Rootz Underground Tours With Gregory Isaacs
Rootz Underground’s recent performance at New York’s BB King along with Gregory Isaacs is proof that the popularity of “roots music,” is still very vibrant in the Jamaican Music Industry as set by veterans Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Burning Spears.
After a sample listen of their debut album Movements released on the Riverstone Records/Mystic Urchin Muzik labels it becomes evident that this band has tremendous potential.
Rootz Underground’s unique brand of “Rasta” music began in 2000 when the band members who are all highly inspired by the most high without formal training from prominent music schools, lives crossed paths.
During the first four years, the band worked on materials in terms of song writing and developing arrangements and rehearsing. Their first big was a slot on the “local artist” stage at Air Jamaica’s Jazz and Blues festival.
“The first year we played it was great, because we were like the dark horse and no-one knew about us,” said Stevie. “The stage was chucked away over by the food court [and] it just so happened that there was a problem on the big stage and everyone decided to come and eat right at the time that we were about to play.”
The band’s popularity had grown so much that when Air J event sponsor David Smith invited them to play at his VIP tent last year, their fans made a point of not being denied.
The Underground’s first stop after that was South Beach, Florida. From there, they played in Havana, Bahamas, Nassau, Antigua, St. Lucia, Cayman Islands and the United States. Their recent U.S. tour brought them to Chicago, Cincinatti, Columbus and Ann Arbor Michigan, DC and the South by Southwest concert held in Austin, Texas.
“We are in NY tonight for the first time which is a great joy,” Son, Son commented. “We deh pon di road heavy. We gettin’ fi know each other,” Stevie added (laughing).
In terms of audience response “the crowd has been relating nicely and of course because we are touring with cool ruler (Gregory Isaacs) a lot of fans who might not have necessarily known about us have actually had the opportunity to come see us cause they come to see Gregory and so far we’ve sold a lot of CDs made a lot of friends and a lot of fans.
They say that they try to be as open hearted as possible before they get on stage because the real connection is not just the sound they make it’s the spiritual connection with the fans which they say they feed off. “It gives us energy for the road tomorrow as well as it gives the people and the fans that power to take it out to the road and into their office and whatever them do tomorrow too,” S.C.U.B.I.E. said.
Movements, the 19 track debut album of original songs by Rootz Underground, was released on March 4th. Distributed by Ryko, Movements is available for download from services including Rhapsody or the disc can be purchased at major retailers including Borders, Best Buy and FYE. Must hear tracks include Victims of a System, Time is an Illusion and Hammer produced by Rory of Stone Love Movements.
Source: Where Itz At Magazine
Fourteen Year Old Launches Nationwide Educulture Tour
At age fourteen Choc’late Allen has dedicated her life to encouraging Caribbean’s youths to take personal responsibility for their actions by engaging in positive and meaningful activities. She has identified the great influence that music has in shaping the thinking and behaviour of any society and has decided to use this medium as an avenue to expose and spread her message of world peace in order to bring about transformation.
She views the Caribbean as unique and aims to unify the youths’ of the region to create a vision for their future. From the tender age of nine, Choc’late began touring with Caribbean Vizion a regional organization that lobbies for cultural and economic cooperation between CARICOM states and their Governments. The organization promotes Educulture, a creative union between education and the arts. It also conducts research and collect data on regional cultural organizations and individuals.
The youngster has been in Jamaica for the past three months and has done tremendous work throughout the country in promoting peace and getting young people involved in getting their peers on the path of peace through responsible behaviour. Her activities to date include participation at the Africa Unite Youth Symposium, a vibes up performance at the Africa Unite Concert and a facilitator at the Peace Panel Discussion at the Pegasus. She has visited a number of youth groups including the Police Youth Club, Unity Jamaica Youth Service, UNIA Juvenile Centre and various schools in and around the Corporate Area.
She was an active participant in the Sister to Sister Female Celebrity Mediathon and gave a strong performance to the thousands who made their way to Western Consciousness on Saturday April 26. Choc’late did her first recording at the age of five, a remake of Past De Dutchie’ performed by Musical Youth. This song went to number one on the Heat Music Charts and a Radio Station Chart in Ottawa, Canada. She has performed in Trinidad and Tobago, throughout the Caribbean with the Windiez Music Band and with her very own group Hott Bakez and Choc’late.
Currently Choc’late is in the recording studio as part of Flames Production family set to release a single. She is also collaborating with Queen Ifrica on a soon to be released single. She manages to be efficient in all her tasks as youth peace advocate while being home-schooled to stay on par with her peers academically.
