KINGSTON, JAMAICA - SEPT. 9, 2013: Dancehall celebrity Patra released a new reggae single, titled "Don't Leave Me Lonely," for pre-order on iTunes Friday, August 30, 2013. The official release date for the single is September 10, 2013.
The new single – a cuddlesome after-hours romance fantasy – features Patra's first collaboration with acclaimed reggae producer Kemar 'Flava' McGregor, combining aphrodisiacal sensuality with a pop-reggae production sound.
“The concept of this song is all about love, and as a woman, you have to demand what you need in the bedroom and anywhere else,” said Patra. “This song is written to create tender vibes to love making - so it's an irie thing.”
For Patra, the recipe for sensual reggae is quite straightforward – a high-quality musical track with a deep, sexy bass groove, which inspires Patra to conjure her honest affinities for romance into lyrical and melodic offerings for loving couples.
“I want my fans to relax and enjoy what I have to offer, which is good music, and ‘Don't Leave Me Lonely’ puts them right in that mood,” said Patra. “For me, sexiness is a habit! And how I feel inside – that's how I express my love. Reggae music is the most powerful music in the world, so with the right bass line and the right flow, it’s bound to be a turn-on for anyone.”
Born Dorothy Smith in Kingston, Jamaica, Patra is a world-famous reggae icon with a string of crossover dancehall hits. Her singles have secured 15 Billboard chart appearances during her career, including her first number-one single, “Worker Man,” which topped the Billboard Dance Chart in 1994. Her other hits include Billboard R&B top-40 singles “Romantic Call,” “Pull Up To My Bumper” and “Scent of Attraction.” Her first two albums, “Queen of the Pack,” and “Scent of Attraction,” both reached number one on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart in 1993 and 1995 respectively, and “Scent of Attraction” also reached number 28 on the Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Albums Chart in 1995.
ATLANTA, GA - JULY 19, 2013: Grammy Award nominees Musiq Soulchild and Syleena Johnson released their new R&B/reggae duet single, titled “Feel the Fire,” Tuesday, July 16, 2013 on iTunes. The single – an elegant pop-reggae love serenade – was produced by Kemar ‘Flava” McGregor, and will be featured on Musiq Soulchild and Syleena Johnson's upcoming reggae duet album, “9INE,” due for release September 2013 on the Shanachie Entertainment label. The song was featured June 19, 2013 on the TV One reality series, “R&B Divas,” in which cast member Syleena Johnson was seen unveiling the track at a listening party during the final episode of season two. Billboard released an exclusive premiere of the single May 15, 2013, and the single ranked at number one within the Top 10 Most Popular R&B Singles of the Week chart on Singersroom.com.
Syleena Johnson indulges in reggae alongside Musiq Soulchild for "Feel the Fire," the official single from their upcoming album, "9INE." The song, exclusively premiered here on The Juice, stemmed from a chance encounter during a recording of a duet for reggae producer Kemar McGregor's compilation album which then snowballed into a full-length LP.
"The music was so good, and [Musiq and I] both love Kemar's production so we're just like, 'Why don't we just do [an album] together?'" the soulful songstress tells Billboard.
According to Syleena, "9INE" is heavily influenced by numerology. The pair teamed up with McGregor to record nine tracks for the album in nine days. The two are also born in September, the ninth month of year, which she said added to the divinity of the project.
Allowing their voices to intertwine effortlessly over the steady pulse of McGregor's acoustic production, "Feel the Fire," arrives just in time to compliment the dawn of summer. Fans will have an opportunity to gain insight on the recording of the single as well as another titled "The Promise," during episodes seven and eight of TV One's "R&B Divas."
"We're having fun and putting something together for the fans to love," she said. "[The album] is about love, happiness and peace."
While the two plan to shoot the official video for "Feel the Fire" early next month, "9INE" isn't scheduled to drop until July 9th. However, Syleena said the album may be pushed back to sometime in August to accommodate plans for a multi-city tour.
When asked if she's concerned about possibility of criticism from the reggae community, Syleena simply said, "no." Her desire is for listeners to lay back and enjoy their salute to what she calls a "timeless genre of music."
