September 28, 2012

Richie Spice to perform Sunday at Hope4Hope Concert

Kingston Jamaica - reggae singer, Richie Spice is one of the artistes scheduled to perform at the   Hope4Hope on Sunday, September 30, to benefit the Hope Institute. 
The concert is held annually  in memory of Monique ‘Mahima’ Geourzoung, who held the Hope Institute in high regard. It is Jamaica’s only specialist oncology hospital dedicated to  the treatment and care of cancer patients at any point on their journey. 
According to Richie Spice, he is honoured to be a part of the lineup for this extremely worthy cause.
“This life is all about helping others along the way. I feel special to be asked to be a part of this fund raising event and give thanks to the organisers,” Richie Spice stated.
Coinciding with Monique’s memorial, this year’s concert will feature performances from Beenie Man, Alaine, Richie Spice, Tifa, Freddie McGregor, Jah 9, Luciano, I-Wayne, Rootz Underground, Jesse Royal, Skygrass, Influentill and special surprise guests. 
Richie Spice, who has been busy on the international circuit and in studio, will be releasing his latest album, Soothing Sounds: Acoustic in October. Described as  a collector’s item, the album is a personal project for Spice who wears the producer’s hat on this offering.
The first official single, Free, is currently available on iTunes and has been receiving heavy rotation.
Music for Hope4Hope will be provided by Renaissance, Coppershot and HMV.  
Gates open at 2pm and show-time is 5pm.

September 21, 2012

Richie Spice fluently speaks the language of acoustic reggae

 Subtract the hard-hitting drums and heavy bass-line from reggae music and focus on the guitar (not electric) the instrumentation and in particular the voice, and what you get is acoustic reggae. More precisely, Soothing Sounds: Acoustic, the soon-to-be-released album from reggae stalwart, Richie Spice.

Already being praised for his bold move into an area of reggae much that many artistes shy away from, the eclectic Richie Spice surely isn’t doing this album for the cameras. “It’s not about show-and-tell,” Spice explains mildly.

Soothing Sounds: Acoustic is another step in my journey as I seek knowledge and try to pour out what I have learnt into other vessels,” the uber conscious Rastaman explains.

He agrees that in reggae music, there is no real mould for the acoustic, and it is this which has challenged the singer’s creativity and enhances his overall sense of achievement on the project. Free, the first single from Spice’s acoustic set, has garnered much critical acclaim since its release and, not surprisingly, the album seems poised for international success. Perhaps even a Grammy?

With his trademark lingering smile, Richie Spice thought about the possibility of a Grammy Award for Soothing Sounds: Acoustic.
“Well, we have definitely put in work that is of the highest standard, musically. No cutting back. The truth is that we don’t judge our work based on whether or not it wins an award, however, to the world those things are considered important. Winning a Grammy will not make it a great album, and not winning a Grammy will not mean that it’s a bad album. But if a Grammy award is what it takes to make the world stop and listen a bit more keenly, then that would be a good thing,” the reggae singer declared.

Interestingly, there is precedence for an acoustic album claiming the coveted gong, as in 2010, Stephen Marley won with Mind Control Acoustic, having previously won a Grammy for Best Reggae Album for Mind Control in 2008.

Acoustic reggae has been likened to jazz and Spice, wearing the cap as producer, turns up the volume with acoustic rock, Spanish guitar, jazz and African drum beats. Soothing Sounds: Acoustic can definitely be considered a collector’s item and for Richie Spice it is a “personal, close-to-the-heart production”.  

The first official single, “Free,” is currently available on iTunes and the second single “Crying”, will be released on iTunes and radio on September 25. The video for Crying was shot recently on location in Jamaica.

Other tracks on  Soothing Sounds: Acoustic, which is scheduled to be released in October,  include “True Love,” “My Heart” and “My Girl”. 

September 20, 2012

An I-Octane performance

By Richard Johnson

OVER the past five weeks, the quality of performances at the live music series, Behind the Screens at Usain Bolt’s Tracks & Records, has steadily increased.
Tessanne Chin, Tifa and Christopher Martin have put their stamp on the series. This week, it was up to conscious crusader I-Octane to bring his mettle and that he did.

