Jamaican roots group Raging Fyah tours USA on Dub Rockers label

Roots group Raging Fyah is currently on tour in the USA.

Roots group Raging Fyah is currently on tour in the USA.

By Tiffany Mea

Raging Fyah, one of Jamaica’s emerging roots rock bands, is currently on tour in the USA after signing to Dub Rockers, the newest imprint from the world’s largest reggae distributor VP Records.

The five-member group, hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, will release multiple albums on Dub Rockers, which will include publishing and merchandise rights. Their first studio album with label is slated for 2016.  Throughout November, Raging Fyah will tour California – performing in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles. Then, they head east for their New York City showcase on the 24th.  Billboard announced the full details on their signing, resulting in the band releasing an official statement about the news:.

Members of the roots group Raging Fyah.

Members of the roots group Raging Fyah.

“Many have compared our sound to the feel good reggae in the 1970s when it was all about the groove of the music, so signing with Dub Rockers/VP Records is like a match made in heaven being that they are known to be ‘miles ahead in reggae.’ With their experience in promoting reggae music from that time until now, we feel we are good hands.” the band’s statement read.

Chris Chin, president of VP Records added “Raging Fyah breeds a progressive sound while staying true to real roots reggae. You know it is made from the heart and can feel the positive energy they bring. It’s undeniable. This type of authenticity is rare and we are excited to help spread the word worldwide.”

destiny
This summer, prior to Raging Fyah’s signing, VP Records’ distribution arm VPAL reissued their first two albums Judgement Day (2011) and Destiny (2014) to get music enthusiasts acquainted with their soul-filled sound that has been making waves in the latest reggae renaissance.  Raging Fyah consists of Kumar Bent (lead singer), Courtland White (guitarist) Anthony Watson (drummer), Demar Gayle (keyboardist) and Delroy Hamilton (bassist).

Some of the members met at Edna Manley College of Visual & Performing Arts in Kingston, but the band itself didn’t form until 2006. Inspired by the likes The Wailers, Third World, Steel Pulse and Aswad, Raging Fyah tackles similar topics of socio-economics and politics with an underlying message of hope and inspiration. Fueled by passion, purpose and life experiences, their lyrics touch and motivate people from all walks of life and their lush lively instrumentation soothes the soul. Their vintage sound coupled with a fresh contemporary flare gives them a particular edge over their predecessors.

Members of the roots group Raging Fyah.

Members of the roots group Raging Fyah.

Since their debut, their infectious vibes have been spreading like wildfire. The band has already made a name for themselves in their native country playing large stage shows such as Reggae Sumfest, Rebel Salute and Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival. They have also developed a devoted following internationally, after performing on South American stages as well as headlining major European reggae festivals (Summerjam, Rototom Sunsplash and Garance).

This spring and summer, Raging Fyah has been touring Europe non-stop – performing at both intimate venues and large-scale festivals throughout France, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Germany Poland, Austria, Belgium, New Caledonia and more. They are steadily capturing the hearts of North American listeners too, earning highly-coveted performances at annual concerts like Sierra Nevada Reggae Festival in 2014. More U.S. dates will be announced for the rest of the year and 2016.  Watch Raging Fyah’s “Irie Vibe” off their latest album, Destiny.

Raging Fyah will be on tour in the US on Nov. 19 in San Francisco, CA at San Francisco State University; Nov. 20 in Los Angeles, CA, at The Mint;  Nov. 22 in Oakland, CA at The New Parish and Nov. 24 in New York, NY @ Milk River–OnPointPress.net–

Maxi Priest headlines VP Record’s 35th anniversary concert, 6/27, in Central Park

L-R Maxi Priest, Gyptian, Bunji Garlin, Faye Lyons.

L-R Maxi Priest, Gyptian, Bunji Garlin, Faye Lyons will perform at Central Park’s Summerstage today, June 27, 2015.

