It’s no surprise that the United Kingdom (UK) produces some of the best reggae music. After all, Jamaica was a British colony prior to the island’s independence in 1962 and since then, many Caribbean people have migrated back to England as well. With the large Caribbean population, it was inevitable for reggae to be reborn in the UK. If you’ve ever been England, you’ll discover that reggae is extremely popular. Birmingham, England, in particular, has produced some of reggae’s greatest bands including Steel Pulse, UB40 and now … XOVA.
This multicultural, Birmingham sextet mixes a variety of musical genres including funk, rock, pop and jazz with a strong reggae backbone. Their groovy melodies, smooth vocals and heavy rhythms support the bright brass section that colors each song with character. XOVA’s veteran band members are no strangers to the music scene with some playing for Pato Banton, Michael Jackson, Sting and Beres Hammond (just to name a few). Their music videos for “9 Lives”, “Just Wanna Be Famous” and “Knife Crime City” have helped earn them over 44,000 views on their YouTube channel (and they’re just getting started). Recently, we chatted with XOVA about their story, sound, upcoming album and much more.
What’s your story? How did you guys form?
Xova started out as a Reggae covers band and our manager at the time was also managing another band, where our lead vocalist was part of that line up but wanted to leave because of musical differences. As a songwriter he wanted to experiment with different genres and musical influences and this band gave him that opportunity, so the manager asked him to join our Reggae covers band which later evolved into Xova. Before we actually became Xova, we were invited to do some shows in Lithuania with a Lithuanian artist and then asked to perform Live on the Lithuanian Eurovision Song contest on live TV, where we performed our own song “All This time” and that song is now available on YouTube. This was the Birth and Rise of Xova.
How do you best describe your sound?
The best way to describe our sound is like a Magic eye picture… on first glance you can’t see anything, but eventually it comes into Focus and makes sense.
What topics inspire your lyrics?
We would say the topics that inspire our lyrics aren’t any particular one, but Events from around the world and personal experiences with an added addition of a crazy imagination.
What does reggae music mean to you as a band?
Reggae music is the solid backbone structure to where we go musically, but always carrying a reggae influence.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
The Beauty of this band is the multicultural, multi age aspect of the band and it gives us an advantage for us to bring all our influences into our sound. From bands like The Beatles, Bob Marley, Thin Lizzy, John Holt, Dennis Brown, Pink Floyd,
Steel Pulse, Bruno Mars, Amy Winehouse, Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, Paolo Nutini, Morgan Heritage, Marvin Gaye, Dionne Warwick, George Benson, Earth Wind and Fire, Kool and the Gang, Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, The Eagles.
Which artists would you like to collaborate with in the future?
We would love to collaborate with artists like, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Mark Ronson, Sean Paul, Ed Sheeran, Pharrell Williams and Calvin Harris.
How did reggae music become so popular in England/UK?
Although Reggae music originated from Jamaica, the UK started to take to it massively as Reggae and Blue Beat aka Ska got played in the Clubs around England. This was because of the flourish of Jamaican artists like Nicky Thomas, Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Johnny Nash, and the great Bob Marley coming to the UK to do live shows. But it has to be said that Bob Marley and the Wailers were very instrumental in catapulting Reggae to the next level worldwide, so much so that the Radio and T.V stations had to sit up and take notice. By now they were very interested and intrigued, as this was something they had never heard before… this prompted certain Radio D.J’s to take a keen interest in putting Reggae music to the forefront of the urban scene, to get the attention of the program directors to put the music on airplay rotation. Eventually helping them to enter the national UK Pop charts, with Reggae Stars making live appearances on live TV, gaining them much popularity.
Why do you think reggae is so popular around the world?
In our humble opinion, Bob Marley is one of the Main reasons why Reggae music became so popular all around the world. The other reason is because it’s the kind of music that brings Joy to the Masses, as it doesn’t matter what your into, somebody will always love certain vibes, even if they don’t want to, as when you listen the rhythm and pulsation of the music draws you in. The advantage of Reggae is it has a human feel to it and people can relate to its inspirational lyrical content in their everyday life. So whatever your mood, Reggae music will always get you through, as it’s so unique.
Where can your fans see you perform live?
Our record label “Streets Music” is putting together a Big tour support to promote our new album “Synchronise Your Leaders” as well as pushing our new single and video “Lullaby”, which will include a radio station tour all over the UK. All dates once confirmed will be available on our official website, as well as Facebook page at: http://www.xovamusic.com
Is there anything you’d like your fans to know?
We want our fans to let us know what their favorite Xova songs are, what they like about the band, who is their favorite member, and why so we could get in touch with them to tell them about up and coming tour dates, new recordings/videos, etc. They can connect with the band on our social media pages at:
Watch XOVA’s music videos for “9 Lives”, “Just Wanna Be Famous” and “Knife Crime City”. How do you like XOVA’s music? Comment below!
“Just Wanna Be Famous”
“Knife Crime City”