Reggae changed my life for the better says Jah SunWednesday, May 26, 2010
BY CECELIA CAMPBELL-LIVINGSTON
JASON Andrew McCommas aka Jah Sun has wholeheartedly embrace Reggae music. Fusing the sounds of hip-hop, reggae and world music with conscious and uplifting lyrics, Jah Sun hopes to awaken the human spirit and inspire others to live to their ultimate potential.
Hailing from Humboldt County, California Jah Sun had his first taste of the addictive beat at age 20 — at a major turning point in his life.
"I was in the middle of a trial in which I was being charged for hustling ganja. If found guilty, I could go to prison. This was a very scary time for me because I was newly married and was expecting my first born son. Although I had been in trouble many times as a teenager and had been in and out of boy's homes and jail, this was different because I really had something to lose," he told the Observer.
"I knew I needed a change but I wasn't sure how to do it. All I had known was the street mentality. My mother did her best but when you have your first baby at 16 (me) and then another at 20 and then another at 23; and there is no father around to raise any of the children, it's hard. I found myself with a big chip on my shoulder and had been living as a rebel. Obviously, my rebellious ways had caught up with me, and I knew I had to do something. So I moved to Pennsylvania to live with my in-laws to work as a labourer to earn money to pay my lawyer to keep me out of trouble," he continued.
Jah Sun said he had to deal with the fact that he wasn't liked by his in-laws who considered him a street hoodlum.
"So one day, feeling very alone and unsure of what was in store for my future, I told my brother-in-law to get me out of the house and take me for some fun. Somehow we ended up at the mall. As I walked by a music store, I noticed a videotape in the window, and on the cover was Bob Marley. I had never heard of him but something about the way he looked just drew me in. I bought the video and went home and watched it. Before I watched this video I had never been interested in anything other than the new song on the radio, or the latest dance, or fashion," the California-based artiste related.
"There was something about what Bob Marley sang and spoke that resonated deep in my soul. I felt very drawn to his music and message and began to explore and discover more reggae music. I then learned that people all over the world struggled like me and even worse. I learned that even though I was poor and didn't have a dad, I had a connection to the Most High. I learned that with a conscious mind, an ital livity and a clean heart, I could change the direction my life was going in," Jah Sun related.
With that revelation Jah Sun said he set about changing his image and lifestyle — growing locks, becoming a vegetarian and changing his perspective.
"My life instantly began to change for the better. My court case ended in probation and no jail time. My son was born a healthy baby boy and I was on my way to becoming a man that would forever be inspired to help people through music to activate their consciousness and realise their soul's potential," Jah Sun shared.
With his life's mission set out for him Jah Sun set about trying to make his mark in the competitive field.
It hasn't been an easy task as he had issues to deal with such as the fact that although Bob Marley sang about universal love, he encountered many who thought that Reggae is for Jamaicans only.
"So today I am trying to make my voice heard in reggae, and I'm getting the strange looks and 'susu' from the people that I once felt so connected to. I can't see myself writing a tune about sex or glorifying violence or bling bling just to get a buss; so sometimes it really feels hard to compete with what is out there. I just stay focused on my purpose and know that Jah is guiding me every step of the way, and slowly but surely, it keeps growing," the conscious singer affirmed.
Jah Sun is seeking a distribution deal for his most recent release, Gravity, an EP that was recorded with Germany's Far East Band and features Queen Omega and Stevie Culture.
The EP also features two music videos, Mediation and Microchip.
Far East is most known for their work as the backing band for Gentleman over the last eight years. Another new project in the works for Jah Sun is an upcoming CD entitled Battle The Dragon.
"I am halfway through it and I feel it is my best work to date. The CD is being produced by the French label Special Delivery and will feature musical guests like Albarosie, Gappy Ranks, Perfect, Stevie Culture and Lion Camp," Jah Sun said about his latest project which he says is scheduled for a September release.
Jah Sun made his appearance on the Reggae scene in 2006, and has been rated as one of the fastest rising artiste from Northern California. He has sold thousands of CD's, played the west coast's major festivals from Reggae Rising, Earthdance, Monterey Bay, Seattle Hempfest and Northwest World Reggae Festival and continues to gain new fans every step of the way.
His debut album, Height of Light, features some of reggae's top recording artistes such as Luciano, Junior Reid, Lutan Fyah and Yami Bolo.
For Jah Sun, it would be a thrill to showcase his talent on the Jamaican stage, but as he stated, "there is so much talent in Jamaica already, I don't know if a performance from me is needed. I much rather use the opportunities I have as a US citizen to bring something to Jamaica that is more needed than a Jah Sun performance. Relief! I would like to know how I can help give back to the people of Jamaica that have inspired me to become a better man."