First Rihanna and Shontelle gave the US a taste of the Caribbean and now Capitol Records is offering up a male counterpart. An established star in his native home with six nominations during the 2008 Barbados Music Awards and a win for Album of the Year, Jaicko is poised to dominate the charts in the states along with the hearts and eardrums of pop and R & B fans.
His debut "Can I" hit iTunes on June 1 bolstered by the popularity of his first single "Oh Yeah" a catchy, delightfully repetitive song which reached No. 2 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Singles chart. The remixed version, featuring label mate Snoop Dog, soared to the top of the Rhythmic top 40.
The album fuses pop with Caribbean style and offers a powerful introduction to this singer with a number of feel-good, radio-friendly songs perfectly suited to take over everyone's Songs of Summer playlist. A varied team of collaborators who've worked with the industry best including Beyonce, Rihanna, Lil Wayne, Ne-Yo, Mary J. Blige, Miley Cyrus, and the Backstreet Boys came on board but the end result is pure Jaicko.
"This album is everything," he says. "It's just Jaicko. It represents me and everything I am as a person."
At the age of nine, Jaicko began performing with his father Phillip Forrester's popular Barbados group 4-D People. By thirteen he was writing and performing his own songs and promoting them on the Internet through Myspace, Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.
"I think artists need to use the internet to reach out to fans," he says and it worked, eventually landing him where he is now, touring the US with such names as Sean Kingston, performing at a slew of festivals and being interviewed by major magazines and radio personalities.
Jaicko has been influenced by the artists he was raised listening to including Bob Marley, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and James Brown.
"I paid attention to a lot of different types of music, including alternative. Coming from the Caribbean I listened to a lot and was exposed to everything," says Jaicko.
His writing process varies. "I'm creative with lyrics and songs. I'm a producer as well, so it's easy for me to find different ways to come up with songs. Sometimes I'll just be sitting there and I just start playing and I'll start singing and come up with a great hook. You can hear where it goes and I can plan out for the verse and chorus and then write on top it. It's like there is a song already there and I'm just singing over it," he says, jokingly adding, "Even walking down the street, you'll see somebody with their pants down and you'll have a new song 'Pants Down Low."
Jaicko's most recent performance was this past Monday during and showcase of new R&B acts presented by Estelle. He has a tour coming up to promote the album and is looking forward to taking to the road. "It's great fun being on the road. I get a chance to meet a lot of people and meet a lot of fans. I've been campaigning. You could call me the Barack Obama of the music industry. I'm just trying to reach the people and really feel what they want."
And while he loves performing, his one complaint: "I hate backstage. There is always an enclosed area and I can't see what's going on on-stage and I can't see fans. I like to stand on the side of the stage so I can see before I go on and I pray. I pray a lot. We don't have a big team so I do all the praying mostly myself and then I go out there and do my own thing."
As to what Jaicko listens to pre-performance, it's sometimes his own music but more often "Michael Jackson or hip hop to get my really hyped." What else is on his iPod? "I'm a music consumer first. I have everything from Justin Bieber to Justin Timberlake and everything in between - Rihanna, Sean Kingston, Jason Derulo. They're my contemporaries but also my competitors. I like to keep up on what everyone else is doing."
When not creating music or keeping an eye on the competition, Jaicko enjoys what every teenager does: Playing video games, "lots of video games," hanging out with friends and family, and just surfing the Internet.
And like all teens, he has big dreams. In his case though, he's on the cusp of achieving them.
"Every moment has been a highlight for me, every single step. I'd like 30 years from now, people to be able to be listening to my records, and seeing what a good person I was. I plan to do a lot in the community. I want to leave a legacy. Longevity is the most important thing."