Source: Headline Entertainment
First Ottawa Reggae Festival Confirms Reggae Greats
Ottawa Reggae Festival (ORF) has been born and will groove Canada’s capital city, Ottawa with the sweet sounds of Reggae music on Saturday August 23 at the Le Breton Flats Park. This classic landscape is the perfect outdoor arena to show off a music and culture that has touched the world, especially Canada.
Benji Williams, President of the Festival, and the entire Ottawa Reggae Festival team have worked tirelessly with the City of Ottawa and signature sponsors to ensure this premiere event is seemless.
Confirmed artists for the first ORF, is award winning Reggae artist Snow, Maxi Priest, Collie Buddz, Trilla U, Friendlyness & The Human Rights Band, Ras Lee, Juno Award winner Korexion, Empress Minott, King Ali Baba, J. Stone, Stacia, Eyesus and more.
The headlining artiste for this inaugural event is none other than the legendary Half Pint who promises to rock Ottawa with Greetings from Jah. Ottawa Reggae Festival will be announcing additional artistes, in the next few weeks.
The Ottawa Reggae Festival Incorporated is a non-profit network that was launched in February 2007, to raise funds and awareness for the Sickle Cell disease and to highlight its effects on our community. What started as a fundraising initiative has grown to become a flagship event that will unite Reggae fans across Canada and the United States, bringing them to Canada’s capitol city – Ottawa. Reggae is the only genre of music known to bring people from all walks of life together.
Fashion Blocked Montego Bay
Western Jamaica got a premier serving of the trendiest and hippest fashion affair, Fashion Block Montego Bay, on Saturday May 3, cost free. Over 10,000 massive came out to view this phenomenal occasion, courtesy of international fashion expertise of the Saint International team.
“The Menswear fashions were a big hit with the audience, as well as the Dexter Pottinger’s Digicel couture pieces,” said a satisfied Deiwght Peters, CEO of Saint International. “It was also much bigger than the previous ones, with over 12,000 high energy persons witnessing the iconic event”.
Fashion Block is normally accommodated over the Easter weekend but this year’s event was not at all affected by this change. “I think the timing this year made this year even better than the previous Fashion Blocks we’ve had in Montego Bay. And the support received from their business sector, especially those on Gloucester Avenue, truly propelled the success of this year’s event,” commented Peters.
Always equipped with his eye for talent, Peters also grasped the opportunity to recruit two new young ladies (Melanie Ribbe and Ann Marie Lumsden), and were offered Saint Contracts right then and there. Peters hopes to groom into the success stories of top international model Canise Campbell, who won the very first Faces of Summer competition and was discovered in Montego Bay.
Next year, Fashion Block Montego Bay will be an even grander spectacle and is anticipating getting even more support from the business sector of Montego Bay. With the rational and objective of introducing Western Jamaica to local designers, Fashion Block Montego Bay is indeed becoming a worldwide calendar event, and this year, it also marked the countdown of Saint International’s flagship event, Style week, which is scheduled to take place on Thursday, May 22 Sunday, May 25.
Source: NIA Concepts
The Return Of Extatic Fridays
XS Promotions and Absolute Entertainment, creators of the RTI Negril Weekend, have collaborated to present the wildest and best Extatic Friday series ever. The series of events will be held at the original ‘party capital’ the Pantry in New Kingston, starting this Friday May 16 and will continue for five weeks until Friday, June 13. Each week will feature a new theme, exciting vibes and the best DJ’s in Jamaica to join the resident sound system, Coppershot Disco.
This Friday the series will kick off with INCHZ The Sexy Shorts & Skirts Party, where ladies dressed in shorts or skirts enter free before 11:00 pm. Music will be by ZJ Liquid, Coppershot and Kaotic. All college students with IDs will enter free before 11:00 pm. Admission is set at $600 with an all access VIP Cards available for $3,000.
Source: Absolute Entertainment
Montego Bay Reaches For the Stars at Club Inferno
From teachers to security guards, from hotel entertainment coordinators to construction workers Club Inferno was filled on Saturday May 10 with hundreds seeking to jump start their dream of stardom in the Digicel Rising Stars competition. This was the third stop on the show’s six-location scouting mission.
The oddly overcast and windy Montego Bay day seemed to be a pull for the city’s most talented characters and colourful personalities. That variety was a trend in the performances with some described as over done, and others absolutely entertaining.
In summing up the audition executive producer, Tahnida Nunes said: “It was an exciting day. The quality of the talent is impressive and entertainment value of the participants is definitely what we want to see at this time.”
However, as seen in Mandeville the weekend before, poor song selection plagued the performances while true Jamaican resilience kept many vowing to return and try again. Stephanie Johnson, a hotel sales representative, who made a more than two-hour journey to the venue, was overheard encouraging a friend to “try again” – this after her own attempt was thwarted by her nervousness.
