East African artiste Bruce Melodie's love for reggae results in Shaggy collaboration
Afrobeats artiste Bruce Melody (foreground) teams up with Shaggy on the song When She's Around (Funga Macho).

GROWING up in East Africa, Bruce Melodie was exposed to a variety of music genres, including reggae.

"Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Lucky Dube were some of the reggae acts that resonated with me. Their music not only carried powerful messages but also a rhythmic essence that transcends borders," said Bruce Melodie.

The Afrobeats singer had never worked with a Jamaican artiste until recently when he teamed up with Shaggy for the song When She's Around (Funga Macho).

"This collaboration with Shaggy is my first venture working with a Jamaican reggae artiste, and it's been an enlightening and enjoyable experience. The fusion of our musical worlds has created a sound that I believe many will appreciate," shared Bruce Melodie in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.

Produced by AJR, When She's Around (Funga Macho) was released on October 27 via S-Curve Records, a label that has had success with American acts such as Andy Grammer and Betty Wright, The Baha Men, and Jamaican deejay Conkarah.

The song is about appreciating and celebrating the joy of euphoria that people feel when in the company of a special person.

Bruce Melodie shared how the collaboration with Shaggy came about.

"The collaboration with Shaggy was a thrilling opportunity that unfolded when a great individual named Steve Greenberg, the head of S-Curve Records, connected Shaggy's team to my team. The creative chemistry was instantaneous, and we both were excited about blending our distinctive musical styles to create something fresh and globally appealing. I personally thank my team for having supported me tirelessly throughout this journey. And last, but not least, I thank Shaggy and his team."

He added that he has always admired Shaggy's work.

"I have been a fan of Shaggy's music for as long as I can remember. His unique sound caught my ear early on, and his global success is truly inspiring. His songs have always been popular, and his distinctive voice made a lasting impression on me," said Bruce Melodie.

With the explosion of Afrobeats in recent years Bruce Melodie feels he has what it takes to make a significant contribution to the art form.

"The global recognition of Afrobeats can be attributed to its infectious rhythm, unique beat patterns, and the ability to transcend cultural barriers. The digital era has also played a significant role in its global spread, allowing people from different parts of the world to explore and enjoy Afrobeats," he said.

"I believe my contribution to the Afrobeats explosion lies in my ability to blend traditional and contemporary sounds to create music that resonates with a global audience. By collaborating with international artistes like Shaggy, I aim to further bridge the cultural divide and showcase the richness and diversity of African music," Bruce Melodie explained.

BY KEVIN JACKSON Observer writer entertainment@jamaicaobserver.com

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