Kempo brings sweet vibes from Salt Spring
Kempo

It's rare for dancehall artistes to express feelings of hurt whenever they end up on the wrong side of a relationship, but that's what Kempo does on Sad Song, his latest single which was released on November 26.

Produced by Cocojamzmuzik out of Austin, Texas, Sad Song was written by the Montego Bay-born artiste after a relationship went sour.

“It's an expression of sadness in a thoughtful manner. It's something that I had gone through and it was a little bit rocky for me to bounce back and get focused again,” said Kempo.

Sad Song is the second release on the Loving Colors rhythm, which debuted in October with Gyal Flex by Maestro Don.

Born Kemarly Lindo, Kempo is part of the thriving Montego Bay dancehall scene that has emerged in the past decade. He hails from the Salt Spring community of St James, one of several in that parish with a history of gang violence.

Some of his songs are inspired by the crime that has dogged Salt Spring for years. The volatility in his hometown, Kempo notes, has helped him stay the straight and narrow path.

“Wi si a lot of people make a lot of mistakes and from those mistakes we make the right decisions, so I'm very much grateful for that community,” he said.

A nephew of famed Wailers and Now Generation Band keyboardist Earl “Wya” Lindo, he attended Cornwall College for two terms before moving to St Elizabeth where he completed his secondary education at Newell High School.

He later earned a business degree from Bethlehem Moravian College, also in St Elizabeth.

Early awareness of his uncle's achievements and deep admiration for singer Ini Kamoze helped Kempo develop “an intrinsic connection” to music. His first song, Time, was done while in first form for 17th Street Productions.

Follow-up singles include High Grade Options and Protect Me. First Chapter, his lone album, was released last year.

World-famous as a tourist resort, Montego Bay has become dancehall's epicentre through gritty artistes like Tommy Lee Sparta, Rygin King, and Teejay. While he is keen to maintain that dominance, Kempo shies from any regional tag.

“Montego Bay people are a little bit different…we speak different, we act different, we dress different. With that, we tend to have a different flair, a different vibe, a different energy, so people tend to love that,” he said. “Personally, I don't see Montego Bay dancehall different from the Kingston dancehall or the Trelawny dancehall or the St Elizabeth dancehall because we're all doing music. I don't like to lock myself inna a box because I don't do dancehall or reggae; I do music.”

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

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