By Tiffany Mea
Jamaican reggae crooner Christopher Martin released his much-anticipated debut EP ‘Steppin Razor,’ on April 21 on VP Records. The 5-song digital-only release balances sweetness, swagger and sex appeal and showcases his versatility and vocal excellence. Martin fires with formidable skill on each of Steppin Razor’s songs.
The upbeat “We Are The Vibes” (produced by TJ Records) and the braggadocios single “I’m A Big Deal” (produced by Troy “Troyton” Hinds) get the party started. On the sultry “Secret Love (Creep)” (produced by ZJ Dymond), Martin sings “nah tell you fi sneak, but if you a go sneak, girl, sneak, come love me…and if your man find out and waan walk out, girl be with me.” His passionate vocals bring a renewed urgency to this well worn and (he admits) somewhat self-centered plea.
“Hide Away,” written and produced by the legendary Clive Hunt (whose credits include Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, Grace Jones, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff and VP Records’ Etana), is the first song Martin has recorded that he didn’t write. However he makes it all his own, incomparably delivering a swell of tender emotions over an irresistible, shuffling reggae beat. “Hide Away” is also featured on the soundtrack to the romantic drama “Destiny” released in late 2013, starring Martin as an aspiring singer attempting to navigate the music industry. The title track, produced by Frankie Music, isn’t the 1977 Peter Tosh classic (written by the late Joe Higgs, a mentor to Tosh and the legendary reggae group The Wailers) although it champions a kindred spirit of invincibility, in this case Martin’s unrivaled appeal to the ladies.
“Tosh’s song had a militancy, cutting down inequality but I am saying a steppin razor is sharper than the rest, it is having so much confidence in yourself that whatever you are doing you are going to be sharp in it, whether it is with women, school work or how you dress,” Martin explains. “It has nothing to do with money, it all boils down to the belief in yourself, confidence and high self esteem.”
Martin has done just that with ‘Steppin Razor’ and as the late stepping razor Peter Tosh would say, he is consistently “well sharp.” Born on Valentine’s Day in 1987 in Jamaica’s rural community of St. Catherine, Martin made his mark in 2005 when he won his native country’s top televised talent show competition Digicel Rising Stars. With his tremendous vocal prowess, soaring melodies and proven lyrical ability, he has consistently churned out hit after hit – including “Cheaters Prayer,” Change Me Plans,” Take My Wings,” “Giving It,” “I’ll Be Your Driver,” “Paper Loving,” “Chill Spot” and “Look on My Face” – on local and international reggae charts.
Over the years, Martin has worked with reggae’s premier producers including Robert Livingston of Big Yard, ZJ Chrome of Chromes label, Shane Brown of Jukeboxx Recordings and Christopher Birch. He has a devoted fan base in Japan, where he released his self-titled debut album in 2011 on the Rockers Island imprint. He has also toured North America and Europe, including an eight-nation tour with platinum selling German Reggae superstar Gentleman.–OnPointPress.net.