By Tiffany Mea

VP Records has teamed up with SummerStage to celebrate the label’s 35th year in business. From VP’s artist roster, reggae stars Maxi Priest and Gyptian as well as soca royalty Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons will take the stage in NYC’s Central Park for this momentous occasion. DJs Bobby Konders and Jabba of Massive B will also provide sounds throughout the day. The free concert kicks off on Saturday, June 27,  from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

This year marks the 35th anniversary when VP Records’ founders Vincent and his wife Patricia Chin moved their headquarters from Kingston, Jamaica, to Jamaica, New York,  transforming their operations into the largest Caribbean music company worldwide. There will also be a special VP Records 35th anniversary pop-up exhibit entitled A Reggae Music Journey, which designed by acclaimed artist Michael Thompson. The display will be located outside of the event for all the patrons to enjoy.

Maxi Priest.

Maxi Priest.

“VP Records is proud to bring this all-star lineup into the heart of Manhattan. We’re all looking forward to celebrating the 35th anniversary with an historic day of reggae and soca music in the park,” said VP Records Senior Director of Marketing Brian Greenspoon. VP Records co-founder Patricia Chin said: “SummerStage’s 30th Anniversary and VP Records’ 35th Anniversary are significant milestones that we are honored to acknowledge together at the prestigious Central Park venue.”

After 35 years, Miss Pat, as her staff affectionately refers to her, is still very much involved with the day-to-day operations of VP Records.

Following several partnerships with VP Records, The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) joins the label again as an official sponsor for the event. They will give away travel and merchandise on site. JTB’s Business Development Manager Kris DaCosta says, “the VP Records and SummerStage collaboration is a great fit for us. Reggae music is a huge part of Jamaica’s storied history and this event gives us a great opportunity to share with New Yorkers the good vibes to be had on Island.”

Gyptian

Gyptian

SummerStage is also celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. SummerStage is a program of City Parks Foundation that presents performances of outstanding artistic quality, free of charge, to serve the diverse communities of New York City. To celebrate their 30th anniversary, they have extended the season from May to October, and added more than 20 free shows in Central Park and 15 neighborhood parks across the city.

Maxi Priest and Gyptian performed their latest singles and Patricia Chin appeared on FOX 5 Good Day NY morning show to preview the event on June 26. Patricia Chin also received the Lifetime Achievement Award on June 25 at the 2015 American Association of Independent Music (A2IM) Libera Awards. She is the first female recipient to be presented with this honor.

With over 15 million albums sold worldwide, multiple Grammy nominations and Top 10 Billboard hits (including the No. 1 smash “Close To You”) – the most successful solo act in British reggae history, Maxi Priest, continues to hit the road throughout 2015 in support of his first studio album in almost a decade, Easy To Love (VP Records). Easy To Love is a fine representation of pop, reggae and R&B blended together in one set. The title track was a No. 1 hit on reggae charts last summer, evidence that Maxi Priest has a gift for staying fresh.

Fay Ann Lyons

Fay Ann Lyons

“Hearts Across The World” is a song for our times and pleas for people of all races to love one another. The soulful “Without A Woman” features Jamaican legend Beres Hammond and even echoes the themes and intensity of James Brown’s “It’s A Man’s World.” Maxi continues to tug on women’s heartstrings with irresistible tributes of enduring affection on “Loving You Is Easy,” “Holiday” and his rendition of John Mayer’s “Gravity.
Jamaican reggae singer Gyptian broke into the reggae scene in 2005 with his string of hits like “Serious Times” “Beautiful Lady” and “Mama, Don’t Cry.” He hit international stardom in 2010 with his critically acclaimed album Hold You and its RIAA certified Gold title track (produced by Ricky Blaze), which featured a Nicki Minaj remix, and earned him a 2010 MOBO and Soul Train award.

Gyptian just released his new single “All On Me” and his latest fourth studio album Sex, Love and Reggae, which peaked at #1 on the Billboard Reggae Album chart, is a marked departure from his previous releases and unveils another layer of his artistry. The musically diverse set takes the listener from dancehall to soca to global pop and R&B sounds and features an eclectic mix of production from Jamaica – including Shane C. Brown. Justus Arison and Stanley “Rellee” Hayden, Russian and Linton “TJ” White – and is co-executive produced by Jerry “Wonda” Duplessis (Miguel, Mary J. Blige, Lupe Fiasco, the Fugees).

