There’s so much to be said about finding your own footing in this world. But when you’re a man like Sven Vogtland, who makes the vibrant culture of Jamaica his business, then you’re definitely a game-changer in the international entertainment market.
Vogtland is the proud owner of three sizzling hot food spots in Florida: Coyo Taco, 1-800 Lucky and Oasis Wynwood. All three are home to Dubwise Miami.
“I actually have 17 locations. It was a natural progression for me. Hospitality is what I pursued in [my] studies and as a career, and music has always been my passion. My businesses are a great marriage between both. Coyo Taco opened six years ago; Lucky, four years ago and Oasis, one month ago. Each venue has amazing world-class food offerings and live entertainment from the biggest musical acts in the world,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.
These Jamaican creatives and acts include artist, designer and culturalist Jason Panton, DJ Walshy Fire, as well as recording artistes Jesse Royal (who recently hosted his album launch at Oasis Wynwood), Protoje, Mykal Rose and Gyptian, among others. Here’s a fun fact: One of the first times Toast by Grammy-winning recording artiste Koffee was ever played in Miami? It was at one of Vogtland’s locations.
His love for culture is rooted in his family life. As the son of a Jamaican mother and German father, Vogtland always had an affinity for reggae and dancehall music. “I’ve loved music my whole life. It was part of my household growing up, and I’ve always been crazy for it. Jamaican music is part of my heritage and has always been played in my home and around my family,” he explained.
He followed the beat all the way to the turntables and enjoyed the time he spent being a disc jockey. The opportunity to play great music and rock a crowd or two filled with fans who were appreciative of his stellar efforts was all the motivation he needed to take things to the next level. When he became an entrepreneur, he made understanding the ins and outs of his business his main focus. This meant that he was no longer afforded the luxury of sourcing new and unreleased music. It didn’t mean, however, that he needed to walk away from music completely or that he couldn’t assist young talents seeking exposure and support.
He has assisted artistes in getting booked for shows in Panama and Puerto Rico and has also helped to facilitate Jamaican talent to perform at spots like SoHo House and other hotels and restaurants. “Working with Jamaican artistes is great. They all feel like family. As mentioned earlier, I try to do anything to help Jamaican culture get ahead, especially coming out of the rough year that we just had. I know many artistes are ready to work, and I’m happy that I can facilitate that.” He made mention of Protoje and Jesse Royal as two of his favourites, noting, “It’s always great when they are in town.”
For Panton, Vogtland and his partners have skilfully walked a careful line that very few have ever walked in Miami, “Curating culture while also keeping in mind brand value and the bottom line — sales”. “Sven’s magic,” said Panton, “is that he carefully balances and fuses great business practices with the people, brands, and events on the wave of youth culture. They are able to provide not only what segments of people want but also events and sounds that they need.”
Panton met Vogtland through Corey Chase, one of the resident DJs at Dubwise Miami, and the creative synergies only aligned and developed from there. Vogtland’s acumen has taught Panton a great deal in how he manages, grows and builds the Dubwise brand. “The direction of the brand has been heavily impacted by what I have learned by watching and consulting with Sven. He and his partner Alan Drummond have always made themselves available to me. As successful and busy as they are, they will take a phone call to ideate and discuss plans and executions.”
Walshy Fire agrees, declaring that Sven is the best thing to happen to Wynwood and Miami. “No one would be doing these kinds of events in the city. No one else is constantly keeping so many cultures alive musically on a weekly basis. There is no one else maintaining reggae via dubwise and dancehall via Rum and Bass weekly in Miami, not to mention the weekly R&B, live bands and house music weekly events. We need to celebrate Sven, a Jamaican-American doing food and entertainment for the people,” he said
As it relates to the current business landscape, Vogtland is saddened by the fact that so many companies, big and small, are crumbling under the pressures of the pandemic. He hopes that as the world continues to reopen its doors, businesses will be able to bounce back stronger than ever.
In his downtime, the former DJ enjoys listening to a wide variety of music. He shared a few: Beddie Biey by Steve Arrington, Sudden Flight by Protoje, Shine Eye Gal by Black Uhuru, Modern Day Judas by Jesse Royal, and Cherish the Day by Sade.