Entertainment

Gyptian talks Sex, Love and Reggae

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Senior Observer writer

Friday, October 18, 2013    

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GYPTIAN moved out of the dancehall category in 2010 with the catchy dance number Hold Yuh which caught on big time with disc jocks and clubbers in the United States.

The singer-songwriter makes another push at the charts in that country with his latest studio effort.

Sex, Love and Reggae is the title of the album which will be released October 29 by VP Records. It comes five months after the Queens, New York company serviced his SLR EP to select markets in the US as a precursor to the main project which hears the singer working with high-profile artistes and producers.

Promotion for Sex, Love and Reggae has already began. Gyptian kicked off a month of performance and radio dates on October 10 in Palm Bay, Florida, and is expected to perform this evening at the Elements venue in Gainesville, also in Florida.

Hold Yuh -- which featured a remix with Trinidad-born rapper Nicky Minaj -- was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America early this year. It was the first such recognition for a reggae song in the US since Damian Marley's Welcome to Jamrock five years earlier.

It is also the last major hit song by a Jamaican artiste in the US. Two weeks ago, Splash reported dismal sales figures for highly-touted albums by acts like Shaggy, which heightens expectations for the new Gyptian set.

The title song is co-produced by the in-demand Major Lazer and Jerry Wonda, and hears Gyptian in tandem with American singer Angella Hunte and Trinidadian soca singer Bunji Garlin.

Hunte is a singer-songwriter in the one-to-watch column. Co-writer of the massive Jay Z/Alicia Keys hit Empire State of Mind, she is also on Vixen, Sex, Love and Reggae's lead track.

Other collaborations on the album are One More Time with Guyanese singer Melanie Fiona and Majestic Love which features British vocalist Estelle.

Aaron Talbert, vice-president of sales and marketing at VP Records, spoke to Splash about the Gyptian project. He does not believe it will be tough getting back in the game after a three-year break.

"He's definitely been active, he's been touring and releasing tracks. The thing is, the market has changed to where consumers have an option, they don't necessarily need to buy an album to get the song they like," he explained. "It's a lot more singles-focused in terms of how you develop the album plan and how you stay on top of how you develop the artiste."

Hold Yuh was Gyptian's international breakthrough. His previous hit songs including Serious Times and Mama Don't Cry, made waves in Jamaica, the Caribbean and ethnic charts in the United States.

Released in early 2010, Hold Yuh first entered Billboard's R&B/Hip Hop chart, peaking at 31. The remix with Minaj reached as far as 77 on the publication's main Hot 100 Singles list.

Hold Yuh's crossover appeal got the attention of the Soul Train and Music Of Black Origin awards which named him their Best Reggae Act for 2010.

Three years since your last hit song is an eternity in contemporary music. Talbert says VP will aggressively push Vixen and Sex, Love and Reggae to a diverse radio audience and make Gyptian as visible as possible through interviews on influential mediums like the Hot 97 radio station.

While most of his live dates are scheduled for areas with solid dancehall/reggae foundations, Gyptian is expected to make stops in Georgia and California.

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