On a high note
Music at an all-time highFriday, July 03, 2020
BY KEVIN JACKSON
SINCE their teenage years, Jordan “Tall Man” Armond and Blaise “Binghi” Davis were smitten by music. It was, therefore, not surprising they teamed up to form Natural High Music seven years ago.
“Natural High as an official label started in 2013 but we have been making music together since 2004 when we attended Ardenne High. A good friend of ours, DJ Crooks, who now DJs at popular dancehall parties in Los Angeles, brought a copy of the production software Fruity Loops 3 to school and basically introduced a whole lot of people to the world of beat-making. Also, Virtual DJ was brand new at that time, so it was just a big year learning. After graduating from college in 2013 we returned to Jamaica to start the label,” Armond told the Jamaica Observer's Splash.
Today, Natural High Music is one of the more in-demand production houses. The label's production credits include Glory to God by Wayne Marshall, Black is Beautiful (Chronixx from his Grammy-nominated album Chronology), Reggae Music (Kabaka Pyramid), Where I' m Coming From (Lila Ike), The One (Tessanne Chin featured on Natural High Music's Urban Roots II album) and Best Kept Secret (Kelissa).
Armond studied music business at Elmhurst College in Chicago, while Blaise studied audio engineering at Full Sail University in Florida.
“Music is a natural vibe that we just tapped into. We were always listening to music, being around studios, musicians, and creatives growing up regardless. We just decided to make our lifestyle our business,” said Armond.
Said Armond, “Our first major placement on an album was Lutan Fyah's Life of a King. We produced four records on that album and it really gave us our first taste of what official business music is about. Big up to Khabir Bonner of Grillaras Records for believing in us at the time. He showed us the importance of business such as publishing and registering your songs. As for the first official Natural High independent release that would have to be the Muddy Road rhythm. We created that in a bedroom studio and did the whole project ourselves. Record, mix, master, even the artwork. We really believe in being hands on with our projects because it is something that comes from a passionate place.”
Blaise explained what differentiates the sound their sound.
“Our sound truly is a reflection of what we enjoy listening to. You can hear the diverse influences in the records we release. Reggae, dub and dancehall being a genuine part of our upbringing in Jamaica but also we enjoy digging into what the greats listen to. Many producers enjoy Bob Marley but The Wailers listened to Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions so we try to draw on influences from those times. Foundation sounds mixed with modern techniques and flavours such as rhythm and blues, soul, and gospel, hip-hop, dub, bossa nova and EDM. You name it we are there,” said Blaise.
Jordan Armond is the nephew of singer Wayne Armond of the veteran band Chalice.
“He is truly one of our best friends and mentors. We look to Wayne for guidance in this industry, as you know it can be a treacherous one. But more importantly, he shares the same pure love for music that is the foundation to Natural High. He has travelled the world and done so many things that we aim to do one day but at his core, he is a humble servant to the music and art. We feel that way too,” Armond said of his uncle.
They cite Wayne Marshall's 2018 massive hit Glory to God as their biggest hit song to date.
Among the up-and-coming acts that they have worked with are Naomi Cowan, Eesah, Jaz Elise, Indie Allen, Royal Blu and Roots Percussionist.
Last year, Natural High Music released the various artistes project Urban Roots II.
“ Urban Roots II was a big win for us. All the artistes featured on the project gave genuine support and good vibes to the cause. We got Tessanne Chin, Eesah, Kabaka Pyramid, Jesse Royal, Makonnen, Capleton, Keznamdi, Wayne Marshall, and Dennis Brown. As of right now we are promoting our new video for a record we released last year, Cane Fields featuring Wayne Marshall, Jesse Royal and Kabaka Pyramid, delivering what seems to me a very prolific verse given that the song was crafted more than a year ago. We have upcoming works this year with Protoje, Lila Ike, Jaz Elise, Naomi Cowan and others,” Armond shared.
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