Roughhouse speaks from the heartThursday, May 13, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
LIVING in Germany for 24 years, singer/musician Roughhouse says he has many accomplishments including five solo albums, numerous singles, and has worked with some of the top acts in his adopted country.
For all those achievements, the dreadlocked artiste yearns for similar success in Jamaica.
“To get a hit song in Jamaica would be a dream come true. As a Jamaican, to make my mark on the island that influences the whole world would be more than an honour,” he told the Jamaica Observer recently. “Also, having a real hit song in Jamaica will open so many doors abroad for shows and collaborations. I have observed the world stage and how they react to a song that was produced in Jamaica, and the result was always the same. Trendsetting,” he added.
Roughhouse's latest song is Heart to Heart, which was released in April by his company MPerium Records. Primarily a bassist, he operates a recording studio in the city of Dortmund, where he works with reggae acts as well as home-grown hip hop artistes such as Samy Deluxe.
Heart to Heart's live roots-reggae sound has always been popular in Germany and Europe. While it is a signature of the MPerium Records sound, Roughhouse follows musical trends in Jamaica.
“If you listen to popular music today you will always hear and feel a touch of Jamaica in it. They won't say it but you cannot withhold the truth about the musical elements and grooves in those songs, even the lyrical flow is Jamaican. Only the language make it different,” he said.
Born Keith Powell Jr in Manchester, Roughhouse learned music at the feet of his father, a guitarist who played with artistes including Bunny Wailer and Dennis Brown. It was while working on the Ocho Rios hotel scene during the late 1990s that he got an opportunity to back a Jamaican artiste in Germany. He has lived in that country since.
Heart to Heart is Roughhouse's third release of the year, following Rest Well in my Arms and In Love Again. He is confident they have the goods to hit Jamaican charts, just as Ray Darwin, another Jamaican based in Germany, did 14 years ago with People's Choice.
“I know I have potential songs that could be a hit in Jamaica. If only the people get the chance to learn about my music, I know the Jamaican people would appreciate it,” he said.
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