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

*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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Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s Your Viewers’ Choice: Top 20 Reggae & Dancehall Love Songs from Around the World

*Photos: Various Sources

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we asked all of you (the viewers)  to submit your favorite reggae and dancehall love songs from around the world.  Thank you everyone for your excellent song suggestions.  Although we couldn’t include every single video, we included the most requested songs.   In no specific order, here are your top picks for this lovely month of February (which is also National Reggae Month).  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Alexus Rose “Left Out” (USA)

Romain Virgo “Soul Provider” (Jamaica)

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New Zealand Raggamuffin Music Fest 2014 (Jan 31 – Feb 1)

*Photos: Various Sources including Raggamuffin Festival

The Reggae Around the World: Music Blog team is proud to announce the Raggamuffin Music Festival 2014 live in Rotorua, New Zealand:

Friday 31st Jan, 2014
SHAGGY // REBEL SOULJAHZ 
TIKI TAANE (Ft. OPTIMUS GRYME) // SOLJAH

Saturday 1st Feb, 2014
DAMIAN MARLEY (Ft. GHETTO YOUTHS INTERNATIONAL)
MORGAN HERITAGE // GROUNDATION
HOUSE OF SHEM // THREE HOUSES DOWN // SONS OF ZION

With more acts/special guests still to be announced!
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For more information, check them out on:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/raggamuffinNZ
Twitter – https://twitter.com/RaggamuffinFest
Instagram – http://instagram.com/raggamusicfestnz

“Big Tings a Gwaan”: Our Interview with Legendary Reggae Band Inner Circle

Inner Circle HD Group

The Legendary Inner Circle

*All photos courtesy of and provided by Inner Circle

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Inner Circle’s 20 year plus music legacy, let us fill you in.  Although they are best known for their hit song “Bad Boys” (which became the iconic theme song for Fox’s TV show Cops), Inner Circle are much more than a television band.

Since the mid-70s, Inner Circle’s blend of reggae, rock and pop have solidified them as one of the first Jamaican reggae bands to crossover to the mainstream American music scene and have shared the stage with pop/rock music icons such as Elton John, Carlos Santana, Peter Gabriel, Van Morrison, Sinead O’Conner, The Black Crowes, Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and more.  Additionally, this Grammy award-winning band has toured internationally, garnered a global fan base and has sold millions of records worldwide (some of their most notable albums include Bad Boys, Reggae Dancer and Big Tings).

Today, as one of the most esteemed bands in the industry, Inner Circle continues to create music on a daily basis at their own Circle Village recording studio and have collaborated with Damian & Stephen Marley, members of Morgan Heritage , Slightly Stoopid and many others.  We caught up with Inner Circle to chat about reggae’s popularity, their new Reggae Wave project, Circle Village Studios and much more.

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Reggae’s Multi-Talented Musician: Our Interview with Bryan Art

Bryan Art Album

Check out Bryan Art’s debut album featuring collaborations with Queen Ifrica, Warrior King, Capleton and Hawkeye (2013 VP Records Associated Label Group – VPAL)

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.

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Bruno Mars, Damian Marley and Apache Indian Create Superb South Asian Reggae

*Photos: Various sources

Country/Region: Hawaii (USA), Jamaica (Caribbean), England (Europe), India (South Asia)

What do you get when you combine traditional Indian music, a Hindu prayer, roots reggae and three of the most successful international multi-platinum artists?  You get two wicked versions of an Indian reggae song that have both become immensely popular!  Everyone knows Bruno Mars and Damian Marley’s hit “Liquor Store Blues” from Bruno’s debut album Doo – Wops & Hooligans (2010); but, did you know it is derived from Apache Indian’s song “Om Numah Shivaya” that appears on his album Time for Change (2005)?

British born, Apache Indian proudly displays his East Indian heritage on “Om Numah Shivaya”, which is a Hindu prayer that translates into “adoration to [the God] Shiva”.  He incorporates Hindu chants, a classical Indian flute, tabla drums and various Indian percussion instruments into this roots reggae “riddim”.  Apache’s English lyrics describe his personal journey of discovering his true identity in a multicultural world.

On “Liquor Store Blues”, Hawaiian native, Bruno Mars brings strong vocal chops to his version of the tune as he trades verses with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley.  Bruno’s slightly faster rendition infuses more rock elements with an Indian sitar-styled guitar solo towards the middle of the track.  Damian’s rapped verses mimic the rhythmic melody perfectly as he brings his signature blend of roots, reggae and DJ toasting.  This dynamic duo definitely has chemistry and should consider doing a collaboration album together.

Whose version of the song do you prefer?  Comment below!

Our Interview with Conkarah: Jamaica’s Positive Reggae Sensation

Performing live at Jamaica's Reggae Sumfest 2012

Performing live at Jamaica’s Reggae Sumfest 2012

If you’re seeking “feel good” music, look no further than Jamaica’s talented reggae singer, Conkarah.  With hits like “Forever”, “Draw You Close”, “Addicted”, “Island Girl” and “No Barbershop”, Conkarah is no stranger to the music industry.  In fact, he performed at last year’s Reggae Sumfest 2012 alongside Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Bunny Wailer (of Bob Marley & the Wailers) and many more.  We got a chance to sit down with Conkarah and discuss his music, inspiration, goals and the global success of reggae music.

For those not familiar with you, can you briefly tell us how your musical career began?

“I was walking through one of the halls at my university and walked past a choir rehearsal.  It was fantastic!  From the harmonies to the tonality, I said to myself ‘I have to audition’.  The very next day, I did just that and earned a spot with the bass/baritones.  After my first choir practice, it was a wrap.  I knew I’d never be truly happy doing anything else but music, and it’s been an exciting journey ever since.”

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