By Tiffany Mea
Singer-songwriter Duane Stephenson has greatly impacted Jamaica’s musical landscape with his stunning introductory album “From August Town” (2008) and his sophomore effort “Black Gold “(2010), both released on VP Records. His heartfelt lyrics, sincere vocals, insightful commentaries and deeply rooted spirituality make roots reggae a global force that lives on in the 21st century. His upcoming album “Dangerously Roots,” was released September 23, 2014 on Kongstar Records/Greensleeves, expands on his talents and puts him among the new generation of roots artists who are revitalizing the genre.
After spending the past three years touring as the lead vocalist with the Original Wailers, Stephenson makes a strong return to solo artist status. He enlists an all-star production team for his “Dangerously Roots,” including Jamaican heavyweights Clive Hunt, Dean Fraser, Christopher Birch, Phillip ‘Winta’ James and Donovan Germain. Guest appearances from Tarrus Riley, I-Octane, Lutan Fyah and
Mutabaruka add impact to the 14-song set. The album’s latest single is contemporary remake of the 1981 Bunny Wailer classic “Cool Runnings,” which is accompanied by a stylish, retro-flavored music video.
Born in the August Town parish of Kingston, Jamaica, Stephenson started his professional career as the lead vocalist of the 7-piece band To Isis. His solo debut album “From August Town,” featuring the brilliant title track, was cited by Billboard Magazine as one of six albums “collectively galvanizing a roots reggae revival” with “lyrics that convey romantic longings and the anguish of ghetto realities with
equal conviction” and similarly hailed by Pitchfork as “undoubtedly a highlight of not just 2008, but perhaps the past few years.”
His second album, “Black Gold,” was nominated for the 2010 Album of the Year Award at Jamaica’s EME (Excellence in Music & Entertainment) Awards. That same year, before joining The Wailers, Stephenson collaborated with them on “A Step for Mankind,” the global anthem for hunger eradication. In October 2010, he was invited by the UN World Food Program to honor then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the George McGovern Leadership Award Ceremony. The roots singer continues to fight for social change and gives a voice to community that is often silenced on his latest release.
Stephenson has toured and performed at major stage shows in Jamaica, such as Reggae Sumfest & Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival; North America , including Sierra Nevada’s World Music Festival; Europe, including Rotterdam Reggae Festival; South America and the rest of the Caribbean.-OnPointPress.net.