Like many others, Stephanie’s choice on the day was an Etana hit; Warrior Love. Others selected songs from the catalogue of music greats; Sam Cooke, Whitney Houston, Celine Dion. Next Saturday, May 17 the show goes to the sunshine city of Portmore in St. Catherine.
Digicel Rising Stars is open to anyone over the age of 16, who is not currently signed to a management or recording contract and is a citizen of Jamaica or has a visa entitling them to enter and work in Jamaica. At the auditions, participants may either perform individually or in groups of up to six. Participants who are unsuccessful at one audition location have the option of auditioning at another location, since there are six audition dates this year.
This year’s winner will receive $1 million, the opportunity to release two singles and a music video. The first runner up will receive $600,000 and a single, while the second runner up is set to receive $400,000 and a single.
After Portmore, Digicel Rising Stars will move to the Hibiscus Lodge Hotel in Ocho Rios on Saturday May 24; and will end in Kingston at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) on Saturday May 31.
Source: CGR Communications
Discounted Flashpoint Tickets Available online
Flashpoint Film Festival goers can secure their tickets online by taking advantage of the discounted early bird special available at IslandStubs.com. Early bird season band tickets for $5000 will be on sale until Saturday May 24, after which tickets return to their regular price.
Flashpoint is the Caribbean’s premier film festival. This year it will occupy its new Kingston home at Fort Charles and the Historic Naval Hospital, Port Royal on Thursday June 5 to Sunday June 8. The complete Flashpoint ticket price list is available at the festival website www.flashpointfestival.com.
With the cut-off date just around the corner, Flashpoint is calling for final film submissions for showing at this year’s festival. All films should be received by Wednesday May 21.
Films will be selected on various criteria. They should have at least one dominant Caribbean element (cast, writer, director, location or subject matter (should resonate with the Caribbean experience). They may be any length but 108515-1should not have been publicly screened in Jamaica, prior to the staging of the Festival.
Film submissions should be made via the website or on DVD or data files (Quicktime or avi) and sent to PO BOX 2301 Constant Spring Post Office Attention: The Festival Coordinator).
“Flashpoint is the forum for the emerging local and Caribbean film and TV production industry. The call for submissions invites new and experienced and aspiring film makers to an event where they can meet their peers and learn how to take their projects to the next level,” said Paul Bucknor, festival founder and director.
“It is a place where local film and TV professionals have the opportunity to meet international film industry professionals, and be kept up to date on developments in the global film industry,” said Bucknor.
The 2008 Flashpoint Film Festival will occupy its new home at Fort Charles and Historic Royal Naval Hospital in the celebrated town Port Royal on Thursday June 5 to Sunday June 8.
Caribbean Urban Music Awards A Success
After a brief change of venue from James Bond Beach, Ocho Rios to Sugarman Beach in Kingston due to flooding in Ocho Rios, the CUMA 2008 finally kicked off on the Saturday, April 26. Opening the show was the host Spragga Benz who not only won Best Male Artist but also stole the show as regards the best host and performer of the night. Spragga Benz showed his versatility by hosting, dj-ing, collaborating, toasting, you guess it, and he did it while keeping the audience in a vibrant mood.
Best Newcomer which went to Erupt. Erupt performed for 15 mins straight and when he ended his performance with ‘Click my Finger’, the audience was left screaming out for more. Then, came the award for Best Female artist handed to Cherine Anderson who has just recently collaborated with pop sensation Britney Spears. Cherine tore the stage as usual and linked up with CUMA host Spragga Benz for a collaborative performance which will go down in the CUMA’s books as one of the best performances.
Spragga announced the winner of the Outstanding Achievement Award for 2008 and Best International Artist with the award going to the Doctor, Beenie Man. Beenie Man got on stage and said “The UMA’s is a well respected awards ceremony in the US, UK and other countries worldwide and he feels proud to be honored and happy the UMA’s has decided to launch in Jamaica and in the Caribbean as a whole”.
Beenie Man then went on to perform with 20 lingerie models for 15 minutes straight.
The award for Best Group was announced. This was an intense contest between Brick & Lace, Voicemail, Morgan Heritage and TOK. The winner of the award went to T.O.K who said “The Caribbean Urban Music Awards is the only transparent award ceremony of its kind with all categories being voted for by you the fans and the audience which gives it that credibility that everyone that wins definitely deserves it. So thank you to CUMA’s”.
