SOJA-ing on
American reggae band SOJA
American band celebrates third reggae Grammy nomination

When the nominations for the Grammy Awards were announced on Tuesday, featured among the artistes up for the Best Reggae Album is the American band SOJA. The band was nominated for their seventh studio album Beauty in the Silence which was released on September 24 on ATO Records. It is not their first time to the party having been nominated on two previous occasions for their 2017 project Live in Virginia and Amid the Noise and Haste released in 2015.

“This has been the most incredible journey of our lives. We couldn't have done any of this without all of you. Forever grateful,” was the post from the band's Twitter account following the announcement of the nominees earlier this week.

The band's frontman Jacob Hemphill was filled with gratitude for this nomination for the project which has been reaping impressive chart sucsess.

“Music is our life,” said Hemphill. “We didn't start this band for others, we started this band for us. But looking back, it's the fans that pushed us to continue, so far. This nomination is for them — this signifies their support. Thank you all,” he is quoted as saying on the website gratefulweb.com

“I really love that this record is a mix of all of us together in a room and all of us far apart. It's something that I'd love to keep doing in the future: Let's get together, let's get the vibe and the groove, and then let's go off into our own worlds and discover what's there,” he is further quoted.

Beauty in the Silence features collaborations with heavy hitters, including Ali Campbell of UB40, J Boog, Collie Buddz, Common Kings, Rebelution, Stick Figure, Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads, and Eric Swanson. The album debuted at number 34 on Billboard's Current Albums Sales Chart, and 52 on Billboard's Top Album Sales chart. It also opened at number two on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.

The Virginia-based band has four chart-toppers to its credit: Poetry in Motion (2017), Live in Virginia (2016), Strength to Survive (2012), and Amid the Noise and Haste (2014).

Born in Arlington, Virginia, Hemphill met Bob Jefferson in the first grade at school there. They became best friends, finding common ground through a love of hip hop, rock and reggae which they performed at school talent shows.

In high school, they met Ryan Berty (drums), Kenneth Brownell (percussion) and Patrick O'Shea (keyboards) and formed SOJA. The other current members are Hellman Escorcia (saxophone), Rafael Rodriguez (trumpet) and Trevor Young (lead guitar).

Veteran Jamaican engineer Cegrica 'Soljie' Hamilton tours with the band, which plays over 300 shows annually.

SOJA is among a number of American reggae bands which have sprung up in the last decade. In recent years, these bands have dominated the Billboard Reggae Album chart.

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