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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Shaggy Discovers Trinidad’s Rising Reggae Artist: Our Interview with Tennille Amor

*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!

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Conscious Reasoning: Our Interview with Sweden’s Million Stylez

*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!

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Take Flight on a Reggae Jazz Journey: Our Interview with Jaime Hinckson

*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.

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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

Conkarah Fuses Reggae, Dancehall & Dubstep on “Be Mine”

*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.

Mario Evon Serenades Us with “Soul Tek”

*Photos courtesy of Mario Evon & Reynaldo Martin

Have you ever experienced a deep, romantic connection with someone you’ve met for the very first time?  Mario Evon sure has; in “Soul Tek”, the reggae-soul singer/songwriter describes his serendipitous encounter with a beautiful girl.  According to Mario, soul tek is “the state of being experienced, when the spiritual or immortal part of a human is captivated by the essence of another human upon first exposure.  It is often categorized by increased heart rate and an overwhelming desire to access and remain in the company of the other human in order to sustain the connection.”

“Soul Tek”, Mario’s first single off his debut album Reggae-Soul M.E. on Love Volume 1, was recorded at Bob Marley’s legendary Tuff Gong Studios in Jamaica with a live band.  Evon’s smooth vocals and mollifying melodies create a catchy hook on the chorus:

Mi soul tek, mi soul tek yu baby
Soul tek to yu nah lie
Mi soul tek, mi soul tek to yu baby
Soul tek to yu cyaan hide

Sing along as you watch his new music video.  What do you think of “Soul Tek”?  Comment below!  “Soul Tek” is now available on iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp.  You can follow Mario Evon on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Hawaii’s Newest Pop-Reggae Artist: Our Interview with Hirie

Hirie is one of Hawaii’s brightest breakout stars of 2013. Her debut album is available now on iTunes!

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!

On set for her new music video “Sensi Boy”

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)!

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Tessanne Chin Mesmerizes All Four Judges On NBC’s The Voice!

*All photos courtesy of NBC’s The Voice

Last night on NBC’s The Voice, Jamaica’s pride and joy, Tessanne Chin impressed all four judges (Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green and Blake Shelton) with her amazing cover of Pink’s pop hit “Try”.  All four judges instantly hit their button in excitement to signify they wanted her on their teams.  The crowd went wild and as she sang her final note!

After her performance, Adam complimented her by saying, “You can easily win The Voice this year, I don’t have a doubt in mind!”  He added that reggae music is his favorite musical genre in the world.  After much battling between the judges, Tessanne finally picked Team Adam!

We wish Tessanne Chin all the best of luck this season of The Voice!  She could be the first Jamaican in history to win the contest! Go  #TeamTessanne!

Check out her performance from last night below and also our video of her lover’s rock hit “Family”!  What do you think of Tessanne Chin?  Comment below!