Empress Ayeola gets Straight To The Point

Saturday, December 19, 2015

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Oblivious
to the building material around her in an under-construction building, a focused Empress Ayeola listens to tracks from her album,
Straight To The Point
, giving details on each.

Her second album, it is largely inspired by the London-born singer’s childhood in Manchester, her parents’ home parish.


The 14-track set was initially earmarked for a 2013 release but two incidents delayed the date.


"After it was packaged the producer of the album had an awful experience that was almost fatal. Then I changed management and they decided to hold back on promotion," said Empress Ayeola, who is in Jamaica promoting Straight To The Point.


Reggae Lock Di World is the album’s lead song. Along with Country Life and Beautiful Jamaica, it represents the heritage Empress Ayeola credits for shaping her lifestyle and music.


On Rastafari Grow Mi, she salutes the movement she embraced 20 years ago. It was the focus of Isat Innat, her debut album which came out in 2007.


The popularity of that album’s first song, Higher And Higher, earned Empress Ayeola a following in Europe and spots on several reggae festivals on that continent.


"On this album we went for a different feel and sound but it carries the same power. The first album was about Rastafari and my livity, this album is about my roots," she said.


Empress Ayeola was born Janet Reid in the United Kingdom but came to Jamaica as an infant with her parents. She has fond memories of growing up in Manchester and attending Cross Keys Secondary school where she had a ‘strong mentor’ in singer Sonia Spence.


Returning to England in 1984, she began pursuing a music career in the early 1990s, recording for different producers.


In 1997, she became Empress Ayeola after ‘sighting Rasta’.


"It was something I felt for some time. I remember when I told my mother she said ‘Yuh mus’ be crazy’. But it was a powerful calling," Empress Ayeola recalled.


While she is eyeing another round of dates in Europe come early 2016, making a mark in Jamaica is just as important.


"The last album did well here, I really can’t complain. I got a lot of press which was good for me, so I’m looking for more of that."

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