Producer Shari Bedasse says it best.
“If the director wants a pink elephant in a blue tutu, I make it happen!”
The RD Studios Production Manager has maintained a low profile over the years, but her work in curating visuals and narratives in Jamaican music videos over the past six years is salient. Bedasse is behind the production of some of your favourite videos, including Govana’s trending H.A.M.A.N.T.S Convo and Ding Dong’s Watch Dem.
“If the director wants a pink elephant in a blue tutu, I make it happen.”— Shari Bedasse
Life in entertainment
Her life journey has seen pit stops at earning a marketing degree and teaching in Japan, but the 33-year-old always knew she’d end up in the entertainment industry.
“From third form (at Campion College) I could always visualise myself at major concerts or outings, being either front stage, side stage, backstage or just in the midst of,” Bedasse told BUZZ.
“I was always in the dance programmes, cheerleading… I was sports captain every year. That was just me, but I didn’t know what exactly in entertainment I would do.”
This affinity is innate, as she was raised in a musical household where “it wasn’t out of the norm to wake up and go to sleep with one bag a noise in my head. We were exposed to all different types of music, so that really played a great role in how I approach things and what my interests were.”
Bedasse was fresh out of college when she landed her first gig as a producer for HYPE TV’s ‘Up and Live’ programme in 2008 and soon worked her way up to the rank of station producer.
“That really exposed me to a lot of areas where production is concerned. I never really had any knowledge or theory behind it, but I knew I had to sink or swim,” she said.
After learning the ropes and making an impression on the industry’s movers and shakers, Bedasse felt it necessary to challenge herself once more. This time, going on a sojourn to Japan in 2012 to be an assistant language teacher.
“I had never left the island before, and it was that Japan trip that really thrust me to rest of the world,” she said. “I chose to go to northern Japan where it snows in feet and where they’ve never seen a black person before. It was like another life, a necessary one, and I had to learn how to communicate because I didn’t speak a lot of Japanese.”
Teaching at 18 schools from the kindergarten to the high school level, Bedasse also had to find innovative techniques to nail lesson plans and engage students.
With a widened perspective beyond the “Jamaican bubble”, Bedasse returned to Jamaica in 2014 and started working with video director Rogen ‘Ruption’ Walker.
“I knew Ruption from a very long time. I even worked with him before he was labelled ‘RD’, so I guess it was ordained,” she said. “He had his company and they started to make their name, and he was trying to push it in a structured manner. He let me know his vision and saw me as a very good fit as a stage producer which is how I got involved at RD Studios.”
More than 90 projects
She has spearheaded more than 90 projects at the company, including corporate campaigns for top-tier brands like Guinness (most recently ‘Dancehall Cyaa Stall’), Burger King, Pepsi and Diageo. Her clientele also boasts performers like Koffee, Jahmiel, Masicka, Tarrus Riley, Shenseea, Popcaan, Christopher Martin, Romain Virgo and Busy Signal.
While each project carries its own sentiment, Bedasse has two primary highlights.
“Working with Era Istrefi who is signed to Ultra Music, that was a large-scale project,” she said. “They decided to do two music videos in Jamaica (Oh God and Prisoner). That link came through Konshens. We had to meet with the label, sit down and go through concepts, and we only had a couple of days to do this. It was crazy, but it really challenged me cause it was a major project.”
Marketing her brand
The other is Christopher Martin’s 2017 Magic video, which marked the studio’s first shot at a short film.
“We touched on a touchy subject which was someone possibly taking their life. Tesfa Edwards (actor) was amazing, and it was something that resonated with a lot of people,” she said. “Christopher Martin is one of the most amazing people to work with, and I always look forward to his shoots because he’s professional, and we can push certain boundaries as he understands the bigger picture, so that was amazing to execute.”
Though she has grown accustomed to the comfort of staying behind the scenes, Bedasse is stepping outside the shadows to market her brand, and could easily see herself working with this year’s big Grammy winner, 18-year-old Billie Ellish.
“If I were to move to more directing instead of producing which may come… I think I would love working with Billie. I love her visuals. I think she actually directs them, and I have an appreciation for her work. Her stuff tends to be more abstract and more in line with what I have interests for. She is out of the norm, and it’s a different way to look at stuff, and I appreciate that.”.