J'can-born, US-based artiste up for two GrammysThursday, December 02, 2021
BY RICHARD JOHNSON
When the Grammy Award nominations were announced last Tuesday, it wasn't only the Best Reggae Album category that saw Jamaican nominees.
Masego, the Jamaican-born musician, singer/songwriter and producer, is also among the lucky ones who have a shot at the coveted golden gramophones at the presentation ceremony which comes up on January 31 at the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles.
The US-based artiste is up for two Grammys — Best Progressive R&B Album for his project Studying Abroad: Extended Stay, and as a producer on Drake's Certified Lover Boy which is nominated for Best Rap Album. For the Drake album Masego shares producing credits for the opening track Champagne Poetry with JLL who is another Jamaican producer.
Born Micah Davis in Waterhouse, St Andrew, Masego migrated to New York at age four but has always kept his strong Jamaican roots and still has family living in the Corporate Area with whom he is in touch. He explained that the nominations mean a lot to him, but are also of significance to the people around him who have contributed and are able to reap the fruits of their labour.
“I'm really excited for the people around me. Based on the new rules the people who worked on the projects are now able to get credit and for some of them this is a first time nomination so I'm excited to see and experience their excitement. Obviously, it means something to me personally as it shows that persons are appreciating the work that I have put in.”
The album Studying Abroad: Extended Stay features the song Silver Tongue Devil, a collaboration with dancehall's “it” girl Shenseea. The video for this track was shot on location here in Jamaica.
“I was introduced to the idea of Shenseea being on the track by producer Izy. We were talking about the song and he suggested that I should collaborate with Shenseea given her style, the flavour of the album and my given my Jamaican roots it would be a nice thing to collaborate with a rising star. It was a really good experience despite COVID. We were extremely restricted in what we could do so it was a less-than-ideal situation to work with, but we just had to do what needed to be done. What came our of it was a nice dancehall, dance groove which can be enjoyed in many different ways. The American audience which loves reggae can tap in and there is something others and people have really warmed up to this track and I am pleased with the response.”
For Masego, his music reflects his passion for travel and new experiences as well as mixing and matching different genres. He described his sound as traphouse jazz.
“It is that mix of jazz, R&B, and hip hop. It all started when I was in college in Virginia. I was among a set of musicians who also specialised in various genres on music. When we did gigs we would bring different parts and I realised it was different and worked with that. I also love to travel so that influences my musical style. Some of the songs on Studying Abroad reflect this. Tracks like Passport, Bliss Abroad and Well Travelled are examples,” he told the Jamaica Observer during a telephone interview.
Masego is currently preparing for a European tour starting in January and is also back in the studio preparing material for his next album which could possibly feature another Jamaican artiste.
“Chronixx and I have a very good relationship. We have spoken about working together, so it is just for us to make it happen. I like his style and he has a genuine love for the music, the way he puts his music together is a different vibe. I kinda like the way I work and for that reason I think it would make a good collaboration,” Masego noted.