"I hope people don't calculate it so much," she said. "We're not changing our names. We're [still] Syleena Johnson and Musiq Soulchild. We're both working on our solo projects which will be R&B. We're going to be our same selves —[This album] is going to make people feel good. That's what we need in the world, feel good music."
VANCOUVER, CANADA - JUNE 26, 2013: Canadian pop singer Elaine Shepherd has released a new single, titled “Diamond In The Ruff,” Tuesday, June 25, 2013 on iTunes.
Shepherd's new single – a bouncy, summer-love radio melody – was produced by Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor, in conjunction with his newfound ambition to celebrate Canadian pop-reggae culture.
Like many Canadian artists, Shepherd’s success can be attributed to her Celine Dion-like vocal chops and her genre-blending creative versatility, from which she has garnered numerous music awards, continuous concert appearances, and steadfast radio airplay. But despite her melody-making skills, it was the universal language of love that most inspired Shepherd’s vocal delivery on “Diamond In The Ruff.”
“When people hear ‘Diamond In The Ruff,’ I want them to feel warm and tingly inside,” said Shepherd. “I am a sucker for love, and I’m a hopeless romantic. I think there is a purity and an innocence to being in love – it's quite like experiencing the feeling of your first love all over again. Despite my views on love and relationships, I think a lot of people are confused about what love is about, and are far too focused on materialism and social-media standards of what a loving relationship should be. But true love does exist, and I want people to feel that magic and those butterflies all over again, even with just a thought or a dream, that somewhere out there lies a ‘Diamond In The Rough’ specially made just for them.”
Shepherd’s versatility makes her a prime candidate for pop-reggae success – her fruit-flavored vocal tone and her jazz-like improvisational delivery bring a special visionary quality to McGregor’s pop-reggae production concept. Shepherd likens her artistic style to a cobblesmith’s patchwork of Canadian musical and cultural influences, intertwined to create Shepherd’s own unique sense of creative selfness.
“I have always been an artist of many flavors,” said Shepherd. “In terms of my creative concepts, their emancipation and delivery are not specific to any style. I am so influenced by life, my surroundings and my mind, that certain vibrations draw out my creativity. The music I make is such a mash-up of all my musical influences, that although they may be labeled as a specific genre depending on the track's direction, I feel it is not 100% authentic to just that one style. It is more of a fusion of everything.”
Raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Elaine Shepherd is a two-time JUNO Award nominee (Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards), and a four-time Reggae Music Achievement Award nominee. She won the JUNO Award for “Reggae Recording of the Year” in 2011, and received a JUNO nomination for “Reggae Recording of the Year” in 2013. Shepherd won the award for “Most Promising New Artist” at the Reggae Music Achievement Awards in 2010, and was nominated for “Best Female Vocalist,” “Best Reggae Single” and “Artist of the Year” at the Reggae Music Achievement Awards in 2011. She is currently performing a province-wide concert tour in British Columbia, Canada.
TORONTO, CANADA, APRIL 10, 2013: Canadian pop singer Jesse Giddings has released a new single, titled “Back To Me,” Tuesday, April 2, 2013 on iTunes.
Giddings' new single – influenced by the Celine Dion hit, "It's All Coming Back To Me Now," – was produced by Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor, and features a guest appearance from Jamaican dancehall vocalist Tiana.
Recent trends have placed Canada at the epicenter of the world’s modern pop-music industry, as the nation has launched a healthy percentage of rock, pop and jazz icons into international stardom. And although Giddings possesses an impressive Canadian music resume – which includes stints as a mainstream television personality, rock music promoter and fashion model – he said it was actually his love of Jamaican music that most influenced the Caribbean style employed on “Back To Me.”
“It was inspired by the ideas, creativity, love and passion of Jamaica that I grew up watching and reading about from afar,” said Giddings. “It was always a dream of mine to spend time in Jamaica, and this song allowed me that opportunity, as I spent most of January of this year shooting the music video for this single in and around Kingston. Of course, I threw a little of my Canadian heritage and inspiration into the song with the feature of some of Celine Dion's lyrics from her hit, ‘It's All Coming Back To Me Now,’ from 1996.”
