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Squeeze Tarela is the Hottest Thing

Thursday, April 26, 2018

NIGERIAN reggae/dancehall, Afro fusion artiste Squeeze Tarela is on a musical high after copping the Best Reggae Artiste Of The Year for Hottest Thing at Akademia Music Award in Los Angeles, California, last Thursday.

“Winning this award (the Akademia Music Award) is quite a motivation to me. It encourages me to keep working hard. Hottest Thing is the song that gave me this award,” Squeeze Tarela told the Jamaica Observer in an email response.

“God's willing, I hope to make to Jamaica to do some recordings as well. I'm inspired to do reggae/dancehall because I listened to it quite a lot when I was growing up and the majority of my musical influences were reggae, dancehall and hip hop. Bob Marley, Cocoa Tea, Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, Chaka Demus and Pliers, Sizzla and Super Cat were major influences,” he continued.

Produced by JayPaulBeatz, Hottest Thing was released last year on the Just JoJo Entertainment imprint.

The singer/songwriter — born Tarela Henry Ekaye in Lagos, Nigeria — graduated from the University of Benin where studied geology and obtained a BSc. He was recently signed to the independent UK label Just JoJo Entertainment.

The CEO of Just JoJo Entertainment, Nigerian-born Rebecca Inyang, who grew up in London, is also basking in Squeeze Tarela's recognition as one of the hottest reggae/dancehall and Afro fusion artistes by the Akademia Music Award, which add value to her label's brand of artiste management and development.

“As his label and management [company], this [award] really means a lot, considering how hard we have all worked as a team. And to achieve this in such a short period of him signing to the label, what a talent he is!” she said.

The award-winning reggae influenced mid-tempo song is produced by Nigerian record producer Jay Paul Beatz on the Just JoJo Entertainment label. In November of last year he released Better and in March of this year, Cocoa Butter on the same label for producers Jay Paul Beatz and Nigerian D J Coublon, respectively.

— Basil Walters