Source: Daily Chat-Observer
Film Festival Moves From The Caves To The Port
The Caribbean’s premier film festival has moved into the metropolitan City of Kingston from the scenic auspice of the Caves resort, Negril. Thursday, June 5 Sunday, June 8 will see the historical and picturesque setting of Port Royal hosting the 2008 Flashpoint Film Festival, which is guaranteed to be one for the history books.
Now in its third year, the Flashpoint Film Festival is enthusiastic about the new venues at Fort Charles and the Old Naval Hospital, Port Royal . “Although the Caves Resort in Negril is a wonderful location and the festival has been a great success there, in order for Flashpoint to grow we have decided to bring it closer to Kingston, the hub of the emerging film industry, and make it more accessible to the Jamaican people,” said Paul Bucknor, principal of Firefly Films, organizers of the festival.
In addition to a new venue, the festival will premiere four new Jamaican feature length films, a first in Jamaica ‘s history. Two of the films star award winning American actor, Roger Guenveur Smith, who starred alongside Denzel Washington in the screen bio-pic American Gangster. He plays a Jamaican Prime Minister in Better Mus’ Come an explosive period film based on true events, set against the backdrop of the political turmoil of late 1970s Jamaica.
Already a film competition was launched that will see the winner directing their very own short film, guided by producers Firefly Films, to also premiere at the Festival. The competition began on Tuesday, April 1 runs until Thursday, May 1.
Film submissions are also being accepted. Visit the website, www.flashpointfestival.com for details on submissions as well as to see some trailers of the Festival’s feature films.
Source: Q-Tech Communications
Brick & Lace take Barbados by Storm
No Artiste has fused R&B, Dancehall and Hip Hop like sisters Nyanda and Nailah Thorbourne, the new musical sensation Brick and Lace.
There recent performance in Barbados got rave reviews to which the dynamic duo said “We love the vibe from the audience,” adding “Sure we’ll be back.” When asked if they would like to work with anyone from Barbados, the girls said, “We love Rupee and Alison Hinds and we would love the chance to work with them.” And while they admitted they haven’t done much calypso they said they had done a calypso remix of Love Is Wicked
Brick and Lace has also been making waves in their home country Jamaica long before singing with Akon’s new record label Kon Live Music. They will be touring the United States, Europe and Africa for the remainder of this year.
Apart from their lovely voices, Brick & Lace are also competent song writers. The sisters have penned hits for the likes of Janet Jackson, Paris Hilton and The Pussy Cat Doll’s Nicole Scherzinger. They have also sang back up for the likes of Roberta Flack, Lauren Hill and family friend Marcia Griffiths
Source: Groove Barbados by Kishmar Shepard
Morgan Heritage on a Mission In Progress
Sibling super group Morgan Heritage’s latest album is a conscious effort that seamlessly merges pop and rock sensibilities with the militancy of reggae.
Aptly titled Mission In Progress, the 14-track release features masterful musical and poetic compositions. It’s an in-the-streets anthology that gives credence to the group’s New Yorker and Jamaican upbringings with mild references to their Rastafari faith.
Morgan Heritage members Una, Gramps, Peter, Mr Mojo and Lukes have yet again shown that musical talent is definitely their heritage. Funky guitar stylings and bravado triumphantly declare the opening of Mission, and it’s hard not to love the rootsy Cross Wi Border. Gramps laces the track with velvety, Tosh-esque vocals, complementing perfectly his lead singer-brother Peter’s more R&B flavoured sound.
The triumph continues on Raid Rootz Dance, with the unapologetic declaration: “They don’t love the rootz like I and I”. It’s a full-bodied sound, complete with heavy electronic guitar backing and is somewhat reminiscent of something perhaps from a 1970s ‘blacksploitation’ movie soundtrack.
“Steel Pulse done set it; now Heritage a rep’ it,” forms a catchy refrain as lead singers Gramps and Peter acknowledge those that have graced the stage before them, and their willingness to take up the gauntlet to be a global representation of the local sound, albeit an hybrid version.
Mr Mojo, a group member who rarely takes the spotlight, however, does on this track and ‘blazes’ with a clever rap solo, which seems to find harmony between the urban swagger of a modern day performer like Wyclef Jean and the ‘cool-as-hell’ activism of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
The trade-offs between morality and compassion is further highlighted on Yute Dem Share, a basic track that opines slavery of the 21st century. The Fight is a ‘straight-outta-Brooklyn’-type vibe and once again, Mr Mojo offers superb rap solos that would make the late Notorious B.I.G proud.