Bunji Garlin

Bunji Garlin

Born Ian Alvarez, the Trinidadian ragga soca star Bunji Garlin is known for blending of soca with dancehall. Hailed recently by Rolling Stone as “America’s first soca star,” Garlin has clearly taken his native country’s genre to new heights. His single “Differentology (Ready For The Road),” which was remixed by Major Lazer & Busta Rhymes, was a massive hit in North America more than a year after its release in the Caribbean.

In 2013, the single received a Soul Train Award win, was featured on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, won NYC’s HOT 97 FM’s Battle of The Beats competition and was chosen by NPR as one of the year’s favorite anthems as well as MTV Iggy’s Song of the Year. Garlin introduced soca to more mainstream music circuits by performing at last year’s SXSW, CMJ Music Festival, FADER Fort, Mad Decent Boat Party and alongside Jillionaire and Major Lazer during their 2014 tour stint.

Fay Ann Lyons is already a superstar in her native country of Trinidad and across the Caribbean. During Trinidad & Tobago’s Carnival season’s annual competitions, Fay Ann has set the record as the only female artist to score the Carnival Road March title three times, taking the crown in 2003, 2008 and 2009. In 2009, she also won International Soca Monarch in Groovy, People’s Choice and Power category and is the first soca artist ever to win that soca ‘triplet’ of titles.

In addition to these feats, she has taken home 17 awards between the COTT (Copyright Organization of Trinidad and Tobago), NACC (National Action Cultural Committee Trinidad and Tobago) and SAO (Soca Awards Organization). The Point Fortin native has soca in her DNA. Her father Superblue, a soca legend who has won the Carnival Road March title nine times and Trinidad Soca Monarch competition seven times, was instrumental in honing Fay Ann’s skills as a songwriter and performer. She became a front-liner for the band Invazion led by Naya George and today is an official member of the Asylum band (previously known as “Censation”), founded by her husband and soca royalty Bunji Garlin. Fay Ann continues to tour worldwide and is recording her first solo full-length album on VP Records.

Massive B was formed over 10 years ago with DJ Bobby Konders’ vision of starting his own sound system. At its start, the voice behind Massive B was none other than Jabba. There have been many additions to Massive B as it continues to grow. New members include Big Dawg, Chudney Shotta, D-Life and X-Man, among others. Massive B has toured all over the globe, playing major festivals and dances, and representing NYC along the way.

Locally, Massive B is a Brooklyn staple, performing annually at the borough’s West Indian Day Parade and weekly at the Buzz Nightclub for ‘Fire Sundays,’ where they spin the hottest reggae, dancehall, hip hop, R&B, and soca music. –OnPointPress.net.

 

Reggae artist Maxi Priest leads SummerStage lineup, set for June 27

maxi

By Tiffany Mea

Reggae stars Maxi Priest and Gyptian as well as soca royalty Bunji Garlin and Fay Ann Lyons will take the stage in NYC’s Central Park to celebrate VP Records’ 35th year in business as well as its partnership with SummerStage. DJs Bobby Konders and Jabba of Massive B will also provide sounds throughout the day. The free concert kicks off at 2 p.m. and ends at 7pm on June 27, 2015.

35 years ago, VP Records’ founders Vincent and his wife Patricia Chin moved their headquarters from Kingston, Jamaica, to Jamaica, New York, transforming their operations into the largest Caribbean music company worldwide. At the concert there will also be a special VP Records 35th anniversary pop-up exhibit entitled A Reggae Music Journey, which designed by acclaimed artist Michael Thompson. The display will be located outside of the event for all the patrons to enjoy.

