Monday, 12 December 2016

STAR BOYS: Chris Martin's Big Deal gets release date + Junior Gong confirms Welcome to Jamrock lineup + Bolt wins big in Monte Carlo

BEST OF THE BEST: He's won it five times before, but it still gives him that "humbling feeling." For the sixth time in his illustrious sprinting career, Usain St. Leo Bolt has copped the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year, beating out worthy contenders Mo Farah (United Kingdom) and South Africa's Wayde Van Niekirk for the prestigious accolade. Ethiopia's 10,000-metre champion Almaz Ayana won the female equivalent. Following the presentation, Bolt, 30, said, "I live for the moments when I walk into a stadium and I hear a loud roar, and Rio was outstanding. One of the main reasons I'm continuing for another year is because of the fans. They don't want me to retire. I have to give thanks to them." Among the other awardees: Female rising star honoree Nafissatou Thien (Belgium) and Canada's sprinting phenom Andre De Grasse, who was presented with the male rising star award.

COMING SOON: Singing sensation Christopher Martin will get an early birthday present on February 10, when VP Records releases his major-label debut album, Big Deal. Laden with 16 tracks, the album has been described as "the perfect recipe of sweetness, swagger and sex appeal." Also steeped in reggae, soul and sensual R&B flavour, the album includes such tracks as the Troy Hinds-produced title track, "Under the Influence," and the reggaeton-inspired "My Love." The 29-year-old, who won the Digicel Rising Stars crown in 2005 and is now the face of KFC's Big Deal promo campaign, released a self-titled album in Japan in 2011. Four years later came his well-received EP, Steppin' Razor. Pre-order your copy of Big Deal HERE.

LET'S DO IT AGAIN: As his big bro Ziggy celebrates yet another Grammy nomination for Best Reggae Album, Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley is putting his fans and other reggae lovers on notice that the Welcome to Jamrock cruise is getting prepped for what promises to be a super-successful fourth year on the high seas. Scheduled for Nov. 13-18, the cruise will set sail aboard Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Seas, making stops in Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. The star-studded performance lineup not only includes Junior Gong and his brother Stephen but a host of reggae and dancehall's finest, among them Bounty Killer, Spice, Tarrus Riley, Richie Spice, Popcaan, Grammy nominees Raging Fyah and top sound system selectors Stone Love, Renaissance and Tony Matterhorn. (More to be announced anon.) Raves Billboard magazine, "With its comprehensive presentation of Jamaican music, the Welcome to Jamrock cruise has in three years developed from an untested concept for reggae into, arguably, the genre's premier event."

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