Mission In Progress, the title track is a Wailer-tinged rocksteady number that calls for activism. It’s another song which perfectly suits Gramps’ vocal tones. Nothing To Smile About is already getting heavy rotation on local radio stations and highlights the reality of many living in Jamaica.The mood changes on the flirty Love You Right and Faithful. The latter features Morgan Heritage’s little brother Laza of LMS. So too is Be Sure, a breezy mid-tempo single that will no doubt get you rocking.
Along with MH, Mission lists Chris and Randy Chin as its executive producers and is, for the most part, an eclectic collection that should inform listeners of their evolution as a band and their appreciation of all music.
Source: Jamaica Observer
Etana to Release The Strong One This June On VP Records
Etana, the captivating Jamaican singer/songwriter, will unleash her highly anticipated debut album, The Strong One, on June 17, 2008 on VP Records. Arguably the most prolific female vocalist in reggae today, Etana has struck a cord with the masses and is winning the hearts of the people one song at a time. She made her debut with the hit Wrong Address in 2006, Roots in 2007 and Warrior Love in 2008. She has received numerous awards in her native country, rocked major stage shows and will now unveil her first studio album boasting production by reggae legends Dean Frasier, Carl James and Robert Livingston.
The Strong One contains brand new material as well as her current singles that have already impacted Jamaican radio and other international reggae charts – including her sultry new love song, Warrior Love, which is currently number one on the Jamaica, England, U.S. and Virgin Islands reggae charts. Roots, the socio-political tune that remained at the top of Jamaican charts for over twenty-two (22) weeks, as well as her breakthrough anthem Wrong Address, “a heartbreaking acoustic reggae lament about a woman who gets rejected for a job because she comes from the wrong hood,” stated from Spin Magazine. With spirit and song, Etana celebrates life and love, mends the disheartened and spreads wisdom throughout this cohesive musical testament.
Born in Jamaica and raised in Miami, the talented artiste landed her first major gig as a back-up singer for roots sensation Richie Spice. Since then, she has scored three solo number one hits, toured the globe from the United States to Europe to Africa and was recently awarded Best Female Vocalist at both the Excellence in Music & Entertainment (EME) Awards and IRIE FM Radio Awards as well as the Best Solo Female Reggae Vocalist at the first annual Reggae Academy Awards. According to Vibe Magazine, “at 23, she has already established herself as a formidable performer and songwriter whose music and reputation precedes her”to whichEtana replied “It is straight from the heart, straight from the soul, straight from the people and everyday life.
Source: VP Records
VC To Return to Charts
Eight years ago, VC had one of the most popular tunes playing in the dancehall as well as on the airwaves titled By His Deeds (A Man Be Known). The hit provided a stinging social commentary in which the singer/composer offered a damning critique of the sometimes double-standards, hypocrisy and contradictions he observed in all sectors of society.
Considered as a one hit wonder because of his eight year musical silence he commented “I would say that it is better to be a one-hit wonder than ‘no hit nutten’, And to know where my mindset was when I started, it was never to create a hit, it was just to express myself. The fact that I’ve been blessed with such appreciation and acceptance from the public for that first song is great.
The idea for his signature tune By His Deeds came about one day when as a delivery man for J Wray and Nephew he experienced one of those frustrating days. “I was delivering rum in this little van, sweat a bust mi shut, mi a get very frustrated and mi a carry out some liquor.and mi sey to mi self, yu deh deh a tell people sey yu is a producer and dem ting deh, is your deeds you shall be known for yu nuh yute. So when mi done deliver the liquor I went back into the van and heard this preacher on the radio and in that moment between driving from there to my next delivery, I wrote the first verse and the chorus.”
Nowadays, Valton Craig is busy making a living, raising his family and recording. He has been doing a lot of work with various producers, “which is something that I hadn’t gotten the chance to do before, especially with European producers.”
He shared that there has been a lot of interest from people in places as far away as Poland, Germany, Italy, France and there are also some very strong producers that he’s been getting a chance to work with.
“On the local scene, I’ve also been working with people like Big Tings Music, Stephen Greig. I’ve also been doing some work with Renaissance, as a matter of fact, I did a nice new tune It’s Time on Renaissance’s new legal rhythm.”
For more information contact Big Tings Music at their Myspace page here.
Source: Big Tings Music
Sophia Brown: A Female Force to be reckoned with!!
Sophia Brown is not only sexy and talented but her female prowess and sex appeal shows that she is a force to be reckoned with in the entertainment industry. With her hits such as Jig Me, Love you pure and her recent hit, I’m a rose Sophia shows that she is on the verge of success. She took the time to talk to us and this is what she shared:
Headline Entertainment (HE): When did you first start singing and what was your inspiration?
