Playlist: Our Favorite Reggae Riddims
Playlist: Fall Reggae 2015
*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.
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.
*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.
*All photos courtesy of House of Shem
House of Shem is proof that musical genes run in the family. As one of New Zealand’s most successful and well-known reggae bands since 2008, House of Shem consists of Carl Perkins and his two sons Te Omeka and Isaiah. Carl is a reggae veteran in his own right with thirty-plus years in the industry singing, writing and playing guitar for bands such as Herbs, Mana and The Twelve Tribes of Israel. Carl’s sons, Te Omeka and Isaiah, follow in their father’s footsteps; they sing, play keyboards and compose as well. This strong musical trio allows the band to have three lead vocalists that harmonize each other perfectly. House of Shem’s family bond is an essential element to their incredible song writing ability.
The band’s most recent release Harmony (2014) has gathered international acclaim and attention due to their distribution deal with VP Records Associated Label Group (VPAL Music). The album’s first single and music video, “Take You There”, has gained over 160,000+ YouTube hits and continues to dominate the online reggae radio community.
One of our favorite tunes from Harmony is their lover’s rock anthem “She’s Mine. We know how much you all enjoy lover’s rock, so we made a video for our YouTube Channel! How do you like our video for House of Shem’s “She’s Mine”? Comment below!
*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!