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Robertha shall not be moved

By Howard Campbell
Observer senior writer

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Singer Robertha was only 14 years old when Tracy Chapman's sensational self-titled album came out in 1988. Its impact on the Old Harbour High School student was instant, and helped shape her career as a singer/songwriter.

I Shall Not be Moved, Robertha's new song, was released in February by Canadian company Heart Language Productions. Written and produced by Maurice Creary, it hears her expressing commitment to her Rastafarian faith, as well as addressing international affairs.

According to Robertha, “This song resonates well with me 'cause the script speaks to who and what I am about.”

I Shall Not be Moved is her first song for 2019. Her recording has been intermittent in recent years, with three songs released since 2017. Two of them, Broken Heart and I Tried, were done for Walkway Productions.

For most of her career Robertha was known as Empress Robertha, but recently she shortened her moniker. However, the Afrocentric message that has been a hallmark of her songs has not changed.

“Rasta is a part of my life through consciousness. The natural 'livity' and realisation of organising and centralising to bridge social barriers mentally prepared me as an African descendant, and brought me to a place of knowing who and what I was about,” she explained.

Originally from Spanish Town, Robertha discovered what she was about while attending Old Harbour High School. Chapman's platinum-selling, folk-rock album which included anthems like Fast Car, Talkin' 'Bout A Revolution and Baby Can I Hold You, struck a nerve and inspired her to enter talent contests, during which fans likened her to the American singer/songwriter.

“Her expressive writings gave me insights on how to speak from my heart,” Robertha recalled.

Since her first song, Crush, was released in 1991 Robertha has recorded for several producers, including Lloyd “King Jammys” James and Mikey Bennett. She signed with Heart Language Productions last year, a partnership that has yielded a number of songs of which I Shall Not Be Moved is the first release.

Ultimately, the company plans to release her debut album within the next 18 months.