Star One Music Group provides space for Haitian artists
When Gregory St. Juste immigrated to Boston from Haiti, he found a strong local Haitian population, but few outlets for Haitian music. With that in mind, he founded Star One Music Group, a specialty international music company representing artists from the African American community. St. Juste says, “We have the Haitian audience here already. I wanted to bring more of that zouk sound to Boston.”
Star One features artists such as MJ, an up-and-coming female rapper, and its newest talent acquisition, artist King Frantz. “He’s a Haitian Usher,” says St. Juste of Frantz. “He’s got the style, and he has incredible talent.” Frantz brings some of the hip-swirling Caribbean smoothness to his tracks. “Take It All” features a saxophone, guitar, and electronic combination reminiscent of compas, an updated méringue style that originated in Haiti. The result is a danceable but relaxed song that would be at home in clubs, lounges and apartments alike.
Business as community
St. Juste believes that Star One should be a business that gives personal attention to each artist. As a performer himself, he knows how hard it can be to make a name and a brand without a support system. “I wanted to build Star One Music Group as a family, as a community business to support artists,” says St. Juste. In a city that doesn’t highlight African American artists as much as it could, Star One provides a haven for those looking to expand their musical careers. Meanwhile, St. Juste jokes, “Boston is home, but New York is only four hours away.”
Rapper MJ was drawn to the company for this kind of close-knit relationship. “Teamwork for me is major key,” she says. “The music community in Boston is dry, but with Star One I’m part of a family, I have support.” MJ participated in the Coast 2 Coast musical competition and placed third out of 43 Boston area artists. Though still early in her career, she possesses star power and marketability. MJ’s story of working toward big dreams with drive and passion speaks to a generation that weighs success via Instagram likes and YouTube views. Her beats are catchy and her lyrics vibrant and raw. “My music is unique and poetic. It helps people listen to themselves,” she says.
Slowly but surely, companies like Star One expand spaces for African American artists in the Boston area. St. Juste says he’s always looking for ways to collaborate with other creatives in the community. “We’re trying to work together and build together,” he says. “We’re not known as an entertainment city but we’ve got talent, and with hard work and collaboration, we can make it something.”