Monthly Artist Feature (December 2019) – Agana “Gana General” Bowen

Artist’s Name: Agana Bowen

Name of Brand: Gana General

Artist’s Age: 25

Artform: Dancehall Artist, songwriter

Why do you do what you do?

My mother was the first individual who initiated my love for music. When I was younger she would listen to various albums being an avid music lover herself. I can remember vividly one album in particular from The Black Eyed Peas entitled, “Monkey Business” which has left a lasting impression on me. She has a great singing voice and has performed at numerous funerals and special events. It would be an honour to make a song with my mother in the future.

When did you realize a passion for what you do?

Another individual who was instrumental in my passion for music was my stepfather, he had a short-lived music career. I used to listen to his catalog growing up. He was very influential to me as a youngster and was the first person to inspire me to write my own lyrics.

What is your educational background?

High school was the turning point for me when I realized my passion for music was solidified. My friends and I would beat the desks, make songs, and have fun whenever we had the chance. I graduated from Rusea’s High School in Lucea, Hanover. Attended Murray State College in Tishomingo, Oklahoma and graduated with an Associate in Science: Arts and Sciences. I am currently pursuing a Bachelors in Communications Emerging Media at The University of Texas at Dallas.

What are some of the challenges that you have faced while trying to pursue your passion?

Some of the challenges I face while pursuing my passion are trying to finish college while still dealing with real-life issues, going to work daily while questioning my current situation and contemplating if I have done enough to reach my goals.

Have you encountered people who have been skeptical about your dreams?

Most people have been receptive to my music and continue to show support on my musical journey. Honestly, I have been the most skeptical thus far because I am my biggest critic. At times, I fear that the audience might not like my style of music. I also wonder if I am putting in enough time and effort to make good music. When these thoughts come about I just listen to music and clear my mental.

How do you work? What is the method to your ‘madness’ and how do you filter your creativity?

In my creative process, I tend to listen to my playlists a lot because I am heavily influenced by my choice of music. I pick from all genres of music in my writing process.

What role do you believe “the artist” has in society? / How do you feel your art form has the power to benefit society?

The artist plays a very important role in society, due to the fact they influence millions of people around the world. I do believe my artform has the power to benefit society because Dancehall music is hugely popular worldwide and Jamaica has plenty to offer culturally.

Out of all your work, which piece resonates the most with you?

My body of work that resonates with me the most is my first album entitled “Nah Bruk Again” it was my first time delivering music professionally. Special thanks to “Junior0337 & Don Freshly” for making this happen.

Where do you see yourself going?

In the future, my goal is to become an household name in the music industry and bring Dancehall music to heights it has never seen before. Personally, I think the genre is extremely influential, undermined, and does not get the respect it deserves.

By what terms do you measure success or perfection? When do you feel like you can say that your work is finished and ready to be experienced by others?

When I release music and at least one person likes it, I know my job is done. In music, there is always room for improvement so getting perfection is nearly impossible. Finding the right sound is when I know it is ready for others to enjoy.

What elements of your career bring you the most stress?

The element of my career the brings me the most stress is the quality of work and presentation of my brand.

The word “Ubuntu” means “I am because we are”; how have you seen that reflected in your own life?

The word “Ubuntu” for me, means “We are different but still the same, never forget we are all connected”.

How has another artist or creative supported you in pursuit of your passion?

My musical peers have been very supportive of my passion. When in doubt, I can always turn to them. Especially, my brother “Junior0337” who is an audio engineer and producer. He gives me advice and constructive criticism.

What is some advice that you would give to anyone who is trying to walk the same path as you?

My advice to anyone who wants to do music is, “make sure you are willing to invest in your talent and stay true to yourself”.

“The word ‘Ubuntu’ for me means, ‘We are different but still the same, never forget we are all connected’.”

~ Agana “Gana General” Bowen