*Photos provided by and courtesy of Common Kings 

The American reggae movement is the strongest it has ever been in history.  With many successful artists and bands like SOJA, J Boog, The Green and Rebelution selling out venues every year, reggae is surely gaining prominence.  One band in particular ranks very high with their contemporaries … The Common Kings.

These Kings are no strangers to the reggae scene.  Junyer (lead vocals), Ivan (bass), Rome (drums) and Mata (guitar) formed four years ago at a jam session and have since released a plethora of hit singles, including “No Other Love” (featuring J Boog & Fiji), “Fly”, “Alcoholic”, “Wade in Your Water”, “Your Turn”, “Before You Go” and more.  The Common Kings blend reggae, R&B, soul, island, pop and rock into an original, eclectic sound like no other.  Their unique style even caught the attention of, pop music superstar, Justin Timberlake who asked the band to open for him during his Australian and New Zealand fall 2014 tour.  This was quite an achievement for an unsigned and unknown band. 

Despite touring with an “A-List” artist, these everyday guys from Orange Country, California (with Polynesian roots) remain humble, down-to-earth and grateful for their success.  The band interacts with their fans on social media and keeps them updated about upcoming tours and music.  Recently, we chatted with the Common Kings to discuss their story, music, opening for Justin Timberlake, their upcoming album and much more.         

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From Jamming at Home to Touring with Justin Timberlake: Our Interview with American Reggae Band The Common Kings

*Photos Courtesy of the artists’ official Facebook fan pages and various sources

For our second annual Valentine’s Day Viewers’ Choice article, we asked you to submit your favorite romantic reggae and dancehall songs from around the world.  Thank you for your song submissions.  Even though we could not include every single video, we featured the most requested songs.  In no specific order, here were your top picks for February 2015 (aka International Reggae Month).  Happy Valentine’s Day! 

Randy Valentine “Lock Me Up” (England)

Trey Smoov “Beauty Queen” feat. J Boog & Fiji (USA & Fiji)   

Quique Neira “Agua de la Fuente (Un amor)” (Chile)

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Our 2nd Annual Valentine’s Day Viewers’ Choice 2015: Your Top 20 Romantic Reggae & Dancehall Songs From Around the World!

XOVA Logo*All photos courtesy of and provided by XOVA  

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.

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England’s Wicked Reggae Band: Our Interview with XOVA

*Photos courtesy of and provided by Rebecca Beralas 

Hawaii’s Rebecca Beralas’ has certainly come a long way. From her early days in elementary school, humming her favorite songs, to her later days in her adult years, leading underground reggae bands, Rebecca Beralas has finally released her debut EP album as a solo artist. This incredibly gifted songstress showcases her strong, yet soothing vocals with lyrics that touch on love, empowerment, struggle and self-reflection. Rebecca’s signature sound fuses lovers rock reggae, dub, R&B, pop, island and soul that brings joy to everyone’s ears with her uplifting array of original romantic ballads. Strongly influenced by both Hawaiian and Jamaican reggae, Beralas’ music truly brings positive vibrations from both islands with the power to evoke the happiest memories of your life. With a powerful EP, we cannot wait to hear her full length LP! We recently sat down with Rebecca to discuss her upcoming album, Hawaiian reggae, future live shows and much more.

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A ‘Sweet Kiss’ from Hawaii: Our Interview with Rebecca Beralas

*Photos Courtesy of Various Sources

Today, The Honorable Robert Nesta Marley officially celebrates his 70th Anniversary.  Despite his passing in 1981, he is more popular than ever.  Marley’s compilation album, Legend (1984), is the  most successful reggae album of all time and continues to sell tens of millions of copies worldwide.  The King of Reggae helped popularize the genre across the globe from the United States to Japan (and everywhere in between).

In honor of his 70th anniversary, we decided to show you how much Bob Marley has influenced musicians around the world with The Playing For Change (PFC) Band.  The PFC Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps raise money to build music and art schools for children across the planet.  The PFC Band, comprises of the world’s best musicians, to record classic songs that resonate with all audiences.  In addition to their albums, they also tour extensively around the world to raise money for their noble cause.  The PFC Band loves reggae as much as we do, especially Bob Marley!  Take a look at the PFC Band playing his hits like “One Love”, “Three Little Birds” and more.  You may see some familiar faces in the videos too!  Happy 70th Birthday Bob! 

“Redemption Song” featuring Stephen Marley

“Words of Wonder/Get Up, Stand Up” featuring Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones

“War/No More Trouble” featuring Bono of U2

“One Love”

“Three Little Birds”

Bob Marley Around The World: Celebrate His 70th Anniversary With The Playing For Change Band

*Photos: Various sources including Grammy, Reggae Sumfest and more

Last night, the Recording Academy celebrated the 57th Annual Grammy Award Nominations by hosting “A Very GRAMMY Christmas” concert on CBS. Hosted by hip-hop icon, LL Cool J, the night was filled with delightful performances by Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Pharrell Williams, Mary J. Blige, Sam Smith and more.  Although no reggae artists performed, the academy announced the official nominations for “Best Reggae Album” yesterday. And the nominees are (drumroll please) …

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The 2015 Grammy Nominations for Best Reggae Album Announced!

