Singer, songwriter, musician, bandleader and touring veteran Bryan Art is no stranger to the music scene. This Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts alum has toured as a guitarist for Luciano, Sizzla and Mikey General. In addition to being a band member, Bryan has been the co-founder and band leader for Bushman’s touring band, Grassroots. Not only can he perform, but he can compose as well; Bryan has penned songs for reggae crooners George Nooks, Singing Melody, Bushman, Luciano and Etana.
Now in 2013, he has emerged as a successful solo artist and earned a distribution deal with VP Records Associated Label Group (VPAL). His impressive debut album features collaborations with reggae heavy hitters such as Queen Ifrica, Warrior King, Capleton and Hawkeye. We recently talked with Bryan about his new album, his 2012 Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival performance and his future plans.
Thanks! The lyrics of my songs are strongly influenced by a need to inject and induce some positive vibrations and thinking into a generation that is being slow-poisoned by over exposure to negative media content, including popular music. I listen to a wide variety of music (sometimes passively) but reggae, which forms the core of my sound, is a legacy that you access naturally once you grow up in Jamaica, even if you would apply any resistance to your roots.
You collaborated with Queen Ifrica, Warrior King, Capleton and Hawkeye on the album. What was it like working with them?
Yes, I have done collaborations with Queen Ifrica, Warrior King, Capleton and Hawkeye; each was a different experience. Few common factors however are the humility of each artist and the feeling of accomplishment, having set such a track record for myself, that artists of such high caliber would feel comfortable holding a vibe with me.
Are there any other artists you would like to work with in the future?
Artists that I would collaborate with are too many to mention, but it is with extreme honor that I have broken grounds on a project to begin soon involving the great Toots Hilbert. That duet is my present excitement. I would also like to collaborate with Damian “Junior Gong” Marley.
Why do you think reggae music is so popular around the world?
I think reggae music is so popular around the world because of its energy and realness. Also, because the genre is suppressed from the mainstream music scene, it peaks an interest. Then, once you have discovered reggae you are locked in.
What does the genre mean to you?
To me, reggae is a sense of purpose, sacrifice, strength and identity. It is a product of meaningful rebellion and at the same time clean, refreshing entertainment.
Performing at the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Festival 2012 was a wonderful experience. Apart from the mixed audience, which was a grand opportunity for expanding my horizons, it felt really cool and surreal to be in the same queue with the likes of Celine Dion and Gentleman (the latter of whom to my huge surprise, introduced himself as a huge fan of my music). My head swelled because I was an even bigger fan of his!
Are there any other musical genres you’d like to experiment with?
There are definitely a lot of other genres that I’d like to experiment with. As a matter of fact I wouldn’t bar any; I love variety! As a matter of fact track number 10, “No Malice”, on my new self-titled album is a fusion of techno instrumental and a touch of reggae. That is just an indication of my openness and what is to come.
It would definitely be in the heart of Downtown Kingston, Jamaica in an attempt to capture the spirit of the fathers of reggae music. Also, I would like to record in Detroit, USA because of Motown and its history.
Is there anything else you would like everyone to know?
I would like everyone to know that Bryan Art is a rising sun and you will be affected. Be blessed!
*All photos courtesy of and provided by Bryan Art
Check out Bryan perform live! Also listen to his new song “Fresh Start” from his EP. Watch below: