Sun Shade beams with debut EP

By Howard Campbell
Observer writer

Thursday, September 06, 2018

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HE may not be known in major reggae markets, but in Cleveland, Ohio's growing reggae scene, singer Sun Shade is a familiar face. Last month, he made a big career move with the release of Don't You Be, his first EP.

It contains seven songs including the title song, an up-tempo roots rocker that is a throwback to the live sound of the 1970s. While he has been recording for some time, Sun Shade considers the EP to be his high point.

“I am very thankful for it. I have been working at it for a very long time, and so to see the finished product, it's like fulfilling an accomplishment,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

The Montego Bay-born artiste stressed that one of his objectives was to cover as much ground as possible and prove his range.

“Reggae music doesn't have any boundaries. That is something that I wanted to show in my music. When you deal with reggae you can't see division or separation. That is what Sun Shade is all about,” he said.

Don't You Be, the song, represents a sound most reggae lovers in the United States Midwest identify with. There is also a ska piece ( Goin On), lovers' rock ( You're The One) and a cover of Dennis Brown's Make Ends Meet.

The EP is a joint production between DubbStarr Studio, a Cleveland company, and Sun Shade's Jeanne Music label. It is distributed by Tuff Gong International.

Sun Shade was born Melville Malcolm and grew up in Montego Bay. He migrated to the United States in the late 1990s, living in New York City and South Florida before settling in Cleveland.

Most of his previous songs, such as Jah Love, Honey and Forever Love, are conventional reggae. But he is not afraid to experiment, as heard on his cover of American blues guitarist Robert Cray's 1986 hit song, Smoking Gun.

Working out of Cleveland, an industrial city with a large country and rock music base, suits Sun Shade just fine. The area sees its share of reggae action, with Freddie McGregor, Jah9 and Etana some of the acts who have passed through in recent months.

As he solidifies the base in his adopted hometown and region, Sun Shade also focuses on Jamaica, a market many overseas reggae acts yearn to conquer.

“That would be a great accomplishment having a hit record in Jamaica. it's like planting a seed and watch it grow,” he said. “So, yes, it means the world to me as an artiste but more [so]as a Jamaican.”

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