Sophia Brown (SB): I first started at an early age with the Jamaica Tourist Board, on the train from Montego Bay to the Appleton Estate. I also sang with community youth clubs in and around St. Elizabeth. Professionally I started in 1993 with a company called Outta National records. My first song entitled Jig Me was distributed locally. My inspiration at an early age was fun. In 1993, I realized that I could actually make a career out of it based off of the feedback from Jig Me.
HE: What’s your most memorable moment in the entertainment industry?
SB: In the year 2000 when I was invited to North Virginia and I was put on a huge show with personalities like Ja Rule, Jay- Z and Lil’ Kim, for an audience of over 75,000 people. I was nerve wracked! Big things were being done although it wasn’t in Jamaica. Also Universal records wanted to sign me in 2003 but that didn’t work out.
HE: What’s the next step for Sophia Brown?
SB: The launch of I’m a rose music video. The video is smashing and it’s definitely for the ladies. I want people to see what the video represents. All in all, I’m just glad that I’m being recognized here in my home country, Jamaica. That’s a big thing for me!
HE: What are some of the challenges you faced during your musical career? How did you overcome them?
SB: In the beginning I wasn’t being taken seriously because of the fact that I was attractive. Producers wanted me for other reasons and I was in it for that. I wanted to prove myself. I overcame this obstacle by forming my own company, Music Mecka Records. I now produce my own music.
HE: Are you currently working on an album? If yes, how has it been?
SB: Yes, I am working on one with a company called Vizion Sound out of South America. So far I’ve gone 8 or 9 tracks. One of the songs on the album is Thinking of You with a South American artiste which is doing really well in terms of sales. Love is Pure is released on I-tunes and Rhapsody has given me 3 month’s advertising and that’s why I think it’s such a hit.
HE: What artiste or artistes have influenced you soulful lifestyle?
SB: Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, John Holt, Patti La Belle, Jimmy Hendricks and people who make good music and melodies.
HE: If music hadn’t worked out for you, what other career path would you have chosen?
SB: A forensic scientist, but the music has sucked me in deeply. I can’t turn back! I have no regrets though, I love it. I love it because it’s a way to show the youth how to develop their minds and I want to help in cleaning up the lyrics and uniting the people.
HE: How would you describe your music?
SB: Roots and Culture/ Lover’s Rock. I love to sing to the men because they seem to be left out. I just want them to become better fathers, lovers and leaders.
HE: What are your greatest strengths?
SB: My kids. Just seeing the smile on their faces or just by having a conversation with them causes me to persevere or even my mother who always tells me to keep the almighty at the forefront of all that I do.
HE: Do you write your own songs? If so what’s the most exciting part of your career, writing or performing?
SB: Yes I do. Performing is more rewarding because of the look that I see on the patron’s face and that gives me joy. I want the people to understand what I’m saying. I don’t necessarily want the ‘railing’ or the ‘hype’. There is a song I have that’s entitled, “When I dance, I dance for you, when I sing, I sing for you… I see happy faces”. The inspiration behind this song comes from people’s reaction when I perform.
If you think that Sophia Brown is only ‘big’ on the local scene then you got another thing coming. She has performed in countries like Israel, Australia, the United States as well as other Caribbean regions. According to her, “people see me as a shy woman because I’m 5’3” but when I go on stage ‘me release a fyah!’ She has done collaborations with the “Money Goddess” herself, Macka Diamond and they have a single entitled A female thing which hasn’t been released yet. It’s a party song however; I’m looking forward to working with Junior Kelly. I have the track but I haven’t finished it yet.
Be sure to look out for Sophia Brown as she is prepared to take the Jamaican airwaves by storm.
Brazilian Star Rises From Marley’s Inspiration
Born in Salvador-Bahia-Brazil, nine days after her big inspirer Robert Nesta Marley passed (May, 20, 1981), she spent her early years listening to Marley’s music and studying his way of life. She actually learnt to speak English just by listening to Bob Marley’s music.
She started her musical career when she was twenty years old and always loved arts at school and was an A student in arts, writing and handcraft. Her first contact with the guitar was when she was twelve and saw a cousin playing the classic Los Lobos version of the song “La Bamba” by William Clauson. At twenty-two years of age she had worked and saved enough to buy a guitar and the next two years were spent learning to play the guitar professionally.
She started writing and recording her own songs and sometimes performed them at small functions and a few nite clubs in and around Salvador. She worked in public schools as a bi-lingual teacher in English/Portuguese before being discovered by Jamaica’s international manager and tour coordinator Copeland Forbes at a Gregory Isaacs’s concert in Salvador at July 07, 2007. Forbes invited her to Jamaica for the fifteenth staging of Jamaica’s premier Reggae festival Reggae Sumfest and introduced her to Jamaica’s ace saxophonist and producer Dean Fraser who was very impressed with her musicianship.
