GOLDEN NOTES: Singers Da'Ville and Marcia Griffiths duet at last month's 25th anniversary staging of Rebel Salute in St. Ann.
EACH year we look forward to February’s observance of Reggae Month, chiefly because it allows us, via our annual Music Issue, to get creative in how we tackle the subject of Jamaica’s indigenous music and its continued evolution.
This year, two ideas jostled for prominence. We lost so many icons over the course of the past year alone that we wanted to pay tribute to the musical stalwarts who are still going strong. (Both Marcia Griffiths and Beres Hammond have packed schedules that will keep them busy for the rest of the year; Tommy Cowan and Glory Music are bringing back Fun in the Son; and we wholeheartedly endorse Irie FM’s selection of Bunny Wailer as their 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award honoree.)
But when we cast an eye over the contemporary musical landscape, the up-and-comers and rising stars are making their presence felt, commanding attention and earning respect. From Shenseea (Jamaica’s Rihanna) and Ahdazeh (girl-power overload) to the energetic Christian soldiers putting a radically youthful spin on gospel, the diverse mélange of new-generation talents is dizzying.
Then there are cool customers like Akeem ‘Short Boss’ Smith, this month’s cover subject, who has already achieved crowd-favourite status, thanks to his triumph on the 2017 season of Digicel Rising Stars. As he tells us in “Flying Solo,” he’s not your average new artiste. Of course not!
Following up on the Rising Stars win, we would love to see his journey to megasuccess (in the vein of his brother Romain Virgo and Chris Martin, no doubt) chronicled via one of those reality series we always see on MTV and E! If our recent interview at Knutsford Court is any reliable indicator, local; viewers would enjoy tuning in. Short Boss is a natural, and we look forward to his growth and wish him all the very best.
So, in the end, we decided to dedicate this 2018 Music/Reggae Month issues to the legends – and the rising stars. We salute the strivers who remain committed to redefining success, who remain committed to our music and what it means to the rest of the world.