One hot 'Winta'

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer Writer

Thursday, March 06, 2014

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PHILLIP James was a youngster when Gunman by Michael Prophet and Ini Kamoze's Wings with Me were hit songs.

As musician/producer 'Winta' James, he has reworked the beats to both songs, giving him his biggest success to date.

James' Rootsman rhythm, released in February 2013, is drawn from the Ini Kamoze hit. It features songs like Here Comes Trouble by Chronixx, Gunman World by Damian 'Jnr Gong' Marley, Great is H.I.M. (Iba Mahr), Reverence (Jah9), Cold Girl (Tarrus Riley) and Modern Day Judas (Jesse Royal).

The Militancy, released in November, is his most recent production. Uptown Downtown by Dre Island, False Doctrine (King Mas), Preying on The Weak (Jesse Royal), Resist Not Evil (Protoje) and Territory (Jah Cure) are some of the songs on the Militancy.

Although his biggest productions to date are samples of older material, James stressed the importance of being original.

'It is super-important, I want to do things to catch people's ears, it wasn't my intention to sample, although I add other elements and phrases in my interpretations," he told Splash. "My approach is really a fresh take on a classic."

As for what he brings to the table musically, James gave a number of examples.

"A portion of my influences and what I listen to comes out in what I do. I bring like a new energy to an old sound. I get the artistes to talk about things that matter to them, and not issues that the people would necessarily want to hear to create a hype," he said.

James, 36, was still in diapers in 1980 when Henry 'Junjo' Lawes produced Gunman. The Roots Radics band recorded the song at Channel One studio.

Last year, James revived the Gunman rhythm as the Militancy for his Overstand Entertainment label.

Wings with Me, produced by Sly and Robbie and released on their Taxi label in 1984, 'became' the Rootsman beat.

Originally from Hampton Court, St Thomas, James has been involved in music since graduating from Lennon High School in Clarendon. He began playing the keyboard and developed his sound doing the North Coast hotel circuit.

"I learnt a lot from people like Lenky (keyboardist Steven Marsden), Christopher Birch and Joseph Docker. I have also toured with French artiste (French singer) Pier Poljak, U Roy, Anthony B, the Mighty Diamonds, the Heptones and the Ethiopians," James said.

He currently tours with Marley.

James began producing professionally five years ago. Overstand Entertainment came into existence in 2011.

Prior to producing, he worked with Notice Productions on their Heart and Soul rhythm, and on Fifth Element Records' I Swear beat. James also played keyboards and did background vocals on Marley and rapper Nas' album, Distant Relatives. His latest projects include the song Who Knows by Protoje and Chronixx. It is the first single from Protoje's upcoming album.

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