Mezmo Roc One had high hopes for You Know Who when it was released five years ago, but his acoustic ballad saw little action on Jamaican airwaves. Then it caught the attention of Shaggy who liked what he heard and expressed interest in working with him.
The association with the Grammy winner has resulted in two songs to date â€” Keep on Moving and Hooked on You. Both have the lovers rock sound the St Ann-born Mezmo Roc One has favoured since he began recording over 15 years ago.
"I see my sound as that cool, island lover boy kind of sound. Something like Dennis Brown or a Beres Hammond sound," he said.
Until Shaggy came calling, not many industry persons took notice of Mezmo Roc One's laid-back songs. You Know Who was self-produced for his Roc One Records and featured Ian "Beezy" Coleman, who toured for many years as rhythm guitarist with Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers and Stephen Marley.
"I was so blessed to have some great musicians to help me execute that track. Musicians such as 'Beezy' and drummer Speckles, and a few others," he said.
Those credentials were not enough to make the song a hit, but it caught the ears of Shaggy in 2020 and led to a professional relationship Mezmo Roc One hopes will help his music get more exposure.
"Someone who knew me and loved You Know You played my song around Mr Doo and he loved it and brought it to Shaggy's attention. They reached out to me and we started working together shortly after that," he recalled.
Mr Doo is one of the producers Shaggy has worked with in recent years. They co-produced Keep on Moving for the Doo Run Riddim compilation album which came out in 2021, with songs by Shaggy, his longtime sidekick Rayvon, Brian and Tony Gold and Bounty Killer.
Born Garfield Russell, Mezmo Roc One is from Steer Town in St Ann. Some of his formative years were spent in Kingston, where he lived in Waterhouse.
His music career started with a harmony quartet that included his older brother, Stafford. Going solo, he has recorded a number of songs such as Pour Out my Share and My Way, but has also produced singles by other artistes such as Jahvillani.
Although disheartened by lack of airplay on the home front, Mezmo Roc One got a lift from a recent trip abroad.
"With my recent visit to America I found out that reggae is alive and well. Just not in Jamaica, and with help of some great people with great taste in music, I have been getting a lot of rotation and interviews on radio stations in America," he said.