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He’s Royal… And Contagious New Jersey Int’l Reggae Fest Artist Spotlight: Tarrus Riley, August 15, 2010, New Jersey

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With a decade long tradition of bringing the best of the Caribbean to the Garden State,  the New Jersey International Reggae Fest has captured Roots Reggae’s fearless but humble shining soldier to celebrate their 10th Anniversary on August 15th.  Rastafarian singer and songwriter Tarrus Riley’s conscious and inspiring messages have helped reenergize Roots Reggae and will invigorate the festival’s 10th Anniversary staging at the Edison Park Complex, located at the Prudential Arena in Newark.
Riley first garnered worldwide attention with his 2006 album Parables, with heavy hitting singles like “Beware,” “Stay With You,” the anthemic “Lion Paw,” and the explosive single “She’s Royal.”
“I target women and children with my music because slavery tampered with the woman’s mind and that’s why I wrote ‘She’s Royal,’ Riley explains. “She’s the head of the household so she has the power to influence the young men and women of tomorrow.”
In 2007, the Jamaica Observer named Riley their artist of the year. The following year, the Reggae Academy Awards named “She’s Royal” Best Reggae Song, and Most Popular Song of 2008, while Riley was named Best Solo Male Vocalist, and Breakthrough Artist of the Year.
Riley’s 2009 album Challenges drew major praise from the New York Times, which compared the young singer to iconic Reggae vocalists like Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, and Beres Hammond.  Singles like “Contagious,” “Good Girl Gone Bad” with Dancehall singer Konshens, and a rootsy remake of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” helped propel Contagious to the forefront. According to the Times, Riley “possesses an expressive, instantly recognizable voice, as well as a knack for lyrics and melodies that capture the ups and downs of love and life…that is both familiar to his island audience and accessible to the world.”
Born in the Bronx, NY, and raised in Jamaica, Riley delved into music at a young age. The son of Reggae singer Jimmy Riley, he started his career as a Dancehall deejay as a teenager before becoming a singer. He released his debut album Challenges in 2004. Under the tutelage of renowned saxophonist Dean Fraser, Riley has become one of the leading Roots Reggae talents.
“Tarrus Riley is always a crowd favorite and a crowd pleaser. He has the voice, the music, and the performance of a seasoned veteran, but he is still very youthful and lively,” says New Jersey Reggae Fest organizer Kacy “G City” Rankine, who along with RoadblockRadio.com and Jeawin Entertainment is putting on this year’s event. “Tarrus appeals to just about everyone – the younger generation, the older generation, the Dancehall crowd, the Roots Reggae crowd. Any and everyone will enjoy Tarrus’ music.”
On August 15th, Tarrus Riley will be sharing the NJ Reggae Fest stage with Reggae legend Marcia Griffiths, Billboard Reggae artist Gyptian, Dancehall superstar Cham, classic Reggae masters Freddie McGregor, Cocoa Tea, and Frankie Paul, Dancehall lyrical wonder Assassin, Gramps Morgan, prodigious producer/artist Stephen McGregor, pioneering female Dancehall deejay Lady G, and rising Reggae/Dancehall stars Chino, Laden, Duane Stephenson, and Romain Virgo.
The 10th Annual New Jersey International Reggae Fest will be held on Sunday, August 15th at the Edison Park Complex (located at the Prudential Arena) – 162 Mulberry Street in Newark, NJ. Featured Acts include Marcia Griffiths, Cocoa Tea, Freddie McGregor, Frankie Paul, Gyptian, Cham, Duane Stephenson, Gramps Morgan, Lady G, Stephen McGregor, Assassin, Chino, Laden, and Romain Virgo. Limited $39.99 early bird tickets are available until July 31st. General Admission is $54.99.  VIP tickets and special group discounts are also available.

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Written by Staff Writer