The Man of Many Talents

12 Jun

To some he is known as a leading music business executive, male model and or a male vocalist but who is Ronnie Morris?

Ronnie Morris live at garfield Sobers Gymnasium

Ronnie: I am a Barbadian who has lived this life with dreams which go far beyond our 166 square miles, but in every instance those dreams, if supported, would have considerable tangible benefits for Barbados. I’m extremely patriotic and Barbados- and the Caribbean as a region are my absolute passions.

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Ken: What would you attribute to your continued involvement as an entertainment pioneer in Barbados and by extension the Caribbean region?

Ronnie: I just love creativity and creative people. I always say that Guyana is my second home and I’ve performed in St. Vincent, St. Lucia, Trinidad, Grenada, Dominica and many other Caribbean islands, so I feel a connection to the region and its people. I know the Caribbean has a lot to offer with respect to the cultural industries, and if we get it right, hand in hand with tourism, this region will prosper in a way never seen before, and I have always wanted to play a key role in that development.

Ken: What are your thoughts on the absence or limited inclusion of performing arts in the schools curriculum across the region?

Ronnie: I think it is pathetic. A region which has produced Kevin Lyttle, Bob Marley, Rihanna, Machel Montano, Eddy Grant and many many others, should never, in 2016, not have a music curriculum filled with music theory and the singing of ancient Anglican hymns. It’s so irritating when I think of the time wasted. Children should be taught music business inclusive of licensing, copyright, distribution, negotiation skills and many other key aspects of the music business. With respect to the fashion industry- why are schools not teaching kids who are interested in that area- the intricacies of the fashion business- which is a global multi-billion-dollar industry? Makes no sense to me at all.

Ken: What do you consider as your “biggest break” or “greatest opportunity” so far in your career?

 

 

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The Barbados Music Awards was hosted for 11 consecutive years featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry

Ronnie: Being brave enough to launch the Barbados Music Awards. I think that was massive- I am Founder, and produced the event for eleven consecutive years.

 

Ken: As a model and as a model-scout, what tips would you give to aspiring models?

Shyness is a disease. After our forefathers braved the adversity of slavery and fought for our freedom- why are we as Caribbean people shy? As a black Caribbean citizen I feel strongly that our self esteem took a beating for centuries- but that has to stop- we need confidence to compete in the global market. Caribbean people are incredibly beautiful- and if we can feel a sense of acceptance, especially for black males, that being beautiful is not a bad thing, and that the beauty given to us by God himself should be used for financial gain and global cultural influence- then I think the World is our playground. I also think it is important to have strong representation, and to see being a model as a job and not as a hobby to get images to use on social media to attract potential lovers. Instagram can be used as your portfolio- so can Facebook. LinkedIn a a fantastic networking platform for business people- it’s time we use social media to make money and stop using it as a portal for the masturbation of our egos.

Kevin Hope one of Barbados’ Top Models and Ronnie’s personal assistant in a portfolio portrait

 

Ken: Over the years, you have met and even shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, who would you say have made an indelible impression on you and why?

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Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty – Barbados born and internationally acclaimed starlet was a recipient and in attendance of  BMA Award 2007

Ronnie: Rihanna! Definitely. I remember judging the Miss Combermere pageant when she won and said to myself- “if she was an American she’d be a superstar”- and thankfully she just broke down the gate and ran through it knocking all of the others in the industry aside. She performed twice at the Barbados Music Awards, and in every instance I loved working with her. When I bought her second album and saw my name in the thank you section I was really moved. To this day her mother, brothers and father still support my events and are often in attendance. She has never forgotten where she started, and her family is the same way and that’s what I really believe is the key to her success. I also remember fondly my interactions with Cissy Houston who performed at my event one year after Whitney Houston’s passing, and Joseph Jackson who attended the BMAs for a tribute I put together for Michael Jackson one year after his passing as well. Fantasia is one of the coolest people on Earth and I see her as a sister, and I personally really love her. Alison Hinds, Mistah Dale, TC and so many others I consider as friends- the list may be too long to complete, but I have to also mention Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child, Vivica Fox, Boris Kodjoe, Morris Chestnut, Derek Luke and the ladies of En Vogue and Allure as some of the most memorable personalities I have ever booked. Regina Belle- that’s my sister right there and Shirley Murdock- don’t get me started- she’s my prayer warrior and to this day we communicate via Facebook- I just adore her.

 

Ken: You have hosted several certified programs for persons within the entertainment industry. Why is ongoing studies and honing of skills so important to you?

Knowledge is power. I have asthma and I could just kick the bucket any minute- so I think it’s important to share whatever knowledge I have gained over the years and I want to conduct workshops in every Caribbean island if they’d have me.

 

Ken: As a trailblazer within your own right, how do you define SUCCESS?

Ronnie: I have come to learn that success has nothing to do with money. Success for me is seeing a model I trained doing well in Miss World, or landing a major campaign. Success for me is getting messages in my inbox from upcoming artistes like Neesha Woodz asking me for advice which I give free of cost and it truly makes me happy to do so. That- for me- is success- having something to share with others that hey value.

 

Ken: Do you have any other interests or talents you would like to share with us?

Ronnie: I am very interested in track and field. I would like to begin coaching athletes and getting them more involved in seeking endorsements as models. I also paint, and I have won many awards as a visual artist and actually have a Grade 1 CXC Visual Art certificate (with distinction) along with a Cambridge University A Level Certificate in fine arts with an A- so athletics and art are among my interests. I also love sales, marketing and have a secret passion for real estate and politics.

 

Ken: How do you overcome trying times or difficult situations?

Ronnie: I talk to God and my mother. People are not always understanding during trying times and can actually hinder you from having a clear mind with which you can conceptualize your comeback- so I remove myself from the World- isolate myself- and return with a vengeance- hungry for more success, and armed with the ideas I put on paper when i removed myself from society- sometimes I do that for months.

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Church and my mother have been two constants in my life. My mother never restricted me a child from doing anything that was uplifting and positive. I was an athlete, a painter, a singer and a model and she gave me the encouragement, while my love for God which was taught to me in church gives me the faith to continue even in these extremely turbulent and challenging times.

 

Ken: Are there any upcoming plans or releases that we should be on the look out for?

Ronnie: I am going to release an album very soon, and a book called “50 Years of Gold” which details Barbados’ post-independence music industry. I have also just completed filming for my second movie role for the film “BarrowFreedom Fighter”, which also stars former US Attorney General Eric Holder and Mary Wilson of the Supremes so I am super excited about that. I am also about to produce the finals of Barbados Top Model– and I really just want to travel the region conducting seminars thereafter- so I await your invitations.

 

 

Just for fun… fill in the blanks!

 

Without entertainment, I would be dead.

Music is life.

Modelling makes me feel confident.

I sing because I’m happy- I sing because I’m free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

Support performing arts because it’s the Caribbean’s best response to the current global economic meltdown.

 

 

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