IT was a full house at the new Milk River venue in Brooklyn, New York, on Tuesday as Shaggy launched his Out of Many One Music album.
The album is a collaboration between the Grammy-winning Shaggy and ‘Riddim Twins’ Sly and Robbie. Keyboardist Stephen ‘Lenky’ Marsden and longtime Shaggy production partners, Sting International, are credited as co-producers.
Out of Many One Music hears Shaggy teaming on songs with Beres Hammond, Ne-Yo, Konshens, Tessanne Chin, and Cocoa Tea. Suited in black with a handkerchief in the colours of the Jamaican flag hanging from his back pocket, Shaggy spoke to the Jamaica Observer about his 12th album.
“I put a plan in action and executed it and it worked. A lot of labels didn’t want to support it because it was strictly reggae and not the pop materials that they were used to. I got a lot of opposition from them,” he said.
Although disc jockeys generally liked the album, most of them believe it will struggle in the contemporary music market because of its slow tempo.
But Shaggy says the aim was to make the album as organic as possible, to keep interest in reggae alive.
“Authenticity was very important… everything about it had to be Jamaican. The reggae acts that are topping the big charts now have no affiliation to Jamaica and their songs are not heard in the dances,” he noted.
After topping pop charts with mega-hit songs like Boombastic, Angel, and It Wasn’t Me, just how important is a hit to the 44- year-old toaster?
“It’s not about the money anymore for me. Reggae is a minority music and the struggle continues, hence a hit is always important,” he explained.
“This is not a cake walk. The international market is dominated by other genres like pop and hip hop, and a reggae session on any international label is approximately two hours or so a day, sometimes even a week, so we have to continue pushing hard to keep the music alive and well.”
Out of Many One Music has made a bright start. It is currently number one on the iTunes Reggae Chart.
With the US release out of the way, Shaggy is preparing for the official Jamaican release on Sunday in Rae Town, east Kingston, where he grew up.