Blackout back on musical trail
BACK in the day, Christopher Hendricks hung out at various Kingston recording studios, cutting songs for some of dancehall's top producers. Over a decade since leaving Jamaica, he is back on the trail, looking for that elusive hit song.
Now based in Bristol, England, Blackout recently released two songs, Rastaman and No Mafia. The former is produced by Curtis Lynch and features snippets of the John Holt hit, Police In Helicopter.
The latter is a duet Blackout recorded with roots singer Barry Brown (of Far East fame). Recorded in the late 1980s, No Mafia was produced by Gary Lee.
"When I was in Jamaica, I was popular on shows but I never got a hit song an' that was frustrating," he told the Observer by telephone from Bristol. "I'm a bit more knowledgeable about the business now, so I'm really putting mi all into it."
The Portland-born Blackout was raised in the Omara Road section of Kingston, an area known for its sound system heritage.
He has lived in Britain for the past 13 years. Though he had worked with producers such as Sly and Robbie, and had a management deal with Supreme Promotions, his career had not taken off.
While in England for a series of shows with the Mighty Diamonds, he decided to stay, settling in Bristol, a city with a vibrant dancehall/reggae community.
For the past five years, he has been involved in radio, hosting The Blackout and Noel Show with his brother on Ujima Radio 98 FM, a community station in Bristol.
"We talk about social issues affecting the community, but we also discuss music, where it's going and where it's coming from," he said.
Blackout also serves as a mentor to inmates in British prisons.