Peter Lloyd: 'Never doubt your greatness'

Reggae | Thursday 8th March 2018 | Osh

We touch down with Jamaica's household name who is not only conquering music but has starred in TV shows and movies with Hollywood stars. We chat music, how he is changing the world & smoking with Denzel Washington.

Describe your current state of mind in five words or less

I feel LOVE for all.

What was it like growing up in Jamaica?

Growing up in Jamaica was a remarkable experience for me. I grew up in a loving home, three other siblings my brother and two sisters, I was the eldest, I had passionate thoughtful, loving parents. We weren't rich, or even middle class, but the truth is, I never knew that.

My parents loved music, I heard everything, RnB, Pop, Rock, classical, County n Western, and lots of Jamaican music, Ska, Minto, Rocksteady n Reggae. I had amazing friends, wonderful Jamaican food. I grew up, understanding not only my greatness but the greatness of all humanity. My father ensured that we all understood that EVERY person was special. He also ensured that we never gave up, never gave in to fear and doubt, and never made the opinions of other more than opinions. Growing up in Jamaica made me tough but loving. I guess, sunshine, and the tropical climate with organic food does that.

In those early days, how did church inspire you to get into music?

Yes, church certainly did. At age 5, my grandmother taught me a song  And The Lord Said, I performed it on the pulpit, the rest, as they say, is history.

Aside from music you also got into acting quite early on, all because of a girl - what's the story there?

Hahaha, I met a dancer with the National Dance Theater Company, she was gorgeous. We made a date to meet, in Cross Roads, but I mistakenly thought we were meeting at a Terrace, but it was a drive. So I went to the wrong address, correct name, and number but not the drive. Where I went to, they were having an audition for a television commercial. While waiting, ( I thought she was rehearsing at the back ) Paul Noble, the director and Fred Lusan the Produce, talked me into doing the audition. I got the part lol. After, I found out I was waiting for her at the wrong address.

You've since worked with some major names, from Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, Alec Baldwin, Jamie Foxx, Spike Lee - but who did you have the most fun working with? 

Hands down, Denzel Washington, unaffected. They were all great, kind and considerate, however, Denzel was simply 'one of us'.

Did the two of you smoke it together?

No we never did, but he did in our presence. Who comes to Jamaica without trying the best weed on earth?!

As well as American TV you have been on Blackbirds one of the longest-running shows in Jamaica, how was that experience for you?

The Backburns Of Royal Palm Estate was fun. It was like family. I was working with actors I grew up with, admired and learnt from. Also, it was great working in Jamaica on the most popular television series in Jamaica's history. The response from my fellow Jamaicans was overwhelming. I loved the experience.

Tell us about your latest single 'Woman'?

‘Woman’ is my very first cover in many years, but it was a single I had long wanted to do. I am a fan of John Lennon, in fact, it was Lennon who led me to The Beatles. My father owned a nightclub on Red Hills Road in Kingston called Las Vegas. It was there I heard John Lennon's masterpiece ‘Imagine’. I was astounded. The simplicity of his lyrics, the honesty of his soul, and the revolutionary nature of his mind. Then there was his delivery, conversational, one on one..true. I am also a revolutionary, John Lennon, was the ultimate revolutionary. We both see love as the ultimate power positive change.

‘Woman’ is so real, the ultimate ode to women, an honest love song about real love. I was admittedly intimidated at the thought of covering such a massive track, especially in reggae, but I sensed it was a perfect fit, I engaged the brilliant roots reggae producer Dean "Cannon" Fraser. We laid tracks at the legendary Tuff Gong Studios with the best musicians. Then, after an initial attempt, I recorded vocals at Penthouse Studios in Kingston.

I love, respect, and admire women. I think ‘Woman’, not only perfectly pays homage to them, but it is an honest reflection of real relationships. I am proud of the end produce, and am hopeful that even the purest will love it also.

Can we expect an album soon?

