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CrazyFruits » African/Caribbean/UK/GeneralDiscussions » Underneath it all: The Dutty Berry story

Underneath it all: The Dutty Berry story

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1bat Underneath it all: The Dutty Berry story on Mon 27 Jan 2014 - 10:24

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Krysta Anderson, Lifestyle Reporter
There is no doubt that Jamaican songbird Tessanne Chin's entry and subsequent win in NBC's 'The Voice' competition has had many benefits for Jamaica and Jamaicans alike. Arguably one of the biggest beneficiaries is Russhaine Berry, better known as Dutty Berry. As he puts it, his life began to unfold when Chin entered the competition.
Berry's 'yaadie' commentary during Tessanne Chin's tenure on the international singing competition became a staple for Jamaicans after the show aired each week, and overnight he became a vlogging sensation.
Berry gave Flair the exclusive, explaining he began vlogging about five years ago while a student at the University of the West Indies (UWI). "I went to a party and got a little tipsy. I ended up doing a video, and posted it on Facebook, declaring that I wanted to start my own show, that it was going to be called the Dutty Berry Show, and I was going to be big and famous." Surprisingly, his friends loved the video and encouraged him to pursue his dream.
His first vlog was a vox pop on the slim versus fluffy saga, a competition made popular by the hit song exploring that distinct tag line. He also did a parody of the song There Goes My Baby by Usher, and both received rave reviews.
His videos display his love of Jamaican culture, as he incorporates many aspects of Jamaican life. Ironically, he confessed that he actually had a very sheltered childhood, attending only one high school fête in fifth form at Excelsior High School, after other family members persuaded his mother to allow him to go. His parents separated when he was three years old, but both have maintained a strong presence in his life. He described his father as 'laid back' and his mother as the 'queen of rules'.
high-school name
The Dutty Berry name started while he was attending Excelsior, as he was one of the few kids in the class without a Jansport bag. "Because I was embarrassed, I left my bag at the back of the class and the janitor almost threw it out based on the state it was in. A female classmate decided that she would hurt me by calling me 'Dutty Berry'. Of course, the name stuck with me and when I started my show, I used that name."
Berry began pursuing the sciences at the University of the West Indies, but found that it was not his true calling. "My parents kept insisting that I become a doctor. However, as I grew older, I discovered my true passion for the arts. I entered UWI in pure and applied sciences but on my first lab day, I realised I was a misfit." He continued: "I tried to kick-start the experiment and knocked over every test tube that was on my desk. I took that as a sign. God was telling me to leave. I spoke to the dean and in a matter of weeks, I was in humanities." His bachelor of arts degree in language and communication brought him joy, but he struggled to find a steady job. "I was unemployed for quite some time, and was about to seek opportunity overseas when I was able to gain employment with Live Stush, because of the Dutty Berry show," he revealed.
Balancing his day job with the Dutty Berry shows was not an easy feat, as his audience would demand a video just minutes after the show was aired. He learned that sacrifices have to be made in order to pursue what you love, and that meant having little to no social life in order to produce videos as quickly as possible.
What was once a one-man show for Berry is now a team with technical support. Several celebrities made an appearance in his last episode of 'The Voice' commentary, including the lovely Voice winner, Tessanne Chin. Meeting her, he said, was an honour, "My 'glad bag' did not just burst, it did rip, tear, scratch, dig out and mash up."
He loves to connect with his growing supporters - 'berridos' - so, he looks forward to continuous vlogging on YouTube. He would love to get more corporate support as he tries to push brand Jamaica globally. His advice to aspiring vloggers: "Spend time to work on your creativity and find your truth. Your vlog should represent you. The thing that makes one person a sensation may not necessarily be the same thing that leads you to success. Also, don't forget to vlog responsibly."

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