Monday, 10 October 2011
ON THE RECORD: Protoje in it for the long run
Cementing his place in the pantheon of ascendant reggae singer-songwriters who matter, Protoje continues to thrill listeners with radio-ready anthems about hope and affection, off his still-buzzworthy first album, The Seven Year Itch, which now has an accompanying book of lyrics. Recently, Protoje dropped the gorgeously shot visual for the track “No Lipstick,” a romantic hit laden with sly undertones. The star phoned in to speak about holding his own in a star-studded industry, writing timeless hits, and keeping his eyes on the prize.
TALLAWAH: From your perspective, how does one survive life in the music biz when surrounded by such mega-talented contemporaries?
Protoje: The sky is wide, and every star can shine. To each his own. Basically, I just do my thing, hoping that people like it and respond to it. It’s a big industry and one person shining doesn’t stop another person from shining as well.
TALLAWAH: And no doubt you are appreciative of the many blessings you’ve been afforded.
Protoje: I feel very fortunate just knowing that this is the start and things are going well. But this is just the beginning of greater things to come. I know I haven’t achieved as yet what I set out to accomplish, but right now I’m very fortunate to be doing this, something that I love, as my profession.
TALLAWAH: Your latest video, for the single “No Lipstick,” is vibrant and breathtakingly filmed. I recognize the location as a cozy little spot in Portland called Great Huts, in the vicinity of Boston Bay. Why did you choose that particular location?
Protoje: Well, it chose itself really. My sister [video director LeAnn Ollivierre] had heard about it and decided to shoot there. The place was ideal for the kind of vibe that we wanted for the video.
TALLAWAH: What was the source of inspiration for the song, which is simply dripping with slyness and a hint of sensuality?
Protoje: I got the concept for the song like three years ago, but I didn’t get around to actually writing it until long after. It’s about sharing time and space with that someone that I check for.
TALLAWAH: I’m quite certain that recording and performing keeps you occupied, but outside of music where do your interests lie?
Protoje: Just issues like human rights, which is something I’m really into as a member of society. But because of my career I don’t have the time for many things; I stay consumed with music so that’s where most of my time and energy goes.
TALLAWAH: What’s most important to you moving forward?
Protoje: The main thing for me going forward is maintaining a balance with reality and life. I have to keep my balance and my sanity as I go through this.
>>NATURAL BEAUTY: Take a look at Protoje’s “No Lipstick”: