March 27, 2013

Droop Lion confirmed for six-week European tour

KINGSTON JAMAICA - Reggae singer Droop Lion, has clearly hitched his wagon to a star for 2013. He started off the year riding high on the acclaim he received at hardcore stage-show Sting in December 2012, and followed it up with yet another memorable  performance at the recently-concluded, Follow The Arrow.

Indicating that he was more than ready for the big times, Droop Lion is credited with really getting the star segment of the show started at Follow The Arrow and the crowd showed their fulsome appreciation. As expected, his signature song, Freeway, caused quite a stir, but Droop was able to command the attention of the mixed crowd for his entire 15-minute set. And, having achieved his goal of making local audiences start singing his songs when they hear his name, Droop Lion and his management feel that the time is right for the artiste to spread his wings globally.

Come April 12, the singer with the big voice will hit the road in a meaningful way, as he gears up for his debut European tour which will see him taking centrestage as the opening act for the acclaimed reggae artiste, Capleton. Droop, who has been spending numerous hours in rehearsals, confesses that he is both excited and cautious at the same time.

“Touring is what every artiste dreams of,” he stated, “and I am humbled to know that I will be embarking on my first real tour of Europe as the opening act for a reggae artiste of the caliber of Capleton. In some ways, touring is like facing the unknown…you have to interact with fans, many of whom don’t even speak your language, and that can be a bit daunting. But at the end of the day, music is the universal language and I will be speaking through my songs,” Droop Lion explained.

A quick look at his itinerary shows that the reggae artiste has a tight schedule with all of 13 shows booked between April 12 and April 26, during which time he will be traversing through France and Italy. Among the venues in France  for April are La Rodia in Besancon;, Salle Bernard Pfeiffer in Les Arcs; Le Transbordeur in Lyon; - Les Passagers du Zinc in Avignon; Victoire 2 in Montpellier and Le Moulin in Marseille. Italian cities which will host the reggae artiste include Rome, Lecce, Sicily, Milan and Venice.

The tour is on schedule to last for six weeks and will also encompass Austria, Finland, Germany and Holland.

Droop Lion savoured his first taste of success with the single, Freeway, which he followed up with the soothing Pray for Them, a song he says he penned after a flood a few years ago, which saw two men being washed away in the Sandy Gully. Other standout songs in his steadily growing repertoire include Lockdown, a protest song against police brutality, and the thought-provoking Long Way Down.

March 25, 2013

Shalli promotes Brand Jamaica in new music video

Many persons have often lamented the fact that Jamaican music videos hardly ever showcase the true beauty of the island paradise. Well, enter Canada-based singer, Shalli, with her video for the patriotic single, Down In Jamaica, and instantly praises are being heaped on her.

Shalli and her team traversed the island and shot glorious footage of Jamaica at its very best. Of course, there is the sea, sun and sand aspect of the visit, but there is so much more. The happy faces of the children tell a story; the boys playing football, the cane man expertly peeling the cane; , rafting, the ‘dutchie’ with the ackee and saltfish being cooked – in fact,  a great mixture of the sights, sounds and taste of the island chronicling the the Jamaican experience, all in one video. And, of course, the fact that Shalli herself looks the part of a real island girl enhances the authenticity of the video.

With Brand Jamaica on the lips of everyone globally, Shalli clearly has a winning combination with the carefully crafted lyrics, which show her familiarity with and love for the island and the colourful, inspiring, music video.

She noted that Down In Jamaica has special significance to her and it is a song that she poured her heart and soul into. “I wanted to do a powerful tribute song to Jamaica and the fantastic people and this is it,” she said simply.

The theme of the Youtube comments is that this video beckons one to “Come to Jamaica”. Actually, Down In Jamiaca evokes nostalgia and instantly makes the Jamaican living overseas want to go back home, while at the same time, it speaks eloquently to the prospective visitor who is desirous of spending quality time at the perfect Caribbean get-away. There have beenlots of encouragement forShalli to send the video to the Jamaica Tourist Board and let them use it as part of their marketing strategy to encourage visitors to the island.

According to one blogger, “I hope that someone in the tourist industry will pick this song and video. My perspective is that the cinematography, lyric, musical arrangement and performance are good. The sound is very clean and the performing artist is a beautiful princess.”

Shalli has been singing for audiences in her church choir since the age of five; by age 12, she was writing poetry and at 14 she was crafting lyrics to original songs. In her later teen years, she would perform some of these original songs with a musical group she helped to create.

The budding songstress has continued to hone her image and powerful on-stage presence and has performed alongside many of reggae’s leading acts. She has performed at festivals, clubs and lounges in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia to ever increasing acclaim. Her childhood exposure to multiple musical styles has borne fruit as she realizes that in spite of the language barrier between her and the audience, her music is a language of its own that has allowed her to bridge the gap between herself and many different cultures.

This ability to cross cultural lines is a key feature of Shalli’s music that can be found in her songs today. 

March 22, 2013

March to Jamaica House becomes Protoje music video

KINGSTON, JAMAICA - Just three weeks ago, a group of young Jamaicans exercised civil disobedience in remarkable fashion on Hope Road. The occasion appeared to be a video shoot for Protoje's 'I&I,' the second track on his Billboard and iTunes charting album, The 8 Year Affair. Yet, much more occurred on that Friday morning. Moreover, it was flawlessly executed.

It was approximately 8-o-clock and bumper-to-bumper traffic crawled its way toward Half Way Tree. Just then scores of Rastafarian youth, Reggae Revivalists and their supporters spilled onto the street. They marched from the Twelve Tribes of Israel headquarters at Clieveden Avenue, made their way pass the Bob Marley Museum to King's House, the Governor-General's residence, then continued on to Jamaica House, which houses the Office of the Prime Minister.

"Every time I envisioned what this video would look like, all I kept seeing was I and I and I making this trek," said Protoje. "The song is aggressive but it is still love that we are coming with. I wanted the video to show that energy."

The 'I&I' video features the likes of Kabaka Pyramid, No-Maddz, Jesse Royal, Hempress Sativa, Jah9, Chronixx plus members of Zincfence, Pentateuch and Raging Fyah along with other familiar faces. Members of Protoje's band, The Indiggnation, are also prominent in various scenes.

What made the whole ordeal special was that it was more than just a mere music video shoot. According to author Dutty Bookman, who assisted with organizing the march, it was revolutionary action.

"The music video was more like a smokescreen," Bookman recalled. "We handed out some thought-provoking leaflets with inspiring words from Haile Selassie I, Marcus Garvey and Walter Rodney. I could see that drivers and pedestrians really appreciated the information they were receiving."

The distributed leaflet, which can now be downloaded on the internet, was prepared in part by I-Nation Books and Necessities. During the walk, I-Nation also displayed some of its stock, including Rodney's Groundings With My Brothers as well as other Afrocentric titles.

The procession did not get very far before Jamaica Constabulary Force vehicles appeared on the scene, but officers found neither disorder nor fault with the gathering. Marchers largely remained on the sidewalks or toed the center line in the street, hardly disrupting the flow of traffic. In the end, the police simply escorted the march until the crowd disbanded at Jamaica House.

"It wasn't a protest or anything like that," Protoje remarked. "I and I just felt like taking a stroll down a public street and have fun doing it."

Directed and edited by kush.asher, the video has the subtle feel and imagery of a prime time television newscast. The entire march was recorded in one take with the participation of a number of filmmakers and photographers, including El Puru, Ezra Tafari, Sabriya Simon, I-Shango, Matthew McCarthy, Taj Francis, Ikem Smith, Randy Richards, Big Mike and others.

Commenting on the significance of the 'I&I' video concept, kush.asher explained, "It is special because Rastafarians were allowed to be active in front of Jamaica House. Not that long ago we would have been shot!" 


March 20, 2013

Elektracuted! Prepare to be shocked

Kingston Jamaica - What is it that makes this mix-tape from sassy Zip jock, Elektra such a massive hit?