“VP Records is proud to bring this all-star lineup into the heart of Manhattan. We’re all looking forward to celebrating the 35th anniversary with an enjoyable day of reggae and soca music in the park,” said VP Records Senior Director of Marketing Brian Greenspoon. SummerStage is also celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. SummerStage is a program of City Parks Foundation that presents performances of outstanding artistic quality, free of charge, to serve the diverse communities of New York City. To celebrate their 30th anniversary, they have extended the season from May to October, and added more than 20 free shows in Central Park and 15 neighborhood parks across the city.

Bunji Garlin has been making waves with his new album.

Bunji Garlin has been making waves with his new album.

VP Records co-founder Patricia Chin said: “SummerStage’s 30th Anniversary and VP Records’ 35th Anniversary are significant milestones that we are honored to acknowledge together at the prestigious Central Park venue.” After 35 years, Miss Pat, as her staff affectionately refers to her, is still very much involved with the day-to-day operations of VP Records.

With over 15 million albums sold worldwide, multiple Grammy nominations and Top 10 Billboard hits, including the No. 1 smash “Close To You,” the most successful solo act in British reggae history, Maxi Priest, continues to hit the road throughout 2015 in support of his first studio album in almost a decade, Easy To Love on the VP Records label. Jamaican reggae singer Gyptian broke into the reggae scene in 2005 with his string of hits like “Serious Times” “Beautiful Lady” and “Mama, Don’t Cry.” He hit international stardom in 2010 with his critically-acclaimed album Hold You and its RIAA certified Gold title rack, which featured a Nicki Minaj remix, and earned him a 2010 MOBO and Soul Train award.

Born Ian Alvarez, the Trinidadian ragga soca star Bunji Garlin is known for his blending of soca with dancehall. Hailed recently by Rolling Stone as “America’s first soca star,” Garlin has clearly taken his native country’s genre to new heights. His single “Differentology (Ready For The Road),” which was remixed by Major Lazer & Busta Rhymes, was a massive hit in North America more than a year after its release in the Caribbean. Fay Ann Lyons is already a superstar in her native country of Trinidad and across the Caribbean. During Trinidad & Tobago’s Carnival season’s annual competitions, Fay Ann has set the record as the only female artist to score the Carnival Road March title three times, taking the crown in 2003, 2008 and 2009.

Massive B was formed over 10 years ago with DJ Bobby Konders’ vision of starting his own sound system. At its start, the voice behind Massive B was none other than Jabba. There have been many additions to Massive B as it continues to grow. New members include Big Dawg, Chudney Shotta, D-Life and X-Man, among others. Massive B has toured all over the globe, playing major festivals and dances, and representing NYC along the way. Locally, Massive B is a Brooklyn staple, performing annually at the borough’s West Indian Day Parade and weekly at the Buzz Nightclub for ‘Fire Sundays,’ where they spin the hottest reggae, dancehall, hip hop, R&B, and soca music. Bobby and Jabba can also be heard on-air every weekend on Hot 97 FM.–OnPointPress.net.

Jamaican singer Christopher Martin releases debut EP, ‘Steppin Razor’

Christopher Martin

Christopher Martin-Photo Credit Zev Schmitz.

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.

Christopher Martin

Christopher Martin-Photo Credit Zev Schmitz.

“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.

 

 

VP Records’ pop-up exhibit makes debut at recent jerk festival

 

Jerk Festival patron examines the VP Records exhibit.

Jerk Festival patron examines the VP Records exhibit designed by Michael Thompson.–Ajamu Myrie Photo.

By Tiffany Mea

2014 marks the 35th anniversary when VP Records’ founders Vincent and his wife Patricia Chin moved their headquarters from Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaica, New York,- transforming their operations into the largest reggae company worldwide. The label celebrated with a special pop-up exhibit that debuted Sunday,July 20, at the Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival 2014. The festival attracted over 15,000 patrons this year in Roy Wilkins Park in Queens, NY, and the VP Records 35th Anniversary launch event was among the main attractions.

