The secret to the success of Tarrus Riley, believe it or not, is quite simple – “when preparation meets opportunity”, stated a self-assured Riley. “I’ve been surrounded by music all my life. My father is a singer and my mother is a bathroom singer,” he explains with a chuckle. “Because I can’t change the world, I sing for the people – this is the contribution I can make and after I make a song; it isn’t even mine anymore; it belongs to the people.”
Virtually born and steeped in music, Tarrus Riley has learnt a lot by merely being in the environment of the music business. He caught on very quickly and so voiced his first song at the age of 13. “I’ve always loved music; I used to deejay but everyone used to encourage me to sing. They used to call me Singy Singy ’cause I’m always singing,” he said with a introspective smile. In 2004, Tarrus released his debut album, Challenges – “I was fortunate to have recorded my debut album with an independent label out of Miami.”
Tarrus successfully released his sophomore album in 2006 to widespread acclaim and spawned hit singles – “Stay With You,” “Beware,” and the extremely popular “She’s Royal.”
“I define myself so I make thought-provoking music about Black consciousness and experiences. I want to open people’s minds and let them think. My music isn’t prejudiced towards colour, class, creed or nationality,” he explained passionately. “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. She’s the head of the household so she has the power to influence the young men and women of tomorrow,” he further explained.
As with everything in life, a firm foundation is always the safest way to go. Tarrus works with a group of friends on a movement proudly titled BLAKSOIL – Bredren Living According King Selassie-I Overstanding & Iritical Livity. Through this movement, Riley hopes to further target the consciousness of our women and children.
Tarrus has consistently been awarded for his contribution to the industry and for touching the people. “From I released Parables, I’ve been getting ‘Best Singer of the Year’ or ‘Best Song of the Year’ awards, both locally and internationally. But to be honest, the best award I receive constantly is from the people themselves – when I can look in their faces and see the impression my music has made – that is the Best award I can ever get,” he comments genuinely. Nonetheless, Tarrus is the proud holder of CVM’s 15th Anniversary Award, held in February 2009, for the ‘Most Admired Song in the Past 15 Years’ for the hit, “She’s Royal.” “That award really means a lot to me because it was chosen by the people in the streets,” he shared keenly.
Also appearing alongside Tarrus Riley is GRAMPS MORGAN
Roy “GRAMPS” Morgan, a member of the internationally renowned reggae group, Morgan Heritage, was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up playing football in Springfield, Massachusetts with his parents and 29 other siblings.
Gramps is one of the legendary Denroy Morgan’s 17 sons who at the tender age of nine became a member of the family band. Denroy however, prophesized that one day, each of them would trod on their own journey to achieve solo stardom. Gramps, a burly vocalist and keyboard, player affirms “This has always been my fathers plan; we are all on an individual journey to express ourselves musically. We (referring to Morgan Heritage) don’t want to be predictable in the music; we want to keep it interesting and we want to keep it fun as well.”
Now after nearly a decade together, touring almost every continent on the planet and performing for millions of people worldwide, this tightly knit family member’s solo journey has begun.