The Director of A&R for VP Records, Joel Chin, 35, was fatally shot in the head in front of his Stony Hill, St Andrew home, a few miles north of Jamaica's capital Kingston, at 10:45 PM last night (August 16) as he alighted from his car. Neighbors heard explosions and called the Stony Hill police. Chin was taken to Kingston Public Hospital where he was officially pronounced dead.
Joel Chin is the son of reggae producer Clive Chin, best known for his work with Black Uhuru and the late melodica player Augustus Pablo, and the grandson of Vincent and Patricia Chin, who founded VP Records in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959.
There is currently no known motive for his murder although an investigation is pending; the assailants remain at large.
Born in Jamaica and raised in New York, Chin joined VP Records in the mid-1990s working at the company's Queens, NY office, alongside his uncles, VP CEO Christopher Chin and President Randy Chin. He is responsible for signing some of reggae's most successful acts to the label including Beenie Man, Wayne Wonder and Sean Paul who released his debut album "Stage One" on VP in 2000.
In 2002 VP, the world's largest independent reggae label with its own distribution network and publishing arm, entered into a strategic partnership deal with Atlantic Records. Sean Paul's multiplatinum "Dutty Rock" was the first album released through that arrangement.
Chin's A&R direction played a major role in the success of VP's annual reggae compilations "Strictly The Best" and "Reggae Gold"; released on June 8, Reggae Gold 2011 has spent six weeks on the reggae chart, peaking at number one.
Chin relocated to Kingston two years ago to facilitate his work with the many VP artists residing in Jamaica's capital. In addition to his A&R direction on acclaimed albums by contemporary roots reggae artists Tarrus Riley, Duane Stephenson and Etana, Chin was also involved with production and songwriting. His final project for VP was "We Remember Gregory", a various artists tribute to the late Gregory Isaacs released yesterday (August 16) for which he served as an executive producer alongside Chris Chin.
"Joel was committed to music, so intrigued by manipulating sound," says his co-director of A&R at VP, Neil "Diamond" Edwards. "To keep his life going, to keep his spirit alive ,we have to continue to put out good music because that was all he was interested in."
Joel is survived by his mother Juliette, his father Clive, his newborn daughter, two brothers, and three sisters.