Ribbon cutting

VP Records Co-founder Patrician Chin (c), surrounded by family and supporters,  cuts ribbon to launch the company’s  35th anniversary pop-up exhibit. –Ajamu Myrie Photo.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off at 2 p.m. VP Records Co-Founder Patricia Chin gathered with family and friends as media and fans caught the first glimpse of the historical feature, designed by Michael Thompson. Inside was an exclusive photo exhibit by Ajamu Myrie, documenting Jamaican reggae culture, an illustrative map exploring the global impact of the genre in every continent and a timeline covering each era, beginning in 1958 when the Chins established Randy’s Record Mart and Studio 17 in Kingston, Jamaica.

patc chin

Patricia Chin with Grace Jerk Festival Founder Eddy Edwards.-Ajamu Myrie Photo.

In a roped off area of the exhibit, Mrs. Chin debuted a short documentary video for the press. From ska to rocksteady, roots reggae to dub, lover’s rock to dancehall, VP Records has been at the forefront of Jamaica’s musical evolution. The video which was narrated by Sirius XM reggae personality Pat McKay, revealed the social and political history of Jamaican music and explained how VP Records is a key contributor to its growth, development and future.

crowd

A large crowd awaits performances by Maxi Priest and Etana at the Jerk Festival.-Ajamu Myrie Photo.

The label plans to take this traveling exhibit into other markets throughout the rest of the year, including Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival in Florida. More details will be announced at a later date. For more information contact tiffanym@vprecords.com–OnPointPress.net

Etana, Maxi Priest set for Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, July 20

Etaba

Etana, cultural reggae singer, will perform at the Grace Jerk Festival.

By Tiffany Mea

As New Yorkers gear up for this year’s summer activities, the city’s 4th annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, scheduled for Roy Wilkins Park in Queens on Sun. July 20, rides high on the list of must-attend event. Cultural reggae star Etana, Maxi Priest and other guests will perform during a main stage concert to close out the day’s events.

Maxi Priest

Maxi Priest, whose new album debuted July 8, will perform at Grace Jerk Festival.

Centered around the world-famous Jamaican jerk cuisine, the festival combines culinary competitions, cultural and musical performances as well as family-oriented activities into one phenomenal day. Building on the success of last year’s festival, which attracted some 16,000 satisfied patrons, co-producers Jamaican Jerk Festival U.S.A. Inc. & VP Records are committed to providing more food, fun and family activities at the event.

jerk food

Jerk chicken will be among the delicious  food at the festival.

New York’s largest Caribbean food festival will be jam-packed with entertainment for everyone. This year’s highlights will include the Celebrity Jerk Cook-off, where last year’s winner New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio is expected to defend his title. There will also be a Caribbean Cultural Stage featuring traditional oral and folk performances, The Kidz Zone (a family favorite for kids of all ages) including rides, storytellers and face painting and The Corporate Row offering samples and give-aways from event sponsors.

crowd

Excited crowds have supported the festival over the years.

Maxi Priest is looking forward to a busy summer with the release of his new studio album Easy To Love on VP Records, which became available July 8. With over 15 million albums sold worldwide, a No. 1 U.S. Billboard hit and a Grammy nomination – the most successful solo act in British reggae history will bring his special brand of reggae, lover’s rock and pop to tug on the ladies’ heartstrings at the festival. Maxi will perform from his catalog of irresistible hits such as “Wild World,” “Some Guys Have All The Luck,” “Close To You,” and “Housecall” as well as songs from his upcoming album including the title track “Easy To Love.”

jerk food

An assortment of jerk food will be sold at the festival.

With her indomitable spirit and inspiring songwriting, Jamaican reggae songstress Etana will command plenty of attention at this year’s Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival New York. She will uplift generations both old and new with her collection of roots and R&B tinged hits. Recorded at Kingston’s legendary Tuff Gong Studios and backed by all live instrumentation, her latest album Better Tomorrow (VP Records) is a true testament to her evolved sound.

Jerlk Festival

Jerk Festival

Advance tickets are $30 and will be available online at www.jerkfestivalny.com and selected retail outlets in the next few weeks. Kids 12 and under are admitted free. Gates will open at 12:00pm and the fun will go on until 8:00pm.

The Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival New York is produced in association with Jamaican Jerk Festival U.S.A. Inc. and VP Records. It is sponsored by Western Union, the Jamaica Tourist Board, Vitamalt and Tower Isle Frozen Foods. For more information Email: Tiffanym@vprecords.com–OnPointPress.net.  

VP Records, top reggae distributor, expands presence in Africa

Sizzla, one of the top reggae artists on the VP Records label.

Sizzla, one of the top reggae artists on the VP Records label.

VP Records, the Queens, New York, based distributor of reggae music, is set to expand its presence in the African market. The world’s largest reggae label has hired Territory Manager Jay Jules to lead the Pan-African marketing efforts.

Jules will be responsible for establishing strategic partnerships in order to expand VP product sales and visibility and to capitalize on flourishing opportunities across the continent. The British-Jamaican music executive currently resides in South Africa and has a strong handle on the marketplace.

“I’m eager to open new doors with this role. I not only want to make reggae more accessible in Africa, but also shine light on the vibrant African reggae scene and culture that already exists here,” says Jules.

VP Records President Randy Chin states: ” Africa has a legion of dedicated reggae fans and now with increasing global connectivity in today’s tech and online world we are able to fulfill that demand. We are excited about this expansion and confident that we can effectively reach reggae fans in Africa.”

For more information email tiffanym@vprecords.com .-OnPointPress.net.

Maxi Priest thrills, enchants in SiriusXM listening party

 

m

Maxi Priest thrills guests at listening party at SiriusXM for his new album Easy To Love

By Carmen Glover

Sensuous, charming, talented reggae star Maxi Priest had the audience eating out of his hands when he put on a dazzling, yet intimate performance at SiriusXM studios in Manhattan on Wednesday night to give a preview of his latest album, Easy To Love.

ma

Maxi Priest and DJ Face rock the audience on the sound system.

The event was hosted by veteran Caribbean-born journalist Pat McKay, whose program on SirusXM is called “The Joint.”  Reggae music powerhouse VP Records and the Jamaica Tourist Board sponsored the exclusive event. DJ Face spun music to keep the crowd entertained prior to Priest taking the stage. But once the reggae icon made his appearance the crowd was enthralled, listening raptly, nodding in agreement, asking questions and sharing feedback, as he talked about his musical influences and gave context to his diverse, richly textured background, interspersed with him crooning songs from the new album.

m

Maxi Priest is joined by Actor/Singer Leon and Pat McKay of SiriusXM’s The Joint.

“I want to give thanks to God and all the West Indians out there,” Priest said after specifically acknowledging the Jamaicans in the audience. “Tonight is a musical experience. We own this culture and we have to bring it together and keep it together,” he said, imploring the media to continue promoting reggae music. At McKay’s urging, Priest shared details about his early roots in sound systems. “As a kid I used to run around with a sound system, vibing on the microphone,” he said. “I was the hype man and the singer and I also used to build them, then I progressed to working in the studios.”

m

Maxi Priest poses with a guest at his listening party.

Describing his musical influences, Priest did not hold back. “I grew up with Dennis Brown and Burning Spear. My heart goes out to Dennis Brown,” he said, before launching into one of the late reggae legend’s hits Should I, as the guests sang along and applauded.  Priest also said that Bob Marley was one of his early influences as well. “When I came into this business I was influenced by Bob,” he said, but he explained that Brown taught him early to “sing for the girls,” advice that he took to heart. Priest talked about the perks of being a musician and he proudly called himself “a lover’s man. I make love, that’s what I do,” he said, as laughter erupted.

m

Maxi Priest provided insight into his background at listening party for Easy To Love.

Priest explained that Easy To Love features solid collaborations. “I’ve been fortunate to have worked with Beres Hammond over the years and it was actually him who inspired this album. He kept saying: ‘You should do something with VP’ and I want to big up VP. That’s the foundation that’s left of our music,” he said as the guests echoed their agreement.

