Kushi Interview

Other | Saturday 10th April 2010 | Osh

Is Kush I your birth name or artist name?
My birth name is Errol Henry and to be honest I didn’t really have an artist or stage name until a company executive in Jamaica said that I needed a name in order to promote myself. So I spent sometime coming up with names that didn’t say much or mean much, but through my reading I had learnt about the Kushites the first dynasty in the world. They were captured Nubians who were allowed to keep the names and culture by the Egyptians. The Kushites later rose to be Pharaohs in Egypt and I felt that narrative of being captured, but raising to prominence fitted with my story as a child of slavery and so i called myself Kush-I, and I love it.       

At what age did you start voicing on reggae tracks?
I started voicing on reggae tracks at the age of  23 or so,  I was a DJ before that, but stopped everything as I didn’t have any direction at the time, but the music was strong in me and it was inevitable that I would return at some point, which i did.   

What image do you think your music/songs conveys?
My musical and personal image is one of love of people, all people. I believe in standing against injustice, oppression and I think that life is the most precious of thing we have. My music is aimed at getting people to love each other and cherish life over material things.      

 What inspires your song writing?
I have never been asked this question before, but I would say that my inspiration is the quest for truth and to provide the listener with the will to go on. To not be beaten down or to take out a mortgage on self doubt. You should never disbelieve in yourself and what you can achieve.  I also like to write in a way to say to people that you don’t have to be held ransom by the past. People like Clancy Eccles, Ernie Smith, Steelie’s mother out of Steelie and Cleavie were people who have shaped my writing. Also listening Bob Andy who in my view has wrote some great great songs.          

Who are your favourite artist  of today?
My favourite artist of today is Beres Hammond because he sounds kind in his music and kindness is a lovely thing to share with the world. I love Pam Hall as her voice has such a sultry hypnotic quality to it, Morgan Heritage are immense and so is Jah Mali. People say i have a sound of Sanchez in some of my songs and that is possible as I like listening to his songs as well as Mikey Spice. At the moment I am listening to Ryan Leslie as a new voice in R&B, but my time is pent listening to old stuff as it sounds less complicated and more innocent, something that I think is missing in contemporary stuff.         

Who are your musical influences?
I take influence from everyone good and bad. The good showing me how to do it, and the bad showing how not to. I listen to Jazz singers like Carmen McCrae, Donny Hathaway Frank McComb and Carl Thomas, and I listen to dancehall dj’s like Assassin, Capleton and Sizzla. I also like to listen to natural sounds, everyday speech and vibrations. There is a difference in sound between the US and the UK and a further difference in Jamaica. From the moment i’m awaken by the sound of the cockerel, people’s early morning reasoning, the vibration and energy that accompanies sound, all influence my music in one way or another. But the one that is at the top of the pack if i were pushed on the matter is Bob Marley. Reason being, he covers all the points.
 What are your future plans?
At the moment my immediate plans are to go on the campaign trail canvasing votes for Solid Ground, doing interviews, shows and then I shall be returning to Jamaica to continue working on my new album doing more collaborations with some of my colleagues.     

Is there anyone you would like to thank for the support given?
I would like to thank everyone and everything. My journey started me hearing songs that have left an indelible mark on me like ‘side show’ by Barry Biggs and many of Dennis Brown and Mighty Diamonds works, but Ken Boothe, Fredlocks, Luciano, Dean Frazer, Ansell Collins the Abyssinian family, Mikey General, Chesidek, spectacular, Emperor Stitch and many many ,more were more directly influential in the making of Kush. I am grateful to my fan base and to the brave radio presenters and sound dj’s who have played my music when I was less well known, because as you may know people are often scared of embracing new talent. Nuff love to Calvin Francis who has been a trail blazer with Solid Ground and has put so much love and energy behind the project. I also cannot forget my friends like Scalah who walked with me from studio to studio in the sun hot and never doubted my ability.