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Black Am I is the Living Dread

Observer writer

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

As a protégé of Damian “Junior Gong” Marley, singjay Black Am I has toured the world as opening act with the Grammy-winning artiste, but on Saturday he steps into the spotlight with the release of his first EP.

Living Dread is the title of the mini set which is produced by Junior Gong for his family's Ghetto Youths International company. It has seven songs including the title track.

Though he began recording for the Marleys nearly 10 years ago, Black Am I has never released a collection of songs. That was deliberate as being on the road helped him develop a base of fans.

“Wi haffi build a following before wi can put out a album or a EP. Now dat wi get over dat hump, dis is di right time,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

Some of Living Dread's songs were recorded and released during the past three years. The latest was Money Making Mode which came out in April while Living Dread hit the market last year.

Though he has clocked hundreds of miles on the road, marketing an EP is virgin territory for Black Am I who hails from rustic Nine Miles in St Ann, where Marley patriarch Bob Marley was born.

“Yuh have places like Europe an' California wha' love my kinda music, but wi trying to attract new fans. It all comes down to promotion,” he stressed.

Black Am I was a budding artiste known as I-Nesta when he first met Junior Gong in Nine Miles. He made such an impression that within months, he was recording under his guidance at the Marley-owned Tuff Gong studio in Kingston.

For Black Am I, performing to diverse audiences in Europe, Hawaii, Belize and the United States West Coast has helped him develop as an artiste.

“It open mi eyes to a lotta things. It mek yuh si yuh potential an' mek yuh believe in yuhself even more,” he said.

Living Dread is the second project produced by Junior Gong released within a month. He also produced Third World's More Work to be Done which came out on August 16.