Holding a vibe with ativaroots-reggae artiste Hempress Sativa
HEMPRESS Sativa (given Kerida Johnson) is among the latest wave of roots-reggae acts.
The daughter of Jah Love selector Albert 'Ilawi Malawi' Johnson, Hempress Sativa was raised in the Twelve of Israel Rastafarian faith, strongly influenced by the music of the 1970s.
She is currently working on her album The Unconquerable which is scheduled to be released in January.
The Jamaica Observer recently caught up with the 'Hempress' as she introduced us to her music and message.
Jamaica Observer: What does the name Hempress Sativa mean?
Hempress: The name Hempress Sativa represents a state of consciousness, a state of high. I feel like that name represents me to the fullest. I also named myself that because everyone who knows me knows that I'm an advocate of the legalisation and decriminalisation of marijuana. It is a name that represents the fact that I am Rasta, and there is some innuendo to it.
Jamaica Observer: How would you describe your musical style and sound?
Hempress: My music is kinda fiery. It's spirited, message-music really. I aim towards trying to spark interest, and to provoke thoughts into the individual's mind that would listen to my music. I wouldn't put it in any genre, because I dabble in a lot of genres; African, reggae, hip-hop, it doesn't matter. I don't want to limit myself to just being a reggae artiste, I'm not just that, but I do a lot of reggae.
Jamaica Observer: How do you think the music industry has evolved since you started out?
Hempress: It has advanced a whole lot. It is easier for people now to access music. It's easier to get your music out there. Technology has increased and now you can upload your music using apps. It allows you to connect more with listeners. As opposed to back in the day when you had to find a studio and just do a one record and that's it, now you can go into the studio, you can cut, pause and edit your music, creating a better product. I still value the traditional methods, but you have to move with the time. Opportunities are available, and we should make use of them.
Jamaica Observer: How have people reacted to you as an upcoming female Rastafarian artiste?
Hempress: Really it has been very difficult. From what I observe, people tend to draw to music different from what I am doing, the "jump up" music. I do spirited music, which is not necessarily for the individual to jump and prance and dance. It is really for you to just shut up and listen to the message in what I am saying, and see what you can take away from it. And, the main difficulty I have found is that people don't want to play enough of our music. They need to just listen to the music and decide what good music is, and not just play what is 'hot' right now.
Jamaica Observer: What other projects are you working on?
Hempress: I have a new single out called Kush I Love.
Jamaica Observer: What are your plans for the rest of the year and into 2014?
Hempress: Doing more empowering and uplifting music, maybe some overseas shows, and basically just trying to connect with the people and get the music out there and promote it.
Jamaica Observer: Which artistes have you worked with so far?
Hempress: I have worked with Kabaka Pyramid, Micah Shemiah, Bred from Chalice, and a group from Manhattan called the east Village Pharmacy.
Jamaica Observer: Where do you see you career heading in the next five years?
Hempress: I don't really sit down and meditate so far. Honestly, I'm just taking it one day at a time. My aim is to make good music, music to inspire, so once I am on that course and keeping up to the principle of Ras Tafari I know I am on the right track.