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Krisirie desires to Return to Love

Observer senior writer

Friday, July 03, 2020

With all the turmoil in the world, just watching the news on television can be depressing even for a teenager.

Barbadian singer Krisirie was 19 when the saturation of negative reports on the news left her despondent. It was then that the first lines of what would be Return to Love were written.

“I was watching the news one night and afterwards I was extremely drained by everything I saw. I just remember feeling helpless at the time and in the midst of these emotions, the first few words of the song came to my heart; 'I can't turn on the news anymore because it pulls me into depression',” she recalled during a recent interview with the Jamaica Observer's Splash.

“I remember writing that in my journal with a few other lines and I closed the book. Two weeks later, I was in the studio with Willie and Handel in Miami, completely unexpected. We didn't plan to create when we met but Handel was playing the keyboard at the time and I expressed that I had an idea we could work on. From that moment the song wrote itself; we surrendered to the divine process in the studio,” Krisirie added.

Willie and Handel are drummer Willie Stewart and keyboardist Handel Tucker, who co-produced Return to Love, a somber ballad yearning for more stable times. It was released in late June.

Krisirie wrote the draft of Return to Love four years ago at a time when the world's focus was on pending elections in the United States. At the time of its release, the global impact of COVID-19 was still rife, and national polls in the US were just months away.

“Truthfully, while we were writing Return to Love, I didn't fully understand what was taking place, I was young, 19 years old! Years later, after it being released, it reminded me that even then I was being used as a vessel for a message that the world needed to hear and be reminded of. It's about returning to what sustains us as humanity and what always wins— love,” she said.

Born Kristen Walker in Christchurch, Barbados, Krisirie has been recording since 2015. Her debut song was Wind Blows, which has been followed by easy-listening singles like Sad Magic and Longtime Love.

She met Stewart (former drummer for Third World) through Arturo Tappin, the Barbadian saxophonist. After meeting Stewart and Tucker (whose production credits include work on Maxi Priest's Bonafide album) at the former's studio in South Florida, she pitched her ballad to them and with their experience, Return to Love was completed with additional lyrics and Tucker on keyboards.

Stewart, who organises the annual Rhythms of Africa show in South Florida, believes Krisirie has the goods to go further.

“She has a very unique vocal style and she is passionate about her singing. Her message will resonate through the world right to the top,” he told the Observer.

Krisirie points to diverse influences, including Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Drake, Chronixx and Popcaan. Her approach to songwriting is spontaneous.

“Truly, I just create what I am feeling and I'm always looking for something I didn't do before, something to make me go, 'Wow, I didn't know I could do that'. I grew up listening to all styles of music but reggae, soul and jazz were constant. My sound is a blend of these genres and as I grow, the music is forever evolving with me,” she said.