Maestro Arly Lariviere of the Konpa band Nu Look

Some People, including my friend Versace, may think that I have something against Nu Look, but that is quite the opposite. I love all the bands/artists, especially the ones making great music and acting for the betterment of our music business.

I do not write to destroy; I write to correct mischievousness in the business. I have written to advice Disip, one of your stark competitors, especially after the PR deal they had with JP Relations had reached a point of no return. I had advised them to revise the decision. Now, if they did not listen to me, that is their business, not mine.

Anyhow, your album is soon to hit the streets, and I have a strong sense it will score big. How could you have a guy like Pipo singing on an album to not be expecting damage? He is one of the very few best we have in the business as we speak. But do not get too hardheaded and confident to fail to do what you are supposed to do to make the best out of this production.

Do keep in mind that great products do fail if the right marketing strategy is not being implemented. So needless to say that you are going to need to engage in an aggressive marketing campaign to get the job done. Here is what you are going to do to get Nu Look back in the lead again. You need to do two things:

  1. You need an outstanding public relations staffer. I would recommend you to contract JP Relations. Listen to me… I do not know Sasa like that. I do not know her more than I know you, and I have never met you a day in my life. She has never been my classmate in Haiti and the US. But I have been watching her. She is one of the best, if not the best, we have in this business right now. GET HER!!! You do need the best to work with and/or for you; I am sure you can afford that.
  2. Part of your marketing strategy should be to have the entire band embark on a “meet and greet with the fans” bus tour from South to North and East to West coupled with semi press conferences. Have the media to follow you at every stop, where there is a huge Haitian community. Have you ever seen the politicians here in the US going on bus tours to campaign? Well, there is a reason for that. It is all about marketing yourself and the message or product you want the people to know about. It gets media attention and publicity for free. That’s what you call free press.

Marketing is all about making noise and captivating the attention of the people. Make it a week-long or a two-weekend-long event -whichever is more convenient for the band. You will be amazed to see the result. Your band would be the first to have ever gone on a bus tour to market an album. Try to be the first or the leader in everything for the followers to follow. And at the end of the day, make sure you send me the check in the mail. My advice has never been for free. Just joking… lol 😀


Belo: During a live performance at the FIAF

Belo has the momentum, and he is unstoppable!!! His EXPLOSION on the international arena is now happening, just about half a decade since he decided to take on this music career. There is nothing supernatural about his success, since most of us Haitians always try to give a supernatural explanation to anything that seems to surpass our limited intelligence or intellect.

His latest album REFERENCE, from what I could gather, was officially distributed in the United States by this distribution company called MI-5. I also found out that its promotion has been a success. This guy is not sleeping; he is on a mission. He on tour all over the world -Canada, the US, Algeria, France, Brazil, etc… -promoting the Haitian culture.

Belo is exposing our culture to the world community not because he is Jean Belony Murat, but because he has a product that is being marketed perfectly well. I had said it before, and I am going to say it again –marketing is everything. This is the discipline that can make or break your business, regardless how great your product is.

Let me explain to you how eminent marketing is for business success. Take two products –product A and product B. Product A is lousily manufactured but has a well-defined marketing strategy. Product B, on the other hand, is perfectly manufactured but has an awful marketing strategy. Product A has a greater chance than product B to make it in the market and be successful. That’s what marketing does. It has the ability to play in the psychology of the consumers to make them accept a product with initially no chance to make it.

I hope the people in the Konpa business can learn a thing or two from Belo as to what he is doing and how he is doing it. The man surrounds himself with skilled people, people who know what they are doing, how can you expect him not to breakthrough? Keep bathing in mediocrity and tell me how far it will get you. I have been telling you all along that mediocrity will not take us anywhere.

Most people in the Kompa business believe in the idiocy that our Kompa music cannot gain steam in the international market because of the language in which we sing; our Creole is the ultimate scapegoat. What a ridiculous argument!!!

I could have been making that same nonsensical argument had I not witnessed with my own naked eyes the impact of Raggamuffin music or Dancehall Reggae on both the South Korean and Japanese societies. Mind you, these societies are very conservative and reluctant when it comes to being receptive to foreign cultural tendencies.

During my time in the US Army, I had the privilege to be stationed for about two years in South Korea and Japan. When I and my friends would go to Korean- and Japanese-owned clubs outside the military installations, the Koreans and the Japanese, who may not even know anything about what Beenie Man and Buju Banton are saying in their songs, would just go crazy on the dance floor bouncing nonstop to the beats until the party is over. The young Koreans and Japanese would buy, sing and dance Ragga Muffin –a music that is not only culturally foreign to them but also sung in a language they cannot even come close to comprehend. So don’t tell me it is the language. There is something the Jamaicans have been doing that we are not doing. And I know what that is. It is called MARKETING. These guys know how to get their music out to the world.

Belo has been in this music business for not even a decade, yet he is taking the world market by storm. He is out there, folks. He is picking up steam and momentum. He is not singing in any language other than Creole for the most part, has that stopped him from being popular and going international? Has that stopped him from winning the RFI prize? The answer to both questions is… HELL NO!!!!!!!

It is not the language in which an artist sings that can make or break that artist; it is, rather, how well of a job they do in marketing their music. So stop blaming the Creole language for everything and anything that is not working with our music. The language is far from being the reason why our Konpa Direk cannot cross certain market boundaries.

We must not be producing music to cater to only the Haitian market, a market with only 8 million consumers. Our market is too narrow as it is, and the purchasing power of the consumers is already too minced. Any musician who aspires to make it big in this music business needs to go after other markets –for example, the American, the Asian and the European markets. Keep in mind that you don’t enter these markets with no preparation whatsoever to compete. If you do not sit down to do your homework prior to your entry, you are wasting your valuable time and resources. In these market environments, competition is fierce. Only the best survive.

Music is meant to be a lucrative endeavor; therefore, we must not be making music to be counting peanuts. Belo, be the Manuel of Jacques Roumain’s novel Gouverneur de la Rosee for our music so that you can show them how it’s done.