Mikey's heart

Bennett brings heart and soul to the game

By Kevin Jackson
Observer writer

Sunday, November 11, 2018

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For the Heart of Jamaica album, music producer Mikey Bennett called on his years of experience to work with a cast of experienced and upcoming artistes. Funded by Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum, the 13-song set was released on November 5.

It features songs by Natel and Duane Stephenson, Jesse Royal, Wayne Marshall, Bugle and Justine, Freddie McGregor, Chevaughn, Tessanne Chin, Jodian Pantry with Jamila Falak, Flavia and Minori, Christopher Martin and Sevana, Dean Fraser, Pluto Shervington, Ikaya and Ding Dong with Tamo J.

Bennett, whose credits include hits like Mr Lover Man (Shabba Ranks and Chevelle Franklyn), Housecall (Shabba Ranks with Maxi Priest) and Can You by Brian and Tony Gold, explained what he brought to the table.

“The magic is a fruit of wonderful collaborations and creating the right atmosphere in the creative spaces I love to operate. It's also about being true to the legacy of the great music of the 60s and 70s that had such a powerful impact on my life,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

He added that, “Approaching this album I seized the opportunity to do things the 'good old way'. So, instead of making some rhythms and having people write songs, I gathered a group of writers and for a month we wrote songs and made demos which we then introduced to the singers we had targeted for the project.”

Bennett was approached by Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum to oversee Heart of Jamaica. Eventually, he brought in saxophonist/producer Dean Fraser who contributed to the project as vocal arranger and producer.

He said there was excitement among the artistes and musicians throughout production.

“The most wonderful thing about the Heart of Jamaica project was that each day brought some excitement and there was something to get excited about, whether it be a horn arrangement, a guitar solo, or some background vocals that brought goosebumps,” he stressed. “We were like proud parents watching children growing and feeling more proud with each day. I live for the goosebumps that nothing but the creative process can deliver.”

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