Determined, innovative and courageous; three personality traits required to succeed in an uncompromising music industry that can sometimes play favorites in terms of stature and gender.
But Samantha L.O. Hall is undeterred by these often challenging odds as she aims to flourish as a female owner of a Record Label, Studio & Management Company; a rarity within any country’s music industry. Hall is the proud owner of Rasta Camp Entertainment (www.rastacamp.com), a steadily growing record label and studio based in Clarendon, formed in 2011. Also known as “Empress Sammy”, music has always been rooted in Hall’s blood as her stepfather; Culture-T scored a chart-topping single, Notice Board in 1992 while her husband, Donovan Campbell who is the creative director of Rasta Camp Entertainment, also has musical roots.
For Hall, music allows her to progress in the always transitional process of life.
“You could say that music is innate to my inner soul and character,” she says. “Music to me, binds all the different aspects of my life into one driving force that soothes me and brings me immense joy and gratification in the work I do.”
Growing up between Montego Bay, St. Ann and Kingston, Hall was exposed to Jamaica’s different subcultures and decided to couple that diversity with her musical intellect as she decided to start her own studio.
“The journey into the Music Business came at a serendipitous point in my life. My husband and I saw the opportunity to work with a young talented artist based in Clarendon. We thought about it and decided that the time was right for us to transition our love for music, our business acumen and combined the two and realized the inception of Rasta Camp Entertainment,” she explains. “We asked Jah for his blessings and guidance on this new venture. Since that faithful time in mid-2011, I have not looked back.”
Her belief in her craft has led her multiple opportunities and allowed her to hone the talents of Clarendon-based recruits such as Saggie-T, Tmoi and, most notably, Spechinal who enjoyed a breakout year on the mainstream circuit in 2012.
But as always with any female in the industry, Hall has had to deal with her share of setbacks and the expected politicking that exists throughout the Dancehall/Reggae circuit. Citing inspiration from owners such as Jade Lee (Jade Promotions), Angela Thames and Sonya Stewart (Panache Entertainment), she refuses to analyze the industry’s scope from a gender-based perspective, despite the fact it is male-dominated.
“Yes it’s a man’s world and the business tends to be a boys club, but more and more women today are taking the mantle and handling their business, while being successful at the same time,” says Hall. “I don’t strategize from a female perspective, albeit, I’m a woman. For me, business strategies encompass business principles coupled with effective resource utilization; all performing at optimal levels to deliver a system that is productive.”
She has direct input into putting out the final product, whether songs, videos or marketing campaigns and puts much of her work into developing musicians into well-rounded players on and off stage. This is something she takes seriously as she aims to play on par with the big boys going forward.
“Our campaigns are designed to maximize our efforts and investments. We pay attention to all the social media channels and our team produces consistent and current social media content and we continue to grow our network of social media connections,” Hall intimates. “Our motto is ‘Where the Message meets the Music.’ This is a key tenet & foundation of what Rasta Camp is built around.”
After a year which saw the aforementioned Spechinal and Saggie T become key figures across HYPE TV and other local networks, Hall is hell-bent on evolving her young label into a powerhouse, with a slew of new releases planned for the summer and the launch of the C.O.V.E.R Music Project in March, an initiative providing an unplugged setting for artiste across Clarendon to perform live, intimate music for patrons.
“For 2013, our objective is to get into the Top-5 and hopefully a few number one (hit) songs. We see this as a short term goal that we can achieve for at least four of our ready artists. The breakout of Artists such as; Kozmik, Tmoi, Gospel Warriors, Third Gear, Spechinal, Saggie-T and Jah-Bari are all stated objectives for 2013,” she says. “Keep listening, Rasta Camp will soon be heard everywhere. “Dem a go tired fi hear mi name, can’t get we out of di race”, as Bob would say.