Teejay 'prees' mainstream glory

TEEJAY, the self-proclaimed Uptop Boss, made a big step toward the mainstream on Tuesday with the launch of Riches wii A Pree, his song with veteran reggae band Inner Circle.

The launch took place at Circle House, Inner Circle's studio in north Miami, which is hosting the five-day Inner Circle Fest. Activities started Monday.

From Glendevon in Montego Bay, Teejay is among the flood of artistes who have made the tourist city dancehall's epicentre. On Tuesday, the deejay said he was looking forward to bigger things by hooking up with Inner Circle, world-famous for the songs Bad Boys and Sweat.

“This will help mi a lot, because whenever Teejay walk into a room an' dem ask, 'what have you done' or 'who you 'collab' with in di business', yuh can sey Inner Circle an' yuh nuh haffi do nuh background check,” Teejay told the Jamaica Observer. “From yuh seh Inner Circle everybody know, suh it benefit a lot to Teejay.”

Riches w ii A Pree was recorded in May at Circle House. Scheduled for release in December, it is expected to be part of Rags to Riches, his debut album which is earmarked for release in the first quarter of 2022.

Known for hard-core dancehall songs like Fake Smile, Uptop Boss and Attention, Teejay switched management this year to Solid Agency which also has heavy hitters such as Shaggy and Bounty Killer on its books.

Solid Agency head Sharon Burke and Shaggy were among the familiar faces at Circle House Tuesday, as well as members of Inner Circle, Michael Rose, Freddie McGregor, Chino McGregor, Marcia Griffiths, Ky-Mani Marley, Ed Robinson, Oliver Mair (Jamaica's consul general to Miami), and media contingent from Jamaica.

Inner Fest is the brainchild of Abebe Lewis, marketing manager at Circle House. It entails interviews with music industry figures mainly based in South Florida including Shaggy, DJ Khaled, Stephen Marley, and Flo Rida.

Inner Circle was founded in 1968 by brothers Ian and Roger Lewis. They had many hit songs with Jacob Miller during the 1970s such as Tired fi Lick Weed in A Bush, Tenement Yard and Standing Firm.

After Miller's death in 1980, the band moved to Miami where Bad Boys and Sweat gave them a second wind during the early 1990s. Inner Circle have collaborated with new-wave reggae acts including Chronixx, Khago and Kabaka Pyramid.

(From left) Cham; Abebe Lewis, marketing manager at Circle Houseand conceptualiser of Inner Circle Fest; and, Teejay at day-two ofthe five-day event held at Circle House, Inner Circle's studio in northMiami on Tuesday.
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior writer

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