Veteran reggae crooner George Nooks, Gramps Morgan, Thriller U and Tony Anthony are among the international acts that will will headline the fifth annual Reggae Music Achievement Awards (RMAA) that will honor the top talents in the industry at Toronto’s Jamaican Canadian Centre on June 4, 2011.
Nooks found early success in his career as DJ Prince Mohamed, on Dennis Brown’s 1978 hit “Money in my Pocket”, and “How Could I Leave.” He scored again with the popular “Forty Legs Dread” and a cover version of Little Roy’s “Tribal War” which reeked havoc on the charts in Jamaica. Nooks subsequently concentrated on his singing career, releasing the album titled ‘Today’ in 1981. He garnered further notoriety as a singer in the early 90’s with the release of “I Don’t Care/Bad Minded People” and enjoyed success with singles ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, ‘How Great Thou Art’ and ‘God Is Standing By’ that ruled the reggae charts globally and solidified his place as one of reggae’s most celebrated singers.
Gramps Morgan, a founding member of Morgan Heritage, released his debut solo project “2 Sides of My Heart Volume 1” in 2009 on his label Dada Son Entertainment. This album featured several chart-topping singles, including “Wash the Tears,” which he wrote, composed and produced. The album won him several prestigious awards and nominations including “Album of the Year” at the 2010 Excellence in Music Awards and a nomination for “Best Reggae Artist” at the 2010 Centric Soul Train Awards. Gramps is also a Grammy-winning producer, for his work on Buju Banton’s album ‘Before the Dawn.’ Gramps is currently in the studio working on his sophomore album “Reggae Lives,” which will feature the recently released single “The Almighty,” which is riding high on many reggae charts globally.
Singer Thriller U of the group, L.U.S.T, shot to stardom in the late 90’s with their debut single ‘Sweetness of Your Love’ which topped local and international reggae charts. They followed up with an impressive rendition of Air Supply’s 1985 hit ‘Just As I Am’ that was another scorcher. Thriller has also enjoyed success as a solo singer, dating back to his 1986 hit single ‘Waiting for You,’ which remained at the no.1 position for eight consecutive weeks. He followed up with ‘Young and She Green’ (featuring Johnny P) and ‘I’ll Prove it to You’ which also made it to the top of the charts.
Singer Tony Anthony garnered international attention with singles “Mark and the Beast” and “Yuh Nuh Simple.” His follow up single “Yuh Nuh Simple” was another hit and was featured on the U.N.I.C.E.F Canada website, www.unicef.ca. At the 2008 Canadian Reggae Music Awards, Anthony won the award for “Comback Artist of the Year.” His 2010 album “Million Chance” was well received by the industry and featured the single ‘Torn” that has topped the charts in Canada, Jamaica, and The U.S Virgin Island. Other performers at the RMAA includes Exco Levi (a winner at last year’s awards), Jill Donaldson, Amoy, Nicole Green and Jimmy Reid.
The RMAA awards cover 20 categories including ‘Top Reggae Performers’ (male and female), ‘Best Concert Promoter” and “Best Dub Poet.” Last year’s big winners were Calgary’s Souljah Fire for ‘Best Reggae Band,’ Mandy Woods for “Best Reggae Single” and soulful reggae crooner Steele for “Best Album.” This year, Gramps Morgan will be presented with the “International Album of the Year 2010” award, which he won last year but was unable to attend the event. The RMAA is the only reggae awards ceremony currently in Canada.