Well, for starters, the name itself, Elektracuted – a clever play on words –  instantly tickles the interest and promises much.  Pumping with energy, Elektracuted does exactly what a mix-tape is supposed to do – keep the listener interested from start to finish with a slew of songs that show the dexterity and musical knowledge of the person at the control of the wheels of steel.
In the intro, DJ Wah Wah, calls Elektracuted “di baddest mixtape ever” and we delightfully agree. ZJ Elektra rolls out the ‘baddest’ singers, deejays and rappers, from Beres Hammond to Bounty Killer to Drake to I-Octane, Tarrus Riley, Spragga Benz, Ce’cile, Rihanna, Rick Ross, Kartel, Mavado, Lil Wayne, Chris Martin, Konshens and more. She chooses songs which see the artistes exploring topics such as love, friendship, cheating, badmind and jealousy. 

To get her point across, Elektra uses reggae, dancehall and rap as she connects with her listeners of all ages, while obviously having fun and keeping the vibe upbeat. She manages to sound so lively that one could easily pop the CD into a player, turn up the volume and get the party started. And, just when you think it can’t get any better, Elektracuted turns up the voltage and gets real grass-roots with a herb segment that is so smoking hot that it wouldn’t be a shock to see the actual CD start burning. (La-la-la-lighter! Lighter!)

Quite appropriately, Elektra sets the tone with the Donovon Germain-produced Feel Good riddim and reels off Beres’ I Feel Good followed by Cyaan Sleep by Romaine Virgo. She then slips into a groove that showcases dancehall and a segment dominated by rappers. Included here is a drop by Drake himself, endorsing the selecting skills of Elektra. Of course, no mix-tape could be complete without a ‘gallis’ segment and Elektracuted segues from bunning weed into a slew of slick gallis anthems, which is followed by a hardcore bubbling segment in homage to the “good body gal dem”.

Delus’ Gallis From Birth pays tribute to the gallis, followed by I-Octane’s Gal A Gimme Bun remixed to tell the world “Mi nah spend no time wid Elektra and she a gimme bun.” (Oops!)  

Elektra then clears the space for what is a shockingly clean “bruk out and wine” party that traverses the spectrum of the stripper wine, the six thirty, the “up deh, up deh” and the champion bubbler as she “bounce da one yah fi di gal dem bubble pon” in true hardcore "bruk it down" style.

Elektracuted is really one of those must-have mix-tapes. It’s entertaining, on point, clean and full of energy and pure fun.

Play di big tune dem, Elektra!


March 13, 2013

Spice To Release Hot Videos For "Dun Wife" and "Twerk"

Kingston Jamaica - Dancehall artiste, Spice, has released two new singles, "Twerk" and "Dun Wife" for which videos were shot and will be released in a few days.

"Dun Wife" which is reminiscent of early 90s dancehall has already become a fan-favourite and Spice says the video will feature a number of surprises for fans. "I definitely can't let everything out the box yet but people will be in for a treat with this video."

In addition, "Twerk", which features a faster tempo has female fans everywhere energetically 'twerking' to the beat. The video for "Twerk" which was recorded last week, will be both colorful and entertaining, says Spice.

"The video will showcase the twerking technique for those fans who are not sure how to do it as yet. Apart from that it's going to be a very sexy but fun, dancing video. So fans can look out for that in a few days," she says.

Immediately after releasing both videos, Spice will leave the island for shows in England. 

March 09, 2013

I-Octane is now the Brand Ambassador for Busta

Acclaimed reggae singer, I-Octane, has signed a one-year contract which will see the him acting as the brand ambassador for Busta, the the leading fruit flavoured carbonated soft drink in the Caribbean. The brand is the only home grown product in its category that’s distributed in more than 23 countries. The deal will see the new brand ambassador from Jamaica vocally endorsing Busta in six other Caribbean islands, including Trinidad where both his image and voice will be used. At the signing on Friday, I-Octane’s manager, Ray Alexander did the honours for the artiste who was in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where he was scheduled to perform at Club Pillows in Providenciales.
I-Octane’s manager, Ray Alexander, seals the deal with Busta soft drink regional manager, Ricardo Skyers (left) and brand manager Kyle Lee Lum.

March 08, 2013


New episode of Noisey Jamaica premiered today on Noisey's YouTube Channel. In the sixth episode of the series, we meet I-Octane, one of Jamaica's most prominent "conscious" artists, who melds dancehall sounds with Rastafari values and themes involving social justice.

It's a great episode - hope you get a chance to check it out!



March 05, 2013

ZJ ELEKTRA is ‘elek-trifying’

KINGSTON JAMAICA - Without apology, ZJ Elektra is the poster girl for ‘Elek-trifying”.

Catch her in the ZIP FM studio when she’s doing her normal one-woman band routine – selecting her set, playing great music, vibing it up and tweeting to her followers as her body undulates to the thumping rhythm of the music, and you’ll fully understand the meaning and passion that fuels ZJ Elektra.

Indeed, there’s just something very special about Elektra and it’s more than just her much-talked-about high energy on the station that’s dubbed “the high-energy station”. This Zip FM jock is a nicely wrapped package of musical versatility, while being a reservoir of knowledge with an appreciation for all things musical. Elektra, christened Sheryl Johnson, is one of those on-air radio jocks who, while playing by the rules, is never content to passively follow the leader. In fact, she prefers to be that leader who is totally unafraid of breaking new ground musically.

It stands to reason therefore, that after close to a decade on radio, Elektra has broken the glass ceiling into that male dominated sanctuary and is rightfully claiming her much-deserved piece of the pie. Her slots on Zip FM – Mondays (Girls Rush Mondays) ZIP HEAT noon - 6pm;  Thursdays - ZIP DRIVE 6pm - 10pm and Sundays - ZIP TEASE 10pm – 2am – are closely monitored by her legion of avid listeners who know that ZJ Elektra always has something special for them. And although she readily embraces her role as ‘educator’, Elektra also revels in being a disciple and is constantly seeking knowledge.

Whether she is in studio or playing at events for which she is in high demand, Elektra exercises her right to offer just a little bit more than what is expected. And this is one secret that has contributed to her staying power and her ability to flex her ever-strengthening musical muscles.  And, she balances it out with several drops of humility. Even though she has earned bragging rights on breaking quite a few songs, she remains demure and keeps on doing what she does best – playing music and keeping her audience entertained.

Having made her name on radio in Jamaica, ZJ Elektra has successfully spread her wings beyond the studio and is just as comfortable at highlighting her musical mastery at weddings, parties, corporate functions or night clubs. In fact, anywhere there is music, no matter what the genre, Elektra can be counted on to rock the audience. Her gigs have taken her outside of Jamaica, into the international marketplace, where she has made an impression on music lovers in the Caribbean and the United States. Elektra has appeared on radio stations in the Caribbean and as far away as Finland.

Her appearances include SOS Radio in St. Maarten, Power 95 FM, Hot1075 FM & Vibe103FM in Bermuda, Basso Radio in Finland, Blazin FM in St. Lucia, Vibe FM 98.9 in Cayman and The Joint on SiriusXM Radio.

As a member of Shadyville Caribbean, Elektra holds the distinction of being the only female disc jock currently on the team.  Shadyville Caribbean, an extension of DJ Whoo Kid's International Shadyville DJs fraternity, boasts some of the Caribbean's most elite DJs. The fraternity was formed with the intention of applying the Shadyville model to the Caribbean to promote the integration of music in the region with music in mainstream markets.

Very tech savvy and demonstrating talent and creativity, Elektra has also been very influential in using technology to add flavour to her shows, such as tweeting the current songs played as well as interacting via Ustreamtv.
ZJ Elektra is assiduously charting her course and continues to create an impact, especially on the younger generation. 

You can follow her on www.twitter.com/zjelektra or LIKE her PAGE on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/IamZJElektra?fref=ts for your musical updates.