*Photos: Various sources

Greetings everyone!  The holiday season has officially begun and like Santa, we’ve been getting lots of special requests for music.  During these past few months, no other riddim has received as many requests as The Uptown Julie Riddim (2014 FME Recordings).

Why is this riddim so popular?  According to our fans, they love the fusion of urban dancehall rhythms, uplifting reggae melodies and soothing pop strings that remind them of summer.  The Uptown Julie Riddim features Ricky Blaze, Zoelah, Gyptian and Kes the Band on four hot tracks:

Ricky Blaze “All I Need”

Zoelah “Sell Off”

Gyptian “Stunta”

Kes The Band “Endless Summer”

The riddim’s producer, Ricky Blaze, describes the making of the Uptown Julie Riddim in this interview video.  Also, be sure to watch the riddim’s two music videos – Gyptian’s “Stunta” and Kes the Band’s “Endless Summer”.  Finally, listen to the full riddim mix by Dr. Bean Soundz.   

How do you like the Uptown Julie Riddim?  Comment below! 

Making of the Uptown Julie Riddim

Gyptian “Stunta” (Official Music Video)

Kes The Band “Endless Summer” (Official Music Video)

The Uptown Julie Riddim Mix by Dr. Bean Soundz

   

2014’s Most Requested Riddim: The Uptown Julie Riddim (FME Recordings)

*All photos courtesy of and provided by Awa

If you already didn’t know, reggae is immensely popular in New Zealand.  The genre was popularized as far back as the 1970s and 1980s by bands such as Herbs and Unity Pacific. In 1979, Bob Marley’s legendary concert, at the country’s Western Springs Stadium, had a tremendous influence on many artists to form their own bands; many believed it was the catalyst for the spread of the genre.  Additionally, some of the island’s Maori people gravitated towards the Rastafarian religion that also contributed to the rise of reggae in New Zealand.

Today, one of the most prominent artists to hit the scene is Awa (a former member of the band Nesian Mystik).  Now as a solo artist, his signature sound that blends romantic reggae and soulful R&B has captivated New Zealand’s listeners.  His debut EP, Native Intel (2011), earned him three Maori Music Awards for Best Maori Songwriter, Best Song and Best Maori Male Artist.  Two years later, Awa’s follow up album, Heartbeat (2013), broke the Top 10 New Zealand Album Chart for his hits “Home”, “Perfect Day” (featuring Hawaii’s Anuhea) and “Back In My Life” (featuring New Zealand’s House of Shem).  Now in 2014, this double platinum artist continues to pen more hit songs, especially on collaborations with CRSB and Pieter T.  Recently, we caught up with Awa to talk about his career, upcoming concert and latest single.

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New Zealand’s Romantic Reggae Star: Our Interview with Awa

*All photos courtesy of and provided by Andre Fennell

Shaggy, Damian Marley, Diddy, Chris Brown and Beyonce are just some of the few international superstars that Andre “GC” Fennell has penned hit songs for. Now in 2014, this six-time Grammy nominated songwriter has emerged as a solo artist with his powerful and poignant debut single, “Fight For You”, that’s producing major buzz in the music scene. Fennell’s ability to fuse reggae, hip-hop and R&B creates a smooth, sensual sound all his own. Not only is he launching his solo career, but he is also fronting a new band called “17”; their first single and music video, “Child of the City”, will be directed by Hollywood director, Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Planet Terror, Machete). We got a chance to chat with Andre about his new music, life as a songwriter and much more.

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Grammy Nominated Songwriter Emerges As Solo Artist: Our Interview with Andre “GC” Fennell

*Photos:  Various Sources

What’s your favorite Bob ‘Nesta’ Marley song? “One Love”, “Three Little Birds”, “No Woman, No Cry” are all reggae classics and synonymous with Jamaican music. Tourists who visit the country look forward to hearing those tunes on the beach to enhance their island experience. Should they arrive next year January to February 2015, tourists can also enjoy their favorite Marley numbers live in theater!

That’s right, a Marley musical! The Bob Marley Group of Companies has partnered with the Jamaica Musical Theatre Company’s (JMTC) to present the JMTC’s upcoming original children’s musical production, Nesta’s Rock. Not only is the musical inspired by his childhood, but Nesta’s Rock also marks and celebrates the 70th Anniversary of the late king of reggae on February 6, 2015. The musical will create new renditions of Marley’s most popular singles, such as “Trench Town Rock”, “Redemption Song”, “Could You Be Loved” and many others.

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Bob Marley Musical Celebrates 70th Anniversary: The Jamaica Musical Theatre Company Presents “Nesta’s Rock” Coming 2015!