Fraser took her to Grafton Studios and she re-recorded Tarrus Riley’s hit She’s Royal in Portuguese, hence its called Nao Saia. She’s now working on her first CD titled Songs About You and working with some of Jamaica’s top producers including Sly & Robbie, Dean Fraser, Computer Paul, Earl “Chinna” Smith and Leebert “Gibby” Morrison.
She’s also working on her Brazilian album Soraia Drummond. This album has a few Portuguese versions of some Reggae classics, like Rasta Man Chant (Bob Marley), Night Nurse (Gregory Isaacs) and, of course, She’s royal (Tarrus Riley).
Source: Headline Entertainment
Ziggi: In Transit
Still searching and exploring his path in music Reggae artiste Ziggi is In transit in his latest album. Known as Holland’s number one reggae artiste Ziggi, born as Ricardo Blijden, was born in the Caribbean on the beautiful island of St Eustatius.
Given the nickname ‘Ziggi’ by his grandparents, who raised the youngster, Ziggi arrived in Holland in 2001 where he first pursued his interest in music. Ziggi elaborated on how he got involved in music “I got started in music through a couple of friends of mine when I came to Holland. That’s how I came to participate in music, soon I ended up at the studio of Mr Rude and since then I got a chance to develop my music.”
Mr Rude, the owner of the independent label Rock ‘N’ Vibes, soon saw the talent in the aspiring artiste. By early 2006 Ziggi debuted his talent to the world with his first album So Much Reasons. This according to Ziggi was his first big break in the music as he explained “when I was in Holland and was given the chance to have an album released and had a number of my songs on di radio getting a lot of airplay which lead to a lot of popularity.”
According to Ziggi his first album did extremely well having only initially released in the Netherlands where he won five awards such as ‘Best Live Act’ and ‘Best Artiste.’ The album also saw the artiste getting featured on a number of shows across Europe. Ziggi and the Renaissance band closed off 2007 on a peak by going along as the official act on what was considered the biggest reggae tour that year, Gentleman’s Another Intensity European Tour 2007.
This year Ziggi has moved on to new heights by making changes to his signature sound. According to Ziggi his new album is something fresh, reggae music but with a bit more dancehall influence. “I feel like compared to my first album this is more dancehall, I feel like I’m doing different music now so its ‘in transit’ from the music I used to so” Ziggi explained.
Having spent time recently in Jamaica, Ziggi got the opportunity to work with a number of local talents. He said “coming to Jamaica was definitely good, it’s the mecca of reggae, I got to meet a lot of artistes and a lot of radio people who will be trying to spread the name of Ziggi to Jamaica.”
Having worked with Gentleman among other artistes on this album Ziggi feels that ‘In Transit promises to be another good album. The album will be in stores by September of 2008. In the meanwhile Ziggi is continuing to establish his name as an International reggae artiste.
Michael Sean Harris Revolutionizing Live Entertainment
Michael Sean Harris has been redefining the meaning of live music in and around Kingston’s hot spots performing an eclectic mix of musical and theatrical styles which he has also taken to the Caribbean, USA and the UK.
Harris has been trained in acting, movement and choral singing and studied piano, voice and viola privately. Thus he is very qualified for the various roles he has played being a member of The Little People and Teen Players Club and a founding member of Ashe Caribbean Performing Arts Ensemble.
Now a seasoned performer having toured Europe for three years after leaving Berklee College of Music in Boston and recently thrilling the audience at the eleventh staging of the Air Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival with his alternative Jamaican musical style, Harris still finds time to be a full time lecturer at the Edna Manley College of Music. He lectures Pop/Jazz voice and Jazz harmony and has recently co-written a music technology course for their degree programme.
His love for music and its various forms has seen him becoming a primary consultant with the Digicel Rising Stars Talent Competition, acting as performance coach for all the selected artistes. He also works closely with the creative team with song selection and overall creative choices.
In 2007 Michael released Moonshine Darlin which got heavy rotation not only in Jamaica but also the Caribbean. His current single Table Top, a Dancehall/Rock mix featuring TOK’s Craig-T has been recently released and is garnering a favourable response among disc jockeys.
Source: Headline Entertainment
The ‘Legend’ of Mark Bradford
It was the classic showbiz transformation: Mark Bradford walked into Christopher’s Jazz Café on Thursday, April 24 an almost complete unknown, and left a champion, with accolades being heaped on him from all quarters, along with ‘suggestions’ of additional songs he should perform.
Truth be told, it was his song selection that carried the night, along with his sterling vocal impressions of the likes of John Legend and the ‘Legendary ‘ king of reggae Bob Marley that endeared him to the Christopher’s faithful.