“This album will come out the beginning of June,” Priest said of Easy To Love, mentioning some of the producers who worked on the album, including legendary duo Sly & Robbie. Priest performed three of the songs from the album, title track Easy To Love, Loving You Is Easy, and Without A Woman, his duet with Hammond. Mckay coaxed Priest to share his views about his childhood and the role of music in the world.

Maxi Priest

Maxi Priest’s latest album, Easy To Love.

“Love and music bring people together,” he said. “Growing up my challenges were facing responsibilities, making definite decisions and sticking to them. I love this industry. I’ve been blessed to do what I’m doing and to travel. ”

Singer/actor Leon came by as the event was winding down, interacting with Priest before posing for pictures with guests. Priest also introduced his adult son and spoke about health concerns of his newborn daughter. Priest spoke glowingly about a recent Caribbean concert he had with longtime reggae singer Super Cat and expressed hope that music produced by Grammy-winner Shaggy, on his behalf, will eventually see the light of day. Easy to Love will be released in early June and Priest will perform at BB King’s Club in Manhattan on Wednesday, June 11. –OnPointPress.net.

Please follow us on Twitter @OnPointPress_.

Wayne Marshall shows “Tru Colors” in whirwind NYC trip

Reggae singer Wayne Marshall has returned to the dancehall scene with a bang.

Reggae singer Wayne Marshall has returned to the dancehall scene with a bang.

By Carmen Glover

The adage “good things come to those who wait,” has never been more true than what has been exemplified by reggae singer Wayne Marshall, who has made a triumphant return to the dancehall scene with his sophomore album, “Tru Colors” (Ghetto Youths International), eleven years after releasing “Marshall Law” (VP Records). But as far as the smooth-voiced singer is concerned, the timing is perfect and that’s all that matters.

Speaking to OnPointPress.net during a telephone interview from his hotel room on Wednesday, February 26, Marshall sounded relaxed and thankful as he basked in the glow of overwhelmingly positive feedback for “Tru Colors.” The eleven-year wait, Marshall explained, was a matter of divine order. “It’s about waiting for the right time, the right camp, for everything to fall into place,” he said reflectively. “The first CD was just a compilation, rather than doing a focused album, like I did with ‘Tru Colors.’ Now I feel like everything is right.”

image

From all indications, Marshall’s slow simmer approach has yielded spectacular dividends. “Tru Colors” sits comfortably in fourth place on Billboard’s reggae chart, and with each layer of exposure the album receives, another veneer of excitement  is lavished on the album, which, in turn, fuels even greater interest and industry buzz. As he counts down the hours to his album release party Thursday night at The Delancey in Manhattan, Marshall points to his early musical influences, while simultaneously lauding the expertise of his current producer, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley.

“My biggest musical influence is Bounty Killer,” Marshall stated unequivocally. “As a youth when I was 13, Baby, King Jammys’ son, introduced me to a new artist that his father was working with. That artist was Bounty Killer and I always thought that he was bringing a new flavor to dancehall. When we started working together and he showed me that he liked what I was doing, that felt good.”

L-R: Stephen and Damian "Junior Gong" Marley, who are actively involved in Marshall's triumphant return.

L-R: Stephen and Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, who are actively involved in coordinating Marshall’s triumphant return with his sophomore album “Tru Colors.”

Marshal has collaborated with Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Sean Paul and Beenie Man in the past. Like he did with his debut effort, Marshall has collaborated with a legion of stars on “Tru Colors,” including Bounty Killer, Ace Hood, Cham, Waka Flocka, Assassin, I-Octane, Vybz Kartel and Tarrus Riley. While Marshall spoke earnestly about the importance of the diversity embodied on the tracks, he was unmistakable in emphasizing that the central component for the success of “Tru Colors” is the hands-on approach taken by the album’s producer, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley.

