Luther Mack debuts with The Singing Village
Luther McKenzie

From his childhood in Portland, Luther McKenzie had a wandering mind and a desire to express his thoughts through writing. That trait grew as an adult, resulting in him penning a number of unreleased screenplays.

It took an extended break due to COVID-19 for him to produce his first book. Titled The Singing Village, it was released last August on Amazon.

Known as "Luther Mack", McKenzie made his name in the music business as musician, artiste and manage, most famously, as part of the Shang Records team that managed high-profile acts such as Shabba Ranks, Patra, Mad Cobra, and Ky-Mani Marley during the 1990s.

Writing, however, gives him the greatest pleasure.

"It's just something I've always loved, the creativity it takes. I've written many screenplays but this is my first book," he told the Jamaica Observer.

The Singing Village's plot is built around slavery and the slave trade which drove economies throughout North America where the book is set, starting in the 18th century. McKenzie said the 244-page work is not your typical story about Massa, slaves and plantation life as it delves into the supernatural and evolves over two centuries.

"I wanted to write a book about slavery but with a difference. This is really historical fiction with mystique," he explained.

McKenzie believes The Singing Village's "escapist" storyline is gripping enough to make it to the silver screen due to 'reviews' from persons who have read it.

"It's mainly family and friends and they let me know it's not because they know me. They genuinely like what they read," he said.

McKenzie is from Manchioneal, a fishing area on the border with St Thomas. Migrating to the United States at age 10, he juggled playing in New York reggae bands with academics and recreational writing.

He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Atlantic International University and a master's degree in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University.

Moving to South Florida in the early 1980s, McKenzie became part of that region's growing West Indian/reggae community. His experience helped spur the careers of Shabba Ranks, Patra and Mad Cobra to pop chart success in the early and mid-1990s.

The cover of Luther McKenzie's The Singing Village
Howard Campbell

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