One of the most popular and influential artists on the Dance Hall circuit was Peter Metro. Peter’s government name is Peter Clark, and his journey in life began in the Jamaican Capital of Kingston, where he was born, and grew up in the communities between downtown, Kingston and Western Kingston aka “Jungle.”
Peter described that the economic condition of his early life wasn’t bad, some may describe it as being above average. Because his Mother was a Seamstress, who was a prolific dress maker; and his Father was a Merchant, owning a fry shop.
Peter was inspired to embark on his Musical Journey by Big Youth, who used to come around the area where he lived. Peter’s Brother, Squiggly Ranking who also became a well-known artist on Gemini Sound was also an influence.
Peter used to listen to a sound system called “King Atani,” the sound’s resident D.J were Trevor Ranking and Daddy Roy. When Peter went to parties and had the opportunity to take the mike, he used to imitate Trevor Ranking.
From there, Peter branched out and started working on various sound systems. The first sound was a small one owned by a man named King Phillip. Peter wouldn’t described it as a sound; it was just that Phillip used to come home in the evenings after work and play records; and allowed Peter and others to do their chatting.
Later on, Peter got work with a sound called “Stats Sound System “his friend Nicky Ranking was the main DJ; and Peter whose stage name was Peter Ranking at that point in time was the apprentice DJ. Peter would take the mike first, to warm up the crowd before the main DJ performed. The sound paid Peter his first earnings, it was ten dollars a night for his work.
Nicky Ranking was also the person that took Peter to King Tubby’s recording studio, where he voiced his first record.
The transitioning period of Peter’s career happened when one of the people, that was associated with Stats sound, told Peter that he has a lot of talent, and that since Stats doesn’t play on a regular basis, he is going to take him to a sound that plays almost every night.
Peter was introduced to Jimmy Metro, the owner of Metro media. Jimmy Metro liked Peter’s DJ’ing and invited him to join the sound. Now that Peter was a resident DJ on Metro Media. He changed his stage name from that of Peter Ranking, to Peter Metro. Because there was another DJ who called himself Peter Ranking; and Peter did not want anyone to confuse him with the other Peter Ranking.
So now known as Peter Metro, he became part of the crew which included the selector, Snap Jack, and other DJ’s; Split, Errol Turner, Admiral Bailey, Tanto Metro (apprentice to Peter) and Tiger.
In as much as Tiger and Bailey became famous on other sounds, they started out on Metro media. They left to join the other sounds when Metro Media went on a tour to England, leaving Tiger and Bailey in Jamaica.
When Metro Media returned from England, Peter was responsible for bringing the famed selector Sky Juice to the sound, after the original selector, Snap Jack elected to stay in England. From that time on, many well know DJ’s have passed through Metro Media, but Peter was the lead DJ throughout the 1980’s.
In 1990, Peter shared the DJ of the decade award with Yellowman. Peter also won the award for being the best dance hall DJ and DJ of the year, and he was the first DJ to go on tour with Reggae Sun splash.
Peter was instrumental in bringing in Dominic, the first of the white DJ’s into dance hall. Dominic a former Journalist, met Peter in London when he interviewed him for his magazine employers. After the interview, Dominic showed off some of his DJing to Peter, and Peter liked the way he sounded, so Peter invited Dominic to come to Jamaica.
When Dominic arrived in Jamaica, he managed to hook up with Peter, and he got to partner up with Peter on Metro Media, becoming a paid residential DJ on the sound. Becoming a popular DJ in Jamaica, then he evolved becoming a recording artist.
Peter’s influence even touched the Marley family. Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, did a lecture at a college in Jamaica, where he was quoted as saying “my father’s music never inspired me, you know it was a DJ named Peter Metro, not just me alone, me and Steven Marley.”
Before there was El General or Reggaetón, Peter has been credited as the first DJ to chat lyrics in Spanish. When Peter learned how to speak Spanish when he lived and went to school in Cuba for a period of time.
For all what Peter has done; and the hits that he created; he has not been able to collect the royalties from the many hit recordings that he voiced. He only went into the studio and voiced but was not given any rights to publishing.
Peter voiced hits songs with some of the big producers of Jamaican music. He voiced for king Jammies, Winston Riley, U. Brown, Striker Lee, Donavan Jermaine, among others.
The problem with many Jamaican artists is that they were at a young age when they started to voice recordings, many which became hits at home and internationally. They either signed away their rights or was not given it. Because they were ignorant of the business side of the music industry.
Many of those Artists may not have even finished High School, and if they did, they never had the opportunity to further their education beyond High School. However, the Producers that hey voiced for has been in the business and are well aware of the publishing and copyright laws. Those same Producers, take full advantage of the Artist’s ignorance and cheat them out of their publishing and copyrights. Some producers even added their name to the credits as being the song writer, even though they had nothing to do with the creativity.
Peter fell victim to this practice. Even though he is humble and feel that the Producers provided him with the opportunity and give them a lot of respect. It is evident that those same producers, don’t respect him, and deprived him from collecting the royalties from his songs.
Peter even complained that he doesn’t understand, how other people were able to get their hands on material that he created, and those same people are able to profit from it. Peter even stated that another Artist, Super Cat, introduced him to a person named Gwen, who was supposed to be an agent that was going to collect the profit from his works in Europe and other places. She is based in the United States, in the City of Atlanta, Georgia. Documents were sent, and Peter signed them. However, he stated that he has not heard anything from her, and he can’t even locate her.
Based on how Peter expressed himself, it seems that he is too trusting, and he does not have any legal representation. True_George hopes that Peter has retained copies of the documents that he signed with Gwen, and have a Lawyer look at them and do whatever he needs to do to recoup some of his royalties.