Playlist: Summer Reggae 2016

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Mario Evon Serenades Listeners on Debut Album: Our Review of Reggae-Soul Vol. 1: M.E. On Love

*Live performance photos courtesy of Michael Daley.  Press photos courtesy of Randy Richards.  Album artwork courtesy of Taj Francis.  Full list of album credits on Mario Evon’s Bandcamp page.  

 “What is love?” asks Mario Evon on his debut full-length LP album, Reggae-Soul Vol. 1: M.E. On Love, that tells a classic “boy-meets-girl” love story.  As Evon embarks on a romantic journey of his own, you can’t help but join him on this emotional rollercoaster from start to finish.  Filled with heart-felt, genuine lyrics, each song expresses Evon’s experience during different stages of a relationship.

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

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

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

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

*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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Romain Virgo’s Reggae Cover of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”

*All Photos Courtesy of Niko Browne (Lifeline Music) & Romain Virgo

Check out Romain Virgo’s smooth reggae cover of Sam Smith’s, one-night-stand anthem, “Stay With Me”.  Niko Browne, of Lifeline Music (Jamaica), both produced the track and directed the music video.  Virgo’s superb vocal abilities mixed with Browne’s incredible production skills create an excellent cover.  Browne also produced many of the songs from Romain’s sophomore album The System (2012) (VP Records).

How do you like Romain Virgo‘s version of “Stay With Me”?  Do you like his rendition or Sam Smith’s original better?  Comment below!

Australia’s Rising Reggae Artist:  Our Interview With Eddie “Joe Coffee” Williams

*All photos courtesy of and provided by Eddie “Joe Coffee” Williams

Most people do not associate reggae music with Australia.  With New Zealand being in such close proximity to the country, it did not surprise us that reggae’s popularity has gained strength in Australia as well (as you have learned in our previous articles reggae is extremely popular in New Zealand).  The newest artist to make waves in the Polynesian scene is Eddie “Joe Coffee” Williams.  This Australian lover’s rock crooner serenades his listeners with his smooth R&B vocals and romantic lyrics.  His bright melodies and uplifting rhythms evoke emotions of elation and relaxation that can alleviate anyone’s anxieties.  His latest hits “Why Would You Do That”, “No One” and “For You” have all gathered thousands of YouTube views.  Recently, we had the pleasure to interview Joe Coffee to discuss the Polynesian reggae movement, his songwriting process, musical influences and much more!

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