“Working with Damian Marley is an advantage for any artist because he’s a legendary, excellent, writer, singer and producer: a real triple threat,” Marshall mused. “It’s a dream come true for me to be working with the Marleys because growing up as a youth in Jamaica you saw the Marleys as reggae royalty.” Marshall described Damian as “a perfectionist” who knows the exact sound that he wants. Marshall credits Damian with unleashing his raw, intense, musical essence. “That’s why I call it “Tru Colors” because I think this is me showcasing my true self,” he explained. “It’s been such a long time since the last record that my sound, my lyrics and my style are more refined; a true evolution. Musically I am much more adept at my craft.”

Wayne Marshall is reflective and thankful that his sophomore effort is favorably received.

Wayne Marshall is reflective and thankful that his sophomore effort “Tru Colors”  is favorably received.

But his music is not the only thing that has evolved. Marshall, who describes himself as “very spiritual,” sports long dreadlocks these days, but he distinguishes himself from the Rastafarian faith, and explained that he focuses on solidifying his spiritual base instead. When asked how he is responding to his whirlwind two-day New York City jaunt, Marshall did not hesitate, “I’m enjoying the press coverage. All the media reviews so far have been good,” he said. “Just as the great ones have paved the way for us, this is my opportunity to pave the way for a younger generation.”

Marshall will be touring the United States in April and May with Stephen Marley and Jo Mersa to perform songs from “Tru Colors,” which is a 13-track collection. The album features fan favorites such as “I Know,” “Stupid Money,” “Go Hard,” “Go Harder,” “Be on the Alert” and “Nah Give Up.”  Marshall, who is married to Tami Chynn, the sister of Tessanne Chin of ‘The Voice’ fame, collaborated with his sister-in-law on the “Tru Colors” final track, “On the End.”

For Marshall, “Tru Colors” is his coming-of-age party and he is determined to savor every minute of it.-OnPointPress.net.

Please follow us on Twitter @ OnPointPress_.

Penthouse Records turns 25, releases compliation tracks

Penthouse Records celebrates its' 25th anniversary with compilation tracks.

Penthouse Records celebrates its’ 25th anniversary with compilation tracks.

Extraordinary Jamaican producer Donovan Germain and his Penthouse Records label/ production company have made an indelible mark in the history of reggae music. To commemorate 25 years since the founding of Penthouse recording studio, VP Records and Germain have collaborated on the new release Penthouse Records 25 Years:The Journey Continues. The two-CD/DVD collection was released on January 14, 2014.

The Penthouse Records 25 audio discs highlight essential hits, new tracks from its current roster and two unreleased tracks from the legendary Garnett Silk (“My Favorite Song” and a remix of his classic “Everything I Got”). Hosted by Germain, the bonus DVD is an hour and 45-minute journey through the history of the studio and label and features many the key players in Jamaican music. Interviews include original Penthouse crew members Tony Rebel, Richie Stephens, Wayne Wonder, Marcia Griffiths and Beres Hammond.

The Penthouse studio – originally located at 56 Slipe Road in Kingston, Jamaica, produced many of the genre’s biggest hits during the late 1980s and 1990s and has continued to churn out chart-topping anthems since relocating in 1998 to its current address 6 Ballater Avenue. Germain, the founder, produced great recordings alongside the island’s top engineers and studio musicians of the time, including Steven Stanley, Dave and Tony Kelly, Michael “Coolie” Cooper, Steely and Clevie, Sly and Robbie, Firehouse Crew, Steven “Lenky” Marsden and Mafia and Fluxy. He also played an instrumental role in developing the careers of reggae stars Buju Banton, cranking out the most No. 1 singles for the reggae icon to date; Wayne Wonder, Cutty Ranks, Richie Stephens, Beres Hammond, Romain Virgo, Queen Ifrica and many more.

In addition to these artists, the deluxe 47-song collection features today’s crop of Penthouse artists, including Dalton Harris, D Major, Exco Levi, RC and Shuga. Germain’s quest for excellence is evident. He says “it’s all about the next hit song,” and for Penthouse Records, the journey continues. For more information, contact Tiffany@withlovepr.com. –OnPointPress.net

Please follow us on Twitter @OnPointPress._.