Entertainment

UNPLUGGED: Richie Spice charts new course

By Richard Johnson Observer staff reporter johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 28, 2012    

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WHILE others are ready to pronounce reggae and dancehall music dead and buried, one artiste is ready to battle the storms in search for a calm.

Conscious reggae crusader, Richie Spice, states emphatically that the naysayers are really those who want to see it die.

"In everything there is going to be a slow period, so it is up to the artistes and those who have the interest of the music in them heart to saddle up, continue to make good music and just ride out the storm until there is a calm," notes the artiste whose given name is Richel Bonner.

Spice was speaking against the background of his new album, Richie Spice Soothing Sounds: Acoustic which will be released October 23 by the Tad's Record company.

The 15-track album presents some of Spice's best-loved songs in an unplugged format. He says the idea to produce an acoustic album was entirely his.

"I wanted listeners to look to the music and lyrics in my songs, and to show the world that good things come from Jamaica and our Jamaican music can play in any style and format."

He continues: "Most time people just come listen your music, hol' a vibe and dance without really knowing what the music is about. So with this acoustic album I just want to present a more intimate vibe so that people can get a full 'overstanding' of what the music is about."

The artiste says choosing 15 songs from his catalogue was easy. He chose those he liked and wanted to hear in another format. Once that was done he drew on the expertise of long-time friend and musician Mitchum 'Khan' Chin, with whom he developed the final sound for each track.

Spice adds that based on the foundation set by reggae's elders, and the heights to which the music has reached, it is up to contemporary reggae acts to produce the music that will uplift and carry on the work of their predecessors.

Richie Spice is known for songs like Grooving my Girl, Earth a Run Red, Righteous Youths and In The Streets.

Versions of Grooving my Girl and In The Streets are on 'Soothing Sounds'.

The singer leaves the island next week for a series of gigs and promotion for Soothing Sounds on the west coast of the United States.

Promoting an acoustic album while on tour is not difficult says the artiste, "Its just like any other album promotion, if not easier. I have the time to explain and emphasise the lyrics for the people," he says.

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