The goal of Laten Ivey, owner of Ivey league Productions (based in the United Kingdom) is to become a well-known producer and independent record label with its focus on composing, recording and distributing innovative rhythms that will dominate the reggae-dancehall market. Knowing the market is teeming with many labels and production houses, that does not deter him, as he works to the beat of his own heart, one that is pumping with non-stop inspiration, first from being born and raised in a rural home in Jamaica that was always filled with music thumping through a sound system, then from the motivation of his father who told him to always turn passion into promise.
Still, he remained in school, working hard to make his mother – the one who made sure he was never absent and pushed education – proud, all the while grooving to the sounds of his father’s motivational teachings. “My father repeatedly told me that whatever I am doing, I should not give up. He saw the passion and the love I have for music from early out, and always reminded me that it was running through my veins. They are both happy with the professional routes I have taken,” Laten Ivey says.
Analogous to that teaching and advice, Laten Ivey continued to research and learn the technical side of music. Likewise, the role of the producer and label owner’s family in settling on the decision to get the music company started, was prominent. Incid entally, in January 2021, Laten Ivey’s nephew Shemoy Hardware passed away and the one thing he knew would be meaningful and offer the best tribute was music. He then set out to create a tribute song in honour of his nephew. The song featured the vocals of up and coming Jamaican, singer-songwriter Symflo which was titled Meet Again. It was through this that Ivey League Productions was born.
He shares, “That’s when I said ‘me ah guh give this my full’, meaning this is what I am going to do and be the best at it. I am still in the process of learning, not yet a master of the music or anything close to that but I know to my core that I have a lot to offer. I also feel that my nephew is looking on at me and is pleased to know his uncle started out with a tribute to him. It was only meant to be one song dedicated to my nephew but something motivated me to get other artistes on the beat – with a similar message of better days ahead – and now it is an entire juggling.”
That one song from Ivey league Productions became a full rhythm project and Laten’s debut juggling appropriately called Better Dayz Riddim. The riddim was released on New Year’s Eve 2021 and featured tracks from dancehalls hot up-and-comers D’Yani, Nvasion, Kash Promise Move, SymFlo, Damian Highlyphe, Bad Boss and Mad Sam.
With an artistic plan laid out for many years, Laten Ivey says there is no turning back only continuous circulation as he pumps more into the music business. He also has a single out with reggae superstar, Nesbeth titled ‘Life Over Everything’. Ivey League Productions like many other labels was not without challenges; he had invested in the mixing and mastering of the music more than once and only released tracks when he was satisfied with the quality. “I started with a MacBook Pro computer, Logic Pro Software and a microphone with a soundcard. Starting in the music for me, had to be with finding the right beat and the mixing and mastering of the right clarity,” he says. “People will be surprised at my work ethic and how meticulous I am. It has become my philosophy that whatever work I am part of, or producing must be analyzed multiple times – I have to go over it, over and over again until my entire mind, body and soul feels it is in its best quality to go out to the world.”
Laten Ivey recognizes the setbacks of the industry which includes sourcing talent and technicians who have the same drive and philosophies; the intricacies of registering and publishing music within the industry but he is not discouraged. He is giving 100 per cent of himself, “no alter ego, just the same person, same me,” he says.
Noting the works of reggae legend Bob Marley, the producer and label owner expressed a desire to go back to the 70s, if there ever is a time machine, just so he could get an opportunity to sit in the presence of the music maker, songwriter and philosopher at the Tuff Gong Studios. “I honestly would have loved to witness Bob Marley making his hits. The first thing I do in the morning is to make sure everything is going well with my other business – my fleet of trucks – and then I go straight to the studio, to explore and create. I stay up to date with the trends while staying true to me and what I love,” he shares.
In five years, he promises Ivey League Productions will be a staple within the music industry, remaining current with technological advancements and he sees the company’s capabilities of receiving award nominations and even winning a few as it continues to grow, garner a following and multiply its streams across digital platforms. He is currently working on his second riddim project which will feature another slew of hot dancehall artistes.