Poll tips Morgan Heritage for Grammy

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter
johnsonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, January 21, 2018

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WITH a week to go before this year's staging of the Grammy Awards, an online poll is tipping Jamaican reggae band Morgan Heritage to take this year's Best Reggae Album category. The ceremony is scheduled for Madison Square Garden in New York next Sunday, January 28.

The poll — which was run on the official website of the awards, www.grammy.com — has the sibling band, which is nominated for the project Avrakedabra, leading the other four nominees in what it describes as “a tight field of excellent artistes all vying for the top prize in their genre”.

Morgan Heritage leads with 30 per cent of the votes from viewers on the site. They won the Grammy two years ago for Strictly Roots, and the website notes that the group's output has been extremely prolific throughout their career, with nearly 20 studio, live or collaborative albums released since their formation in 1994. This has yielded seven trips to the Top 10 of Billboard's Top Reggae Albums chart and nine total albums ranked number 15 or higher.

Morgan Heritage holds a two percentage point lead over fellow Jamaican Chronixx, who sits in second with 28 per cent of the votes.

“The 25-year-old has built a name for himself as one of the rising stars of the reggae revival movement, crediting his father with introducing him to a wide variety of music and enrolling him in music education at a very early age. Widespread acclaim for his 2014 EP, Dread & Terrible brought Chronixx his first brush with major international success when it charted number one on the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart, a wave he was able to ride through to 2017 with his debut LP, Chronology,” the website stated.

The other nominated Jamaican, Damian “Junior Gong” Marley has 20 per cent of the votes for the third spot.

The youngest child of reggae legend Bob Marley is nominated for his project Stony Hill. It has been noted that this is his first solo studio album since 2005's Best Reggae Album-winning Welcome To Jamrock. This latest project is Marley's second-consecutive Billboard Top Reggae Albums number one release.

Califronia-based group Common Kings is in fourth spot with 14 per cent.

The site states that the majority of the members of the group hail from disparate birthplaces across the South Pacific, but have been brought together by their shared experience of growing up in Southern California's Orange County. Common Kings' debut studio album, Lost In Paradise, reached number one on the Billboard Top Reggae Albums chart in early 2017 and earned the group their first Grammy nomination.

J Boog, out of Hawaii, rounds out the category with eight per cent of the votes. With his latest studio album, Wash House Ting, earning him his second Best Reggae Album nomination in as many years, he was nominated for his 2016 EP Rose Petals.

The reggae category of the annual Grammy Awards was established in 1985. Since then, a wide selection of acts from the genre have taken home the prized trophy including Jimmy Cliff, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Buju Banton, Shabba Ranks, and Ziggy Marley.

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