Yes, we we have already started work on my new album. ‘Woman’ is the first official track from that album, that's all I'm willing to share about that for now.

You've said that the purpose of your music is to "heal the world" - tell us a bit more about that?

I love human beings, I love all life. I am a positivist. I believe that what we send to the universe, the very thoughts we sow we reap ten fold. I believe that, with all of life's challenges, we have a choice to live in light or die in darkness. In this age of the superhero, my superpower is music. I think music can and does unite us, it literally heals us, it restores our soul. I live in the light, so my music is to heal, to make us happier, it unites us. My music is love. Hence my fans call me the Love Messenger. Yes, my music can heal the world..all music can.

You've toured in over 20 countries but which one stands out the most?

This will sound life a cop out but they all do. Every tour experience has been unique, so a comparison is truly difficult. I love sharing my music with the world.

What has been your proudest moment so far?

Becoming a father

So what made you start up the programme Yutes Rise? And why is it so important to you?

Yutes Rise is a deep passion of mine. Born out of a desire to build the self-esteem of children and teenagers across the globe. Self-perception is a major component in the formation of adults. A negative sense of self often leads to negative people, negative decisions, and destructive tendencies. Unfortunately, socialization in our current global community can misguide our youths. Materialism, economic imbalance, no true knowledge of their history often creates a low sense of self.

Yutes Rise, through a reggae workshop, informs youths of the evolution of reggae music, it's history, impact and it's true purpose. We use the workshop to awaken the artistry in the participants, while simultaneously reinforcing their sense of self, their inner greatness. The workshop culminates in a concert, with students and myself performing. I love children, I see the greatness in them all. Yutes Rise was formed to harness and direct that greatness on the correct path. Thus far, we have staged it in Jamaica, and the Netherlands. With more to come.

What is the greatest challenge you have ever faced in life?

This is an interesting question. I think for me, my answer is and continues to be evolving into a better version of myself. Like most of us, I continually battle with my ego, my intellect and my spiritual self. I want to be less, angry, less insecure, less judgmental, less opinionated. I strive to be a better, more open, more understanding human being. I strive to improve who I am daily, battling my own demons in the process. I strive to be a better, partner, father, friend, leader, artist, businessman, entrepreneur, a better lover. A better person. That has been and continues to be my greatest challenge.

What ideas changed your life?

My father told me at an early age:" You can achieve any goal, any dream, any ambition ". On Sunday mornings he and I would discuss life. It gave me the confidence to believe in myself. In my teen years he said once when I was conflicted about pleasing others, he said: 'never forget, the opinion of others, though sometimes valuable must be seen for what it is, an opinion.' These gems along with other altered who I am in the most positive of light. Finally, I realized we are all greatness, we are all royalty, we are all special. So I see no one greater or lesser than myself regardless of station in life.

If you could change the world in one way, what would it be?

I would want greater empathy. If we were able to walk in each other's skins, would be less likely to experience prejudice, hate, ignorance and greed. Our humanity to each other would be greater.

What would fill a swimming pool with if it could be anything?

Money, so I can further fund my soup kitchen idea in Montego Bay. The aim is to feed, clothe and shelter the homeless.

What's next for Peter Lloyd?

This year we record my third full-length studio album, not yet titled, which should be out this autumn. ‘Woman’, is actually the first release from the album. We also head back to the USA on tour for July, confirmed dates in Florida, Rhoda Island, New York City, Kansas City, with other states and cities to be announced. We also serve up some great remixes of old fan favourites. I also mentioned my soup kitcheN and we continue to promote Yute Rise across the globe. There are numerous other projects also in the works.

Any last words?

Never forget that we are all special. there is only one of yourself in the entire universe, this makes you special, unique, priceless. What you bring to the world is "one of a kind". Never doubt your greatness, your relevance or your value. Each and every one of us is special, let no person, institution, medium, government or religion tell you otherwise. I love you all.