Spencer Merren: The man behind the scene

About George 

Everyone in the local music scene, be it a professional, amateur or just an idol wanna-be knows the name Spencer Merren.

In years gone by Spencer has played the guitar with several bands; however he is best known as the entertainment impresario of the Cayman Islands and manager/recording producer of CMX5 (Cayman Musical Experience) which consisted of band members Joel Walton, Errol ‘Skankie’ Grant, Worrell Paddyfoote, Ray Myles and Richard Terry.

The band’s recordings were always a hot number on the turntable even before local music won its battle for fair radio play. How can anyone forget the CMX5 reggae rendition of Chain Gang?

Managing various aspects of the Cayman music scene eventually led Spencer to the presidential seat of the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association in 1994. He remained in command until 2002, however still holding a chair with the association board for some 20 years as vice president and treasurer.

His best known accomplishments are the advancement of the association’s constitution to include all entertainers, local and foreign, and the building of the relationship and obtaining the support of government ministries and boards such as immigration, which has been a tremendous help in advancing the association.

With triumph there are some disappointments, as in the lack of importance and respect shown to live music as a tourism product. It’s an endless battle fighting for fair radio play, equal stage time at mega events and immigration issues with visiting performers.

However, Spencer is always on the front lines determining decisions related to our music scene.

Muzaic the Cayman Music and Arts Festival which is in its fifth year was the brainchild of Spencer. Initially Muzaic got off to a slow start , however with time and a musician’s fine tuning, it has now become an annual event that lovers of good, home-grown music look forward to. WH

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Stephen Clarke