(October 24, 2019 – New York, NY) Island’s 60th anniversary year, moves from London and New York to the GRAMMY Museum® in Los Angeles where legendary Island founder Chris Blackwell and Island president Darcus Beese will join for a historic conversation moderated by the Museum’s Founding Executive Director Bob Santelli. An intimate performance by critically acclaimed artist Jessie Reyez to follow. Event will take place on Saturday, November 23rd. More info and ticket details HERE.
The GRAMMY Museum event will cover Island Records’ rich history, from its origins in Jamaica and London in 1959, to its rise as one of the most iconic and respected artist-driven labels in the industry. Chris Blackwell and Darcus Beese will discuss Island in depth, from its early global success in the ’60s and ’70s (Bob Marley, Traffic, Cat Stevens, the reggae movement, and more), to its dominance in the ’80s, ’90s and beyond (U2, Robert Palmer, Grace Jones PJ Harvey, and countless others), up through the contemporary megastar roster of Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato, Amy Winehouse, Jessie Reyez, The Killers, Skip Marley and many more.
This week, #Island60 is being celebrated with a limited-time installation New York at Dolby SoHo, a space powered by Dolby where science meets art and technology meets imagination. The event showcases the label’s cultural, cool, and independent ethos through the lens of iconic music, milestone albums, and game-changing artists. A multi-exhibit experience, it is filled with engaging newly-remastered music and videos, artist appearances and a gallery of Island’s most celebrated album art. The immersive experience gives visitors an up-close and personal encounter with music in Dolby Atmos® from a wide array of Island artists. Taking music creation and listening beyond the ordinary, Dolby Atmos® expresses the nuances of every song, from the heartfelt emotion behind every lyric to the meaningful subtleties of each note, allowing you to connect so deeply with a song. Fall in love with music all over again through Dolby’s reinvention of your music experience.
Toronto based singer-songwriter and rising global superstar Jessie Reyez debuted her RIAA certified-gold single “Imported” with 6LACK this spring, from her highly anticipated forthcoming studio album, slated for 2020 release via FMLY / Island Records. She most recently released a new song titled “Far Away,” which stays true to form with her brutal honesty, raw emotion, intimate lyrics and a voice so achingly pure that the heart-tugging effects of the song are undeniable. A poignant and powerful video through a lover’s lens underscores the harsh and unfortunate injustices being suffered by immigrant families and youth today, touching on controversial political subjects such as border patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and border detention. “Far Away” was accompanied with evoking visuals that received critical acclaim from the likes of Variety, Rollingstone, CBS News, Fader, Complex and more. Last year’s monumental accomplishments included a sold-out 30-date tour, the Fall 2018 release of her second EP, Being Human in Public, which gained wide-spread acclaim from fans and critics alike including New York Times, Variety, Fader, NYLON and more. Her critically acclaimed single “Figures” was officially RIAA certified-gold in the U.S. She also performed her hit single “Apple Juice” at the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, where she was nominated for Push Artist of the Year and Video with a Message for her powerful and crucial “Gatekeeper” music video. The young artist also had a slew of collaborations with many notable artists including Eminem, Daniel Caesar, Sam Smith, Lewis Capaldi and Karol G and co-writing credits on Dua Lipa’s hit song “One Kiss” with Calvin Harris and “Promises” with Calvin Harris and Sam Smith.
In a thirty-year career, having worked his way up step-by-step since starting as a promotions intern, Island Records President Darcus Beese is perfectly attuned to the history and the culture at Island. He was a key figure in the company’s storied A&R tradition, having signed Amy Winehouse and worked with the likes of Florence Welch, Mumford and Sons, and PJ Harvey during his time in the label’s British operations. And today, he oversees a group of artists—from Shawn Mendes to the Killers, Elton John to Demi Lovato—that continues to expand the scope and impact of the pioneering label founded by Chris Blackwell in 1960.
Chris Blackwell, founder of the ground breaking independent record label Island Records, is the owner and creator of Island Outpost, a progressive lifestyle company that at its center contains a celebrated collection of intimate Jamaican luxury hotels and villas. A businessman with nomadic, bohemian instincts, he paved the way for other unorthodox entrepreneurs from Richard Branson of Virgin to Russell Simmons of Def Jam. In founding Island Records, Blackwell helped internationalize reggae music, bringing the island’s culture to the world, signing amongst many others Bob Marley & the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, Burning Spear, Third World and Black Uhuru. Diversifying into British folk and rock, Island Records also signed and developed Steve Winwood, Robert Palmer, Free, Nick Drake, Cat Stevens, Roxy Music, Melissa Etheridge, nurtured early U.2., and then worked with such classic “Island mavericks” as Tom Waits, Grace Jones and Marianne Faithful and the iconic African Artists, King Sunny Ade, Salif Keita, Baaba Maal and Angelique Kidjo. Blackwell sold Island Records in 1989, remained on the company’s Board until 1997 and his enigmatic influence is still felt at the label.
ABOUT THE GRAMMY MUSEUM
The GRAMMY Museum is a nonprofit organization dedicated to cultivating a greater understanding of the history and significance of music through exhibits, education, grants, preservation initiatives, and public programming. Paying tribute to our collective musical heritage, the Museum explores and celebrates all aspects of the art form—from the technology of the recording process to the legends who’ve made lasting marks on our cultural identity.