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Barbados-Bred Jaicko Unleashes Caribbean-Infused Teen Pop

The New Now

"I just stopped searching," Jaicko says, describing his quest to determine his musical style. "When you search you are looking for the door to be unlocked. But I realized the door was already unlocked."

The Barbados-bred singer, who turned 18 on August 6, speaks with the wisdom of someone three times his age.

Jaicko has been making music for half of his life. In the past 9 years, he has tried rap, and different styles of pop. He eventually settled on something that felt a bit more natural.

"I started listening to a lot of our local music," Jaicko says via phone as he sits in a conference room at his label home Capitol Records. "I call my style Caribbean infused pop."

Jaicko's description fits when applied to his US debut single "Oh Yeah," a feel-good anthem that he describes as the perfect beginning of the week pick me up.

He lucked up, landing a feature from Snoop Dogg on an alternate mix, "Oh Yeah Pt. II."That was a blessing," Jaicko explains. "When the A&R said, 'How about getting Snoop on the remix?' I said, 'Go ahead. He's a legend.'"

Another song, "Can I," also offers upbeat energy, and "About You" is a nice, breezy mid-tempo.

Jaicko says listeners will get an idea of his personality when hearing the album also titled "Can I." "This album is through the eyes of Jaicko," he says. "I sing about girls, my life experiences, and an array of different emotions and feelings."

Prior to signing with Capitol, Jaicko had already made a name for himself back home with his independent releases. The support he received from the Top 40 stations in Barbados helped him secure five nominations at last year's Barbados Music Awards. He was up against fellow Barbadian Rihanna in multiple categories.

Being considered alongside Rihanna was a big deal for Jaicko. Seeing Rihanna get a record deal with Island Def Jam encouraged him to continue pursuing his dream.

"I needed to see that," Jaicko says about watching Rihanna's major coup from afar. "I was at a point where I didn't think it was possible. That inspired me a lot. It gave me a lot more drive. I thank her for making a way for all of us. She set the pace and set it higher."

Jaicko is also grateful for the support of his family, especially his father, Phillip Forrester, who is a veteran nightclub musician in Barbados.

"Me and my dad are very cool," Jaicko says. "We write and produce together. Usually, he comes up with the melody, and I start playing on the keys. Sometimes he'll be at work and will call me and say, 'Put down these drums.'"

Phillip recognized Jaicko's talent when he heard the then 9-year-old son rapping a verse from Lil' Bow Wow's "Bow Wow (That's My Name?)" Phillip immediately got him in the studio to record a song, and got it played on local radio.

The two began writing songs together. By the age 11, Jaicko was taking his music pursuits seriously, now singing, recording, sending out demos, and taking meetings with record labels.

Jaicko's mature, diligent path to superstardom would seem to have prevented him from having a normal childhood. But he disagrees.

"The music industry is not a kid's game, you have to be mature in certain ways," Jaicko says. "But I grew up around a lot of cousins, and I still find a lot of time for Xbox [360] and other youth [activities]."

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