May 1, 2023 -Raheim “Raybetz ” Betty has always been passionate about singing and is admired by many for his sweet-sounding music and captivating performances. Yet, many did not know he used singing as a coping mechanism to overcome his childhood poverty, abuse, as well as suicidal thoughts. While he found solace in performing, he was honing a skill that is today being used internationally as a Rockband vocalist on a Carnival Cruise.
The 29-year-old Jamaican who hails from the parish of St Ann, gained popularity after being a contestant on Jamaica’s Digicel Rising Stars, a popular television show aimed at unearthing the country’s finest musical artistes.
Though he always aspired to work as an international artiste, Betty was more focused on completing his studies at the Northern Caribbean University in Jamaica, as he believed it would make him more marketable as a musician.
While concentrating on school, he simultaneously strengthened his musical talent by taking advantage of opportunities to showcase his talent including performing at weddings, concerts, and school functions, among other events.
However, after completing his studies in late 2022, he accepted a position as a high school teacher, still not fulfilling his ultimate dream of pursuing his musical passion.
Though he fell in love with teaching his students, he shared that he needed to do something more, something that would finally enable him to use his gift as a full-time job opportunity. To his surprise, his manager reached out to him proposing a one-of-a-kind offer overseas as a Rockband vocalist.
“I was teaching at the time and turned down the offer, but then I had a second thought and then I said yes! It was so quick but I had to move!” Betty said excitedly.
Earlier this year, Betty said farewell to his homeland and started a new chapter in Florida. He quickly began rehearsals and adapted to his new role and responsibilities as a full-time performer.
From facing the challenges of preparing lesson plans, and teaching concepts to students, the comical singer says his biggest challenge now is remembering the lyrics to all his songs.
“Singing is not new to me, and doing sets is not new to me. What is new to me is doing a huge theatre-like production onboard a cruise ship plus singing two to three sets a night in a band doing Rock n Roll, Country, the 80s, Pop, Motown,” he continued.
While he embarks on this new journey, being one of the few Jamaicans allows him to influence and inspire other Caribbean people to pursue similar opportunities on a global scale.
“It feels awesome knowing I’m one of very few Jamaicans singing on a Carnival Cruise Rockband show. I hope that I’ll inspire the Caribbean in some way to chase their dreams no matter what,” he said.
He further expressed his desire to not only influence other Caribbean natives, but he hopes to highlight his Jamaican culture in future performances around the world.
“Whenever questions are asked about my culture they are always addressed. There are guaranteed teachable moments on each trip, there is always a guest who is curious about the Jamaican culture as soon as they learn of my origins,” he added.
The jovial and optimistic vocalist says he envisions himself growing within the company hoping to become a Music Manager and ultimately an Entertainment Director or a Music Supervisor at the Carnival Studios.
He also dreams of having two to three albums under his name one day.
“I see myself in movies. I see myself with at least one storybook published and I also see myself producing at least one movie/sitcom. All this before 40 years old, it’s a stretch but I’m pressing toward the mark,” he said as he laughed.
I am dreaming big dreams and nothing is wrong with that,” he added.
The Rockband vocalist expressed that he is finally on the route to achieving his goal, touring the world and immersing himself in various cultures, but most importantly, he has made a better life for himself. This he says, has allowed him to support his family, which he considers to be one of his top priorities.