Playlist: Best Reggae of 2017
Playlist: Best Reggae of 2017
*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.
*All Photos courtesy of Tessanne Chin, NBC and Universal Music Group.
After much anticipation, Tessanne Chin’s major label debut album, Count On My Love (2014 Republic Records), is finally here. The season five winner of NBC’s The Voice, who competed on Team Adam Levine (lead singer of Maroon 5), is more than just another reality show champion, but a true artist that has not forgotten where she comes from.
Although iTunes categorizes Count On My Love as pop, the album is heavily rooted in reggae with a touch of dancehall, R&B and dub-step (or as Tessanne calls it, “pop with a Jamaican swag”). The majority of the LP’s songs incorporate Caribbean rhythms mixed with pop melodies to create a unique blend of island vibes that appeals to a universal audience. Tessanne stays true to her heritage by occasionally firing wicked vocal runs in Jamaican patois that are still understandable for non-Jamaican listeners. This element allows her non-Caribbean fans to relate to her lyrics, which is essential to the record’s success.
*All photos courtesy of and provided by Tennille Amor
International reggae superstar, Shaggy, sure knows excellent artists when he hears them. His most recent find, Tennille Amor, is no exception and she’s been working hard on her debut album “EVOLVE through LOVE”. Her latest single, ‘Lion,’ is a conscious roots reggae song that shares the powerful message of staying strong in difficult times. It sounds very different from Tennille’s first single and music video, “Not the One” (produced by Shaggy), which is an empowering anthem about women standing up for themselves under pressure. Her sweet, smooth vocal style appeals to a broad audience and her album’s lyrics of love resonate with everyone. Similar to Shaggy, Tennille is also a generous philanthropist. She heads up her own charity foundation that drills clean water wells in Tanzania, which also inspires much of her music’s lyrics. We got a chance to chat with Tennille about her upcoming album, working with Shaggy, her own charity and much more!
*All photos courtesy of and provided by Million Stylez
Beyoncé, Gentleman and J Boog are just a few names Swedish reggae star, Million Stylez, has collaborated with. Whether it’s R&B, reggae, dancehall or hip-hop, he injects his signature vocal style that is a combination of singing, rapping and deejaying. Although, he’s worked with many artists, Million Stylez maintains a strong solo career and has multiple albums under his belt. His latest EP, Songs About You (2013), showcases his softer side that’s full of positive lover’s rock, one drop riddims. Recently, we caught up with Million Stylez to chat about his upcoming new music, reggae’s popularity in Sweden and much more!
*All photos courtesy of and provided by Jaime Hinckson
Reggae music has no limits. Whether he’s blending the genre with jazz, R&B or pop, Jaime Hinckson’s eloquent and passionate piano melodies soothe listeners everywhere. At the age of 17, this talented young jazz pianist, from Miami, Florida, had the honor of sharing the stage with musical icons John Legend, Shaggy, Patti LaBelle, Al Green and Air Supply at the 2006 Jamaica Jazz Festival. Now in his 20s, Jaime’s music has evolved into a unique style that appeals to a broad audience. It can be heard on his debut album (Take Flight) that features both original songs and various cover tunes of Bruno Mars, John Legend, Bob Marley and Tarrus Riley. Recently, we got a chance to talk to Jaime about his new album, career highlights, the story behind “Miss Mac” and much more.
*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)
*Photos: Various sources
Happy New Year everyone! Welcome to 2014! Last year was amazing and we look forward to everything 2014 has to offer.
A BIG THANK YOU goes out to Elaine “Lil Bit” Shepherd from Vancouver, B.C., Canada for the awesome video shout out!
*Photos courtesy of Conkarah and used with permission.
Every so often, there are artists that manage to create their own style; this usually results from the experimentation of combining multiple musical styles outside their comfort zone. Bob Marley and The Wailers, Shaggy and Sean Paul were bold enough to do so and have gained international acclaim.
Conkarah is no different. On his new EP, Loverbwoy/Rudebwoy (produced by Ezra), Conkarah fuses dubstep with reggae and dancehall to create a new style that we call “reggae-step”. On his latest single, “Be Mine”, Conkarah mixes electronic dancehall rhythms, syncopated synth-reggae melodies and dramatic dubstep fader effects to craft this “reggae-step” love anthem. Like most sing-jays, Conkarah switches between his fiery DJ toasting and sweet singing abilities throughout the song’s verses and choruses. Both “Be Mine” and his EP prove that experimentation really does pay off.
What do you think of Conkarah’s “Be Mine” music video? Comment below! Be sure to follow Conkarah on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. You can also download a FREE copy of his new Loverbwoy/Rudebwoy EP on his Facebook page.
In the last year or so, Hawaiian artists have emerged onto the reggae scene in full force. Musicians such as The Green, J Boog and Anuhea have attracted attention from the reggae community across the world and have even lead to collaborations with prominent Jamaican artists like Tarrus Riley and Peetah Morgan.
Hawaii’s newest artist, Hirie, is certainly no different. Although she was born in the Phillipines and raised in Italy, Hirie spent most of her of life in Oahu, Hawaii. On her brand new debut album (VP Records Associated Label Group – VPAL), she mixes her silky, smooth voice with roots, reggae and pop to create her own unique style. Unlike many solo reggae artists, Hirie records with a live band as opposed to using pre-recorded mixtape “riddims”. This organic feel and sound truly sets Hirie apart from most singers in her genre. Recently, we got a chance to speak with Hirie about her album, reggae’s popularity in Hawaii and much more!
Congrats on your debut album! What is your favorite song on your album and why?
Thank you! It’s hard to say! At the moment, my favorite song is “Lost and Found”. I really enjoy the vibes and the way it makes me feel when I listen to it.
How did your musical career begin? When did you discover you could sing?
I sang at a very young age, maybe three or four. My parents always said they knew I could sing because I would passionately belt out a Whitney Houston song; I began singing at home, in my basement, along with my Barbie karaoke machine (laughs)!