We’re blessed with the presence of an artist that is fast approaching legendary status and his next milestone is to become an icon in reggae music.
The man has given you hits like ‘Jah Bless Me’, ‘Love Is’, ‘Longing For’ and the phenomenal smash hit ‘Unconditional Love’, all of which cemented his place in the landscape of the reggae music scene.
He’s collaborated with the likes of Junior Reid, Sizzla, Mavado, R Kelly, Keri Hilson, Flo Rida and Rick Ross and his songs have dominated the reggae charts the world over for over a decade. He’s already spoken of as the future of reggae music and comparisons have been drawn between him and the king of reggae music himself, Bob Marley.
On your latest album the Cure you’ve transitioned from just being an artist to getting into the production side of things, why did you decide to make that transition?
Because we get sell out, plain and straight.
Most man say they are a producer; they’re a reducer, reduce the music and reduce the quality and put out a quantity of product every day, a pack of songs that reach all DJs, systems overload. Everyday 20 million songs come out of Jamaica. It’s like when your email is overfull you have to clean it out, so it’s like this thing I run right now.
In the mainstream they give songs time, you spend time on the record, you give the record a time period to grow so people could listen, learn and know. I don’t understand how we rushing it so, we Jamaicans I mean, some of us rushing.
It’s a hustle because we can send songs and get a quick money to buy food or maybe to buy a bag and a car, it’s a hustle, guy don’t care. So listen to me, I decided to take up production, I produce songs already and give to producers and I get no credits. They give me their riddims and that’s all, they don’t even know how the song was recorded.
When I send back the song, the song was harmonised, song was well written and I even change up some things on the riddim, and give it to them. You’re not really the producer, I should get some credit outta this because I’m not only the artist, I’m the producer, part of it. After a while when I give them their product and realise how it was mixed, they had some other instrument, like “why did he put that there? I don’t like this mix”, so you know what I’m gonna put some money in my career, I’m gonna sit down and spoil up some songs myself.
Then it’s my money if I wanna mess up some songs, then I can mess it up. The first song I mess up is ‘That Girl’, I’m good at messing up some good songs so I’m gonna keep doing it. Then I released John Legend ‘All Of Me’ cover and people loved it. I mean I’m not gonna compare myself to John, John you are the man, but I heard it a lot. Even Barry G, one of the biggest DJs Jamaica ever seen, “I prefer this more than John Legend version”, and I heard this so many times.
People say they like my version better but all I could say is thanks, it’s a good song, I did a good job, I will accept I did a good job but it’s not my song, the original is always the best. I see myself as a cut above the rest outta all these reggae artists because remember this, I must be doing something good for still lasting.
Are you happy that you are now in charge?
You can hear a hit Jah Cure every one year or every two year, we keep coming with something. I’m so happy to know that I’m in charge, I’m telling you man, there’s so much good music out there to be played. The best is yet to come because I’m exploring, I’m just gonna plunge in music and dive off into the sea and the ocean of music, shower and bathe in it.
I’m gonna make music nicer, I’m gonna make reggae more interesting, I’m gonna make them talk because remember I’m an artist that a lot of people criticise, until they love me, they realise “this guy’s a nice guy, he’s not doing any harm, he’s not a killer, he’s a lover, he’s a good guy”.
Of course I am, I’m not fake, I just want you to like my music, you don’t have to like me. I want the support of the UK to come in, seriously now it’s time for me to come in the UK. I want to come, I’m asking, who hold the key to that locker I’m asking kindly. I would never let anyone regret it and that’s a promise. I wanna come UK man and fill people’s eyes with tears and them heart with joy. The world can come watch, they can bring the biggest media. Test me, try me, UK just gimme the chance! Gimme the biggest venue we can find.
That would be the biggest reggae concert! It’d have to be like Wembley stadium.
Wembley me wanna go from the beginning, that was said from six, seven, eight, nine, ten years ago. Seriously it’s not just a yesterday demand. The good thing about it, I keep building and England receiving good songs and the catalogue is growing, so I know when that day come I can’t compensate for one hour in England, that would be a disrespect to people. If I do get the chance to come to England, I am sure it would be the first place in the world that I would perform for two hours. I’m so serious because I love England so much and I love if the people in England support me. I’m not coming for the money and the fame, I’m coming so I could sing. It would bring out the best and the UK deserve the best, you can’t come UK and do nothing less. Me and my family right now would love to take a visit to England, I want to come into the UK so I can spread the message of love.
Just rewind the clock a little piece because people see all the hits and how you’ve dominated the charts and all them kinda thing…
True, true, them no understand. Before ‘Longing For’ it was ‘Divide And Rule’, I wanna give them a selection of songs that was there, ‘Jah Bless Me’ was before ‘Longing For’. I extend the catalogue with ‘Love Is’, ‘Sticky’, ‘Woman I Love You’, ‘What Will It Take, ‘True Reflections’, ‘Breakfast In Bed’, that was a big song in England. This is where we at now, ‘Rasta’, ‘Made In California’, ‘Set Me Free’, ‘Show Love’, these are the songs we’re trying to extend the catalogue with.
Tell me the creative history behind that track.
That’s my first song that break me number one all over the world. When I make ‘Longing For’ I was in prison and the warden was shutting down the prison cells at the time, and three cells away from mine and I was at the last five minutes of the song to finish up. I was telling my friend, “please punch this record but right now because we’ve got five minutes” and he missed it, so I get mad and smash my headphone on the ground, I almost punched my friend I was so mad to get it finished. I go down in my gut and come up with this note, and hit the note so perfect and I didn’t want him to miss it. So he missed it, and I tried the note again and I hit it but I didn’t think it was as good as the first one, but nobody would know, because you never heard the first one. So I finished it before they closed down the prison, finalised the CD, sent it out, they bring it to Don Corleon, clean it up, chop it up. But I produced the song, I did everything, he just touched it up. Then the rest is history. Thank god for ‘Longing For’, it opened a big door for me.
Ok ‘Life We Live’, is that the official single cause you have three songs around right now?
Yeah it’s the first single off the album, otherwise ‘That Girl’ was just the beginning of the album, the making of it.
What was the inspiration behind that track in particular?
‘Life We Live’ is just one of them songs, we go through enough struggles, it was easy. Every time you try and go forwards people will try and draw you back but just dust yourself off, move forward and try again.
You have these webisodes, Jah Cure – The Cure Movement, what was the vision behind doing that?
One of bredrins and I do it, we do the webisodes, come up with the ideas and we need to do that until we can move to our own TV show in the future. Yeah man, so much adventurous stuff out there, it needs to be out there, see the life we’re living.
Yeah document it kinda thing. One of the words that’s used a lot is the word “legend”, and the root of the word is “legacy”, so beyond this album what kind of legacy do you want to leave behind as an artist?
Me wanna leave one of the greatest legacies ever leave by mankind in the music business, I just wanna be grateful if such thing happen.
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