Sunday, 25 March 2012

GIRL OF THE MOMENT: Lenya champions national pride with “Yeh Man Jamaica”

THE RIGHT NOTE: “Right now I am very happy with where I am,” says Wilks of her burgeoning career.

Singer Lenya Wilks first caught our attention back in 2007 as a supremely talented aspirant on the televised talent series Rising Stars, belting out hits of love, hope and empowerment week after week, impressing judges and home audiences. Apart from top two finishers Romain Virgo and Jodian Pantry, she was all anyone was talking about. And with the way she sounds (blessed with a glorious multi-octave range), there’s a lot to discuss.

Take for instance, her latest original single “Yeh Man Jamaica,” a pulsating ode to the spirit of excellence that defines true Jamaicans everywhere. The catchy and beautifully performed tune was written to coincide with this year’s special Jamaica 50 celebrations and to help bolster the resolve of our athletes as they take on the rest of the world at the Olympics in London this summer. “It’s a song that we are really proud of and want to share not just with our fellow Jamaicans but with the rest of the world,” says a beaming Wilks, calling via telephone. “I think that 50 years of Independence is a great achievement that highlights what we have achieved, and I hope that [the country] continues to excel.”

Promotion has been progressing steadily for the blockbuster single, which shows off the singer’s throaty vocals and is set to outperform such previous Lenya Wilks sleeper hits as the intimate reggae-R&B ballad “I Hate Love.” Both songs were penned by Wilks’ discerning manager Sam Berley of ZX5 Productions, who hopes “Yeh Man Jamaica” will get some real recognition from the government.

For her part, Wilks says she and Berley share a wonderful dynamic. “It’s a fantastic chemistry. He writes the tracks and together we sit and work out the melodies until we get a perfect match, and then I use my vocals to bring the music to life,” explains Wilks (now in her 20s), who has famously worked and toured with the likes of Beres Hammond before Berley took her under his wings. “I’ve been with ZX5 since 2011, and I can say that I am really happy I made that decision.”

Although she readily admits that the sky is the limit when it comes to her music career, Lenya Wilks says she’s content to take it one day at a time. “Right now I am very happy with where I am. So far we’ve released about six original tracks, and we are in the process of working on an album that we hope to release in time for summer. My main goal is to make Lenya Wilks a household name in world music,” she tells TALLAWAH. “So I feel extremely good about what’s been happening.”

Is there someone special in her life at the moment? “I am single,” she responds without missing a beat. “Right now my focus is really on my career. I do hope that in the future I will have a relationship, but for now it’s just me and my career. And I’m okay with that.”

[“Yeh Man Jamaica” is available via iTunes and Amazon.]

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