Songwriter and recording artiste Vision Alexander says working with Grammy-nominated singer Julian Marley has been the highlight of his songwriting career â€” a journey which holds many chapters.
The Jamaican-born Alexander has songwriting credit on six songs from Marley's Grammy-nominated Colors of Royal album.
The album was produced by Alexx Antaeus.
"Working with Julian Marley is a songwriter's dream. He is a prolific songwriter and for him to invite me to co-write with him on this album has been the highlight of my songwriting career. Working with Julian I learnt what the true definition of what a complete recording artiste-musician is. He plays almost every instrument and his knowledge of music is on a level I've never seen before.
"For me, I got the best of both worlds. I got the opportunity to showcase my songwriting ability on this amazing album. But, most importantly, I got a front-row seat as a student working alongside him on his album. Before we were even nominated I already won in more ways that I could ever envision" the Florida based Alexander said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Friday, shortly after the nominations in the Grammy's Best Reggae Album category were announced.
Colors of Royal will compete with No Destroyer by Burning Spear, Simma by Beenie Man, Born for Greatness by Buju Banton, and Cali Roots Riddim 2023 for music's biggest honour.
This is Alexander's second time being a part of a Grammy nominated project.
"This is my second Grammy nomination as a songwriter in the Best Reggae Album category. Being able to contribute to my genre reggae, and being able to work alongside so many talented artistes, producers, engineers, managers, etc means the world to me. This is only the beginning, thank the Almighty for this opportunity," said Alexander.
His previous Grammy nod came via singer Jesse Royal's album Royal.
"I was previously nominated for working on Jesse Royal's sophomore album entitled Royal, along with Grammy-winning producer Sean Alaric. We had the opportunity to work with Jesse on the majority of the tracks on that album; Sean produced me song writing. And we all were blessed to be nominated with Jesse. This nomination means a lot to me because, again, me and my brother from another Sean Alaric will walk the red carpet again in Los Angeles. We worked hard to get to this point and I'm happy that we can share this musical journey again together. From working on an airport tarmac to the red carpet has truly been a blessed journey thus far," he said.
On Jesse Royal's album Royal, Alexander was credited as a songwriter on Lion Order, Dirty Money, Natty Pablo, Differences, Natty Dread, and Rich Foreva.
He explained how the collaboration with Julian Marley came about.
"Sean Alaric had met Julian and his manager, John Barrett, in Los Angeles shortly after Sean had won the Grammy with Koffe on her album. He then introduced me to John and that's where I met Julian for the first time. And we worked on the songs Don't Ruin My World and If You Don't Know My Name by Julian, which both had great success in Brazil and Europe. And from there Julian invited me to work on Colors of Royal,' which was executively produced by Alexx Antaeus who has been the mastermind behind the scenes on this album," Alexander explained.
Born and raised in Kingston, Alexander attended St George's College, after which he received a football scholarship to attend Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut. He now resides in South Florida.
"Growing up in Jamaica it's difficult not to be influenced by music. But the truth is, music was never my first love; football was. I got into music much later in my life when the Almighty opened my eyes to my songwriting ability. And since then I haven't looked back. I was led by faith, not sight, as the Bible says. So, I plan to drive this new-found talent until the wheels fall off," said Alexander.
The first song he wrote was Jammin, his collaboration with Morgan Heritage member Mojo Morgan, which was produced by Warren Blouse.
Vision Alexander wrote the reggae-inspired Bad, which is featured on R&B singer Teyana Taylor's chart-topping 2020 release called The Album. Bad was co-produced by Alaric and MIXX (real name Baruch Nembhard, born in Florida to Jamaican parents).
"I grew up with MIXX and [when] he was working on Teyana's album he reached out and said they wanted some stuff added to the project. So I just added some melodies and words to the track and that's how the collaboration with Teyana came about," Alexander disclosed.
He has also written songs for Jo Mersa Marley, Jaz Elise, G Whizz, and Romain Virgo.
"Songwriting allows me to showcase the majority of my talent apart from actually performing the songs. But that's why I am now stepping into the artiste field to experience that feeling of seeing thousands of people singing along to my music with me as the artiste," he said.