Playlist: Best Reggae of 2018
Playlist: Best Reggae of 2016
*Photos Courtesy of GRAMMY & artists’ Facebook pages
As next week’s 2016 GRAMMY Awards approaches, the excitement builds as artists and fans await the announcement for “Best Reggae Album”. This year’s nominees include Continue reading
*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.
Photos courtesy of Messenjah
Have you ever had enough of the constant barrage of negative news stories in the world? From corrupt governments, police brutality and other horrible events, there doesn’t seem to be much good news. One band, in particular, is tired of all of this and they have something to say about it …
“We’ve had it!
With all the games you’re playing,
while the system is failing now.
We’ve had it!
With all the lies you’re telling
my heart is rebelling.
We’ve had it!
Babylon is falling,
now the people are leaving town.”
These powerful lyrics by Canada’s legendary reggae pioneers, Messenjah, have returned with their brand new music video, “We’ve Had It”. The current band members consists of Rupert “Ojiji” Harvey (Lead vocals and guitar), Carl ” Carlos Bandana” Harvey (Lead guitar and vocals – lead guitar player of Toots and the Maytals for over two decades), Charles ” Tower” Sinclair (Bass), Hailie ” Slyly” Yeates (Percussion and Keyboards), Orville ” Wiz” Malcolm (Keyboards and Vocals) and Robert “Hagar” Stephenson (Drums and Vocals).
What’s your story? Everyone has one and we’ve all experienced difficult times in our lives. Although the details of our stories may differ, we can all relate to the lyrics of Golden Chyld’s “Uphill Battle”. This uplifting new single speaks of his own personal journey of overcoming adversity, despite life’s many obstacles.
It’s a stark contrast to his previous releases, “Joanna Wine” and Rise Up”, that are firmly rooted in dancehall. “Uphill Battle” is a softer ballad with gospel and reggae influences. Golden Chyld sets a strong spiritual atmosphere with heavenly strings and soothing saxophones for this soulful single as he sings, “never let the rest of us forget, we have a duty to [help] the less fortunate”. This isn’t just a lyric in the song; he is taking social action as well.
*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.