Giddings’ single was produced in conjunction with McGregor’s new pop skank-riddim style, which has already created buzz within Canada’s mainstream music scene (one of McGregor’s pop-reggae songs recently secured a 2013 JUNO Award nomination). It was precisely this new radio-friendly aspect of McGregor’s pop style that attracted guest singer Tiana to the project.
“The moment I heard this song, I fell in love with the track,” said Tiana. “Right away, I definitely knew I had to give it a smooth reggae vibe, instead of the usual hardcore dancehall style. The lyrics were intentionally written to give you that happy feeling and the desire of wanting to have someone. ‘Back To Me’ will definitely be a favorite among teenagers.”
Born in Langley, British Columbia, Jesse Giddings is a renowned television icon within Canadian pop culture. He was a veejay on the prestigious New.Music.Live program on the MuchMusic Network (Canada’s equivalent of MTV), and was a fashion model for Elite Model Management in Toronto. Giddings has co-hosted the MuchMusic Video Awards, the JUNO Awards FanFare, and was co-host of the X-Factor Pepsi Pre-Show Live alongside 3LW vocalist Adrienne Bailon.
For Giddings, reggae music represents the happiness of the North American beach culture he enjoyed as a youngster. When recording music, he often taps into the waterfront summer-fun aesthetic of his youth, from which his reggae affinities were born.
“I've always been a huge fan of reggae music,” said Giddings. “I grew up on the west coast of Canada, spending most of my days at the beach and traveling up and down the American coast surfing, so reggae has always been a part of that culture and my life, and it has influenced me greatly. It has always been my goal to infuse my music with the spirit and vibe of reggae.”
TORONTO, CANADA, MARCH 5, 2013: Canadian reggae singer Ammoye has secured her first JUNO Award nomination. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) nominated Ammoye’s pop-reggae hit, Radio, for “Reggae Recording of the Year,” in conjunction with the 42nd annual JUNO Awards, which will be held April 21, 2013 in Regina, Saskatchewan. Ammoye’s single – a playful, pop-flavored romance melody – was produced by Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor, and was first featured on McGregor’s “Club Dance Riddim” album in early 2012.
Although she’s accustomed to spotlight, Ammoye was quite surprised when she learned of her nomination, and she reeled with excitement upon knowing that she will soon share a historic event with the greatest names in the Canadian music industry.
“When I first heard I was nominated, I was excited and humbled by it! Happy, of course, and grateful,” Ammoye said. “The JUNO Awards are like the Canadian Grammy Awards, so it's something that Canadian artists are always excited about. You are being recognized by the professional music community here in Canada, so for an independent artist like myself, that is an accomplishment.”
Kemar McGregor recorded Radio during his transition to pop-reggae music, and when he first heard Ammoye’s singing voice, he immediately clicked with her vivacious spirit and her lollipop-sweet vocal tone. McGregor said he always had faith in Ammoye’s ability to create a memorable radio hit, and now that she has captured her first JUNO nomination, he feels elated to share in her excitement.
“When I went to the JUNO website and saw our names there with Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift, I smiled – I really felt proud,” said McGregor. “I always believed in Ammoye, and I always knew her song was going to work. I knew that nothing could stop that track. Reggae is at a turning point right now, and Ammoye’s track, Radio, is definitely part of that turning point of reggae. I think it’s one of the best reggae songs ever to get nominated for the JUNO.”
Ammoye’s musical résumé includes background-vocal performances with jazz luminary Michael Bublé, and with Canadian pop singers Kreesha Turner, Anjulie, Divine Brown, Corylee and Keshia Chante. In 2009, two of her songs were featured on the MTV Winter Olympics documentary, “Over The Bolts,” and she has performed as an opening stage act for hip-hop celebrity B.O.B., and reggae greats Beenie Man, Beres Hammond, Serani, Gyptian, Gramps Morgan, Chaka Demus, L.U.S.T., and the Easy-Star All Stars.
The JUNO Awards are Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy Awards, featuring annually the most successful artists in the Canadian music industry. The 42nd Annual Awards show will feature nominations for Justin Bieber, Carly Rae Jepsