IT has been 25 years since singer Sanchez first entered reggae charts with the massive hit, Loneliness. After an extended break from the scene, he returns with a new song and album.
Like a General is Sanchez' first album in three years. His previous set, Love You More, was a collection of cover songs.
The new album will be promoted and distributed by New Millionaire Entertainment, based in New Castle, Delaware. The company is run by Jamaicans Clinton Garibaldi and Dave Grant.
Significantly, New Millionaire Entertainment has a distribution agreement with iNgrooves Fontana/Universal Music Group. For Sanchez, who has worked with several independent record labels, the link with a major distributor is overdue.
"It's what I have been waiting for since I have been singing. I have never been approached by a major company so it means the world to me," he told the Jamaica Observer from his home in Atlanta, Georgia.
Another first for the 49-year-old vocalist is the role of producer. Sanchez directed the 16 songs on Like A General which includes Him Buy You a Drink, the lead track.
He says the time was right to call the shots after years working with various producers.
"I think I've grown tremendously as an artiste and a singer. I used to strain to take certain notes but that's not the case anymore, and I get to show that on the album," he said.
Like A General contains other originals such as Nuh Kotch and the gospel song I Feel Good. There are four covers including The Beatles' Hey Jude and Neither One of Us, originally done by Gladys Knight and the Pips.
Some of Sanchez' biggest hits have been covers including Loneliness, which was a minor hit for Jermaine Jackson.
Produced by Winston Riley, Loneliness announced Sanchez as an emerging talent in 1988, one year after he recorded his first song for producer Hugh 'Redman' James.
His take on Larry Graham's One In a Million You, Skeeter Davis' End Of The World and So Amazing by Luther Vandross (done with deejay Flourgon)kept Sanchez in the charts and made him one of dancehall's top acts.
Though he points out that his biggest hits (Never Dis The Man, I Can't Wait) are originals, Sanchez admits his image as a cover singer has hurt him.
"At the same time I don't think it takes away from you as an artiste. Many people have won Grammy awards doing covers," he reasoned.
Like A General is tentatively scheduled for release in January.