By the end of his one-hour set, he had ostensibly purged all forms of ‘bad-mind’ with his firebrand lyrics and showed off his global gyalis” persona.
With such a wide range of topics to choose from, I-Octane gave those gathered real treat.
With his distinctive husky, gravel tone booming through the venue, he reeled off a steady flow of hits, and by the time he chanted opening lines to each, the audience took it and made it their own.
My Life, Nuh Love Inna Dem, Nuh Ramp Wid We, LOVE, Love the Vibes, Study Yuh Friends, Badda Dan Dem, and Come Up Inna Dis had the packed house in a frenzy. With salutes and sounds mimicking gunshots, they paid tribute to the Clarendon-born singjay.
I-Octane turned up the heat just after midnight when, out of the audience appeared deejay Bounty Killer.
His presence stoked the already blazing vibe and when they paired on the popular Badmind Dem a Pree, the temperature rose.
The ‘seven-star general’ would drop one other track, Look Into My Eyes, before departing.
I-Octane closed his set with the somber Lose a Friend, as if to calm the frenzy he had created.
It was a set sans the pyrotechnics and props he normally uses when performing outdoors. He too recognised this, noting: “Mi nuh haffi jump up and lick clappers fi get forward.”
The series continues next week with popular singjay Konshens.

Jamaica observer

September 07, 2012

Richie Spice ready to open the next chapter

Conscious reggae singer, Richie Spice, explored the depth of his musical ability with the 2011 release of his fifth studio album, the critically acclaimed Book of Job
Rated as the most digitally sold Reggae album for 2011 by iTunes and the New York Times, Book of Job, distributed by VP Records, peaked between #1 and #4 on the Billboard Reggae Charts for a period of six months, from the date of release.  Propelling the popularity of Book of Job were hits such as Black Woman, produced by Raging Fyah, Yap Yap, produced by Lenky Marsden, Legal, produced by Richie Spice, and New Day, which held down the #1 spot in Kenya and Grenada, for three months.
However, as successful as the Book of Job proved to be, Richie Spice is not one to sit on his laurels and is a firm believer in the saying, 'the best is yet to come'.
"Book of Job did well for reggae, not just for me Richie Spice. With all the talk about reggae music not having an impact, it is important to understand that there are a lot of great songs being produced by reggae singers, producers and musicians, but unfortunately these songs, for whatever reason, are not being heard. I have songs which have topped charts in Kenya and other countries in Africa, yet Jamaica hardly plays these songs. And I am sure that it is the same for a lot of other reggae artistes. But we do what we have to do and keep on putting out good, cultural, conscious music for our fans to enjoy," the usually quiet reggae singer declared.
Richie Spice, who is always in demand internationally, noted that whatever the obstacles, he is committed to staying true to his roots as he continues to stimulate his creative processes in the production of great music.
Christened Richell Bonner, the singer has traversed the globe, so much so that his Jamaican fans yearned to see him, and when they did, it was pure musical inspiration.
"Yeah.. I had a great time at A St Mary Mi Come From," Richie reminisced with a big smile.
And it was obvious to those in the audience that he did. Performing in a segment that included artistes such as Singing Melody, the duo of Jigsy King and Tony Curtis and Chuck Fender, Richie Spice held the stage steady and skillfully engaged his audience.
"I would love to perform in Jamaica more, but as we all know the shows are just not happening, so we have to go to the festivals in Europe and California because that's how we make our living," the singer explained simply.
Despite a hectic tour schedule, Richie Spice has still found time to work on yet another album, which is scheduled for release this year.
"This one will be really special," he promised. "I have been toying with this idea for a long time, but nothing happens before the right time...and that time is now," he stated.  
Since 2004 Richie Spice has been elevated as one of reggae’s most in demand talents and the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. He received the Most Cultural Artist Award at the 13th annual South Florida Reggae Soca Awards in 2005; he was voted and received the Male Singer/Singjay of the Year at Jamaica’s IRIE FM Awards in 2007 & 2008 and following his performance at the first annual “Black My Story” concert held in Kingston in 2008 Spice was honored for his positive musical contributions. 
His 2004 album “Spice in Your Life” was listed as the year’s best reggae release by the New York Times; “In the Streets To Africa”, reached number 6 on the Billboard Reggae chart and one of the album’s biggest hits “Youth Dem Cold” peaked at number 59 on the Billboard Top 100 Singles Chart and ranked at number 29 on Vibe Magazine’s Best 44 songs of 2007. “Gideon Boot” debuted at no. 1 on the Billboard Reggae chart, in May 2008.
According to Richie Spice, “My responsibility is to use the talent that God gave me as an instrument to uplift people who are facing the struggle worldwide and let them feel happy in themselves. It is all about righteousness, and endorsing the love of the people, good over evil and life over death.”