No-Maddz brings Heaven on Earth

By Aaliyah Cunningham
Observer writer
cunninghamc@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, April 26, 2019

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Known for their blend of reggae, dub poetry and storytelling, The No- Maddz introduced Heaven on Earth, their new album, during a pre-release party Wednesday at Epican Jamaica Lounge in Kingston.

Formerly a quartet, The No–Maddz now comprises Sheldon Shepherd and Everaldo Creary. Though the numbers have changed, Shepherd believes they maintained their original sound on the album.

“What happened is, it is still di core sound, but what wi do is we incorporate more individuals, wi did more collaborations. Wi brought in a brethren name Atiba on di track Babylon Paper, we brought in Kumar (Bent) on di track Wretched, an' we have some beautiful background singers. So it's a very full project, it's even fuller that before. Back then it was just our voices, we never had any female voices who sound differently from us, so when we get other people to come in on di sound it just makes for more magic,” he said.

Heaven on Earth has 11 songs. Among the collaborations is Beat Dem Down with British actor Idris Elba, who directed Shepherd and Creary in the film Yardie.

“Wi link up with Idris one day, an' wi guh to the studio an' him play a beat. Him tek a shot a something an' mi just guh suh an' tek a shot a something to. Him ask if mi think mi can jump pon it an' same time mi just pop out mi phone an' just start write,” Shepherd recalled.

Elba is not the only big name on the album. Walshy Fire from Major Lazer is producer of Heaven on Earth. He has worked with Shaggy, Chronixx and Sean Paul, and a number of acts in reggae/dancehall.

“Di good thing about it, Walshy loved our music, di ones I sent him in raw file state. He loved it an' he picked out di ones he wanted to work with, an' then after he did that, wi go to Geejams (studio in Portland) an' do over a lot of vocals an' a lot of musical progressions an' rebuild certain thing,” Shepherd explained. “Then we sent it back to Walshy, he sent it back to Wiz an' Wiz chopped and cut an' mixed and beautiful.”

Heaven on Earth is the group's second album. Their first was Sly and Robbie Presents The No-Maddz in 2015 which featured songs such as Shottas and Romance. While the album did well, Shepherd says Heaven on Earth is better.

“I don't think we fell short on di first album, I think di first album was exceptional. A few reviews gave it di best album for the time an' we released Shotta and di video an' that was moving hand to hand to Junior Gong's Gunman World on Reggaeville's site so di album was brilliant but this is even more beautiful and even more brilliant,” Shepherd said.

Heaven on Earth takes listeners on a journey to London asking 'Who Have A Clarkes Like Dis' or even far East to Indonesia. Shepherd and Creary told stories behind the songs Wednesday night, providing laughs and sharing memories with the audience.

According to The No-Maddz, their vision is, “To share positive stories from the Jamaican and Caribbean cultural landscape at large and influence the way the world sees us by changing the way we talk about and see ourselves.”

The event partnered with a number of social enterprises and Jamaican brands to promote small business and culture. Guests were provided with tokens from groups including Epican Jamaica to help create their own Heaven on Earth.

Though they did not reveal a date for the album's release, Shepherd says fans can expect other projects soon.

“Soon an' very soon unuh will get di album,” Shepherd sang. “Di next ting wi a release is di visuals for No-Maddz in Town, so look out fi da one deh pon social media an' suh.”


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