He immediately launched himself into the audience’s good books with a rendition of the Heptones’ Long Time, quickly adding Beres Hammond’s Rock Away and Marley’s Survival before moving into the night’s first high point, a cover of John Legend’s So High (smartly avoiding the obvious and overdone Ordinary People or Stay With You).
The second set took on a pop-funk feel with suitably bouncy representations of Michael Jackson’s Don’t Stop (Til You Get Enough) and Earth Wind & Fire’s elemental jam Fantasy. He rendered Otis Redding’s Been Lovin’ You Too Long with all the dripping soul of the master himself, then sealed his place among the Thursday Night ‘elite’ by adding the chorus from Dreams To Remember.
The final set brought out the Bob Marley sound, even though the artiste began with another EW&F chestnut, September. He got good support form the background vocalists on the McFadden & Whitehead disco anthem Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us as well as on the second of two originals, a ballad called Help Me (the first was a Beres-type number called Wake Up). The crowd by this juncture was well and truly hooked and had a hard time letting go. Calls for Billy Paul’s Me & Mrs Jones and other requests went unanswered as after delivering Marley’s Iron Lion Zion, series producer Seretse Small took the mike and called it a night, saving a visibly tired Bradford.
He earned his rest, and surely, several return engagements at Christopher’s, where the legend of Mark Bradford has begun.
Source: NT Promotions
Stephen Marley Announces spring U.S. Tour
Most Grammy-honored Star In Reggae Music History To Hit U.S. Venues And Festivals
Stephen Marley, Multiple-Grammy winning artist/producer (he holds the Reggae record with six Grammy wins), and fresh off his latest Grammy win for Best Reggae Album for his 2007 masterpiece Mind Control, has announced a much anticipated spring U.S. Tour that will take him to 29 cities, and include a handful of celebrated Festivals including his spring ’08 finale performance on Friday June 13 at the much heralded Bonnaroo Festival, the 4 day multi-stage music and cultural extravaganza held on a 700 acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee.
Marley, who became the third son in a row from the great Marley musical dynasty to win the Best Reggae Album Grammy, will headline the non-festival shows, tapping Kingston Reggae sensation Gully Bank Sound to open on the tour. The trek kicks off on Sunday May 4 in West Palm Beach at the Sun Fest, and includes shows in North Myrtle Beach on Thursday May 8, Las Vegas’ Hard Rock & Casino on Friday May 23, and Boulder, CO on Saturday June 7 at the prestigious Fox Theatre (see entire list of dates below).
Considered one of the most versatile studio and live Reggae performers, Stephen’s debut solo release, Mind Control (Tuff Gong/ Ghetto Youths/Universal-Republic), landed at #1 of the coveted Billboard Reggae Chart, and in the upper tier of the Billboard Top 40 Album Chart, as well. Critics raved about the groundbreaking album, with People Magazine calling it a “masterful fusion of reggae and hip hop,'” Entertainment Weekly seconded that notion, calling Mind Control the best Marley album in a generation.
In 2006, Stephen snagged his fifth Grammy award for his triumphant co-production work on brother Damian “Jr.Gong” Marley’s acclaimed RIAA certified Gold disc Welcome To Jamrock, making him the most honored Grammy winner of the Marley family, as well as netting him the most Grammy wins of any other Reggae artist in history.
International Dancehall Superstar Sean Paul Molds Young Local Talent
There is new hope for young dancehall artiste Shane O, as he has teamed up with dancehall superstar Sean Paul for a new single, Girl Territory.
The track, which is featured on producer, Leftside’s Sand Fly riddim, was released two weeks ago.
Shane O, whose real name is Roshane McDonald, says he has been working closely with Sean Paul, who is helping to build his career.
“I have been working with Sean Paul. Him a tek care a things fi mi. Wi a roll and him a promote de thing fi mi,” Shane O commented “from long time mi rate him an’ him rate mi. We ready fi do a thing together now. Mi an’ him a put in the work fi get the thing globalised. Him a my father inna di business right now and a him a teach mi.”
Though there is much emphasis on promoting his new single, Shane O says he has other new singles like Life Gonna Be So Nice, Nutten Dis Time and Stones Broke My Mirror. In addition, he says Crab Inna Barrel, which was produced by his manager Damian ‘Iceman’ Pinnock, is still doing well.
He says he is also working on an album that will be called Naah Go Down. Sean Paul will also be on the album and he will also be doing collaborations with other top dancehall artistes like Spragga Benz and Wayne Wonder, as well as Canadian artiste Jarvis Church.