Entertainment

Jesse gets royal 'hearing'

BY RICHARD JOHNSON
Observer senior reporter

Friday, September 29, 2017

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REGGAE artiste Jesse Royal is ready for the world.

The dreadlocked singer, who is one of the architects of the reggae revival movement, is all set to drop his debut album Lily of Da Valley come October 6.

Following a private listening session at Anchor Studio on Windsor Avenue in Kingston for the upcoming set, Jesse Royal told Splash that he is happy with where he is at in his careeer.

“Yeah man, I'm definitely pleased with where I am and where we are going. We can't be anything but grateful for the many blessings that Jah has really placed in front of us... we really can't complain... just look out for what's to come,” he said. The artiste worked closely with producer Lamar “Rif Raf” Brown on the project and noted he invested heavily in time, talent, and financial resources to bring the project to fruition as an independent artiste without the support of a major label.

“We made it our duty to produce this album. We have been the ones developing our brand and this product. For this album, we have invited Easy Star Records on board with us for distribution, so Easy Star will be the ones distributing the album for me, but we have really taken on this music from a holistic point of view... so we produce the music, build the tracks, shoot the videos, develop and market the brand — holistic,” he explained.

Jesse Royal noted that the title of the album harks to his childhood and growing up in the church.

“It's a hymn that always resonated with me from my younger stages. My grandmother was the choir director at Sudbury Baptist church in Orange, St James, so she was the reason why I even heard a song like that. The older I grew the more it resonated with with I n' I. We started making the album and we were throwing around some names and it was on a short-list and the more we made the album is the more the songs pointed to that... so Lily of Da Valley is what we work with.”

Lily of the Valley comprises 14 tracks including previously released singles such as Modern Day Judas and Finally. The project is eclectic mix of hardcore reggae with driving drum and bass foundations, smooth lover's rock, and higher-tempo pieces that even touch on the electronic dance music genre. Jesse Royal and his team have included two collaborations on this album — Generation with Joe Mersa Marley, son of Stephen Marley and grandson of Bob, and Waan Go Home featuring French reggae act Patrice.

The twenty-eight-year-old artiste, whose given name is Jesse David Grey, described the final track Jah Will See Us Through as his favourite, noting that it is a personal reminder that despite the trials and tribulations in his life over the past two years, including the death of his mother, there is always a greater power.

“On this album, there is a couple selections that I chose to include, but 'Rif Raf' and a few of the musicians really selected what they were really feeling. We went over it with the distributors and we came up with this list that everyone was pleased with as being something that introduces people to the beginning of a new stage of Jesse Royal.”

“I want listeners to walk away feeling joyful, 'upful' and also respectful of our creativity because it was necessary for us to give the people something that they have not gotten. So we have really tried our best to make sure the sounds, the frequencies, the song selections and chord progressions were all right — making fresh music and giving people a side of me that they have never gotten before,” he added.

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