Dem Win’ by Keisha Firmm are vibrantly laced with eclectic, soul-soothing production and empowering messages. Additional artists on the project include Lisa Hyper, CK, Ammoye, Shivaun Rufus, The Wixard and there’s also a collab featuring Chevelle Franklyn, Flavia Beswick, and Jodian Pantry.
The entire album is a celebration of the collective journeys of the women who came together on the project, however, what makes this project so special is the backstory on how it came about.
Music for Change
In 2015, a Kingston based, USAID-funded program called ‘Fi Wi Jamaica’ (a non-profit lead by Professor Rosalea Hamilton—current CEO of the LASCO Chin Foundation) rolled out an extremely unique 3-year program empower vulnerable groups through a range of interventions, including the healing power of music. Executed by the University of Technology Jamaica (UTech), the “Masters in Residence” (MIR) program provided a progressive opportunity and structured environment for young and aspiring inner city musicians, songwriters, music producers, managers, and vocalists to learn from and create music with some of Jamaica’s biggest music business icons.v
Participants of the program experienced coaching, lectures and philosophical mentorship by Jamaica’s finest talents, as well as practical creative sessions at Grafton Studios with producers like Steven Stanley, Jeremy Harding, and legendary Mikie Bennett. Other Masters in Residence of the program include Beenie Man, Bob Andy, Ernie Smith, Ibo Cooper, Gussie Clarke, Wayne Armond, Stephen Stewart, Wayne Marshall, Kabaka Pyramid, Jeremy Hardin, Craigy T (from Voicemail), Chevaughn Clayton, Duane Stephenson and many more.
When the program got underway, and creative synergies began flowing, several of the female participants found common ground on the undeniable challenges faced by aspirational women in a largely male-dominated Jamaican music industry. From that common chord, the GURLES, Ltd. record label was born in 2017, and shortly after its very first offspring project began to take shape—Big Woman Tingz.
Tandra Jhagroo is the album’s A&R, Project Coordinator, mix engineer, mastering engineer and also a Board Member of GURLES, Ltd. She’s also Jamaica’s only professional female studio engineer, and Red Bull Music Academy’s exclusive representative in the Jamaican market. Additionally, she has an extensive list of production credits on iconic Pop, Rap, Reggae, Dancehall, Country and Alternative projects for artists like Toots & the Maytals, Amy Winehouse, Drake, Sean Paul, Vybz Kartel, Popcaan, Kenny Chesney, The Jolly Boys, Major Lazor, Gorillaz, Busy Signal, and more. An almost 4-year labor of love for Jhagroo, she noted “The ideology behind the MIR program and the GURLES record label is about empowerment and strategy—not just how to create music, but, how to create a brand, and release and promote an independent project. I felt the best way to exercise this was to make an album and the project took off from there.”
Although the album features multiple producers, Mikie Bennett is at the heart of both the Masters In Residence program and the Big Woman Tingz album. Bennett played a key role in both the cohesive creative direction evident in the production and songwriting of the multi-artist album project. When asked about the Masters in Residence program, Bennett said “Our coaches were drawn from a pool of highly skilled professionals with impressive resumes, while our mentors read like a who’s who of successful Jamaican music industry personnel. While we cannot guarantee success in an industry like the music business, I am confident that we have equipped them [participants] to make the most of any opportunity.”
Chairman of GURLES, Professor Rosalea Hamilton, has been a driving force behind the creation of the MIR program, the creation of the GURLES organization and the subsequent release of the Big Woman Tingz project. She is a proponent for many progressive social causes across the landscape of Jamaican society and has a sincere vision of empowerment for girls and woman of all ages.
Release Launch & Appearances
On Friday, March 8th, GURLES, and the Honorable Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange (Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment & Sport) commemorated International Women’s Day 2019 at the Jamaica Conference Center, in Kingston. The Chairman of GURLES, Professor Rosalea Hamilton spoke while Big Woman Tingz artists, Jamila Falak, and Minori performed live. Later on that evening, GURLES celebrated their partnership with the digital launch of the album at the ‘Femme Phenomenal’ media launch.
Big Woman Tingz is now available for streaming and/or purchase on Spotify, iTunes, Apple music, Deezer, Tidal, YouTube, Amazon.com, and Juno. IRIE invites you to support GURLES Limited… Music for Change!
Spotify Playlist | IRIE on SPOTIFY – March 2019