Abatau does it his way

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Senior staff reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, February 12, 2016

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For the children of successful musicians, standing in the shadows of their parents can be a daunting task. Many are gripped by fear and the constant thought of not measuring up.

That is not the case of rising musician and recording artiste Abatau.

The 18-year-old son of reggae music standard-bearer Tony Rebel is determined to cut his own path and blaze his own trail.

"The decision to go into music was something I really did on my own. It was not because my father was into the music so I felt it was something that I had to do, but rather a calling based on a deep love for music," he said.

"I can clearly remember when I wrote my first song. I performed it for my mother. She was so excited that she called my father and I sang it for him too. He had me perform at the launch of Rebel Salute and based on the resposne I was put on the show, and I have been performing at the festival ever since."

Abatau describes his music in one word — "unique". He further explained to Splash that this sound is innate as it comes to him naturally and is only made aware of certain elements when they are pointed out to him.

"Nuff time after people hear my music they come up to me and say ‘I like that jazz or African piece that you drop in’. I have to explain to them that it was not on purpose but it just come to me and I do it."

The teenager recently graduated from Calabar High School where he obtained six subjects at the CXC level. His plans see him moving on to the School of Music at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. But he is taking the time off to immerse himself into all aspects of music and push his current single Lowe Mi Natty.

"My main focus is the music. Right now I am in such a great place and I am learning so much that it makes me excited about the possibilities the future holds," he said.

"I never say okay, I want to be this place in five years or that place in 10 years, because it’s really not for me to say, but where I am now makes me happy," Abatau related.

In addition to a famous father, Abatau’s stepfather is former Third World percussionist Irvin ‘Carrot’ Jarrett, whom the youngster describes as an influence of the highest order.

"We talk about the music a lot and he is a great advisor. He is a percussionist and I play drums as well, so we really can share a lot. He also introduces me to recordings that I may never have heard on my own, so he really plays a big role in my musical journey."

Abatau and his Tribe Azizi band are currently part of a local tour for Reggae Month, which takes new acts to various locations across the island and kicked off in the Corporate Area on Ash Wednesday.

"This tour is actually my first tour, so it will be nothing less than my best. I’m ready for the people to see who Abatau is and what I’m about, alongside my band Tribe Azizi. I’m bringing the music to grab the minds of the young and old, creating consciousness," said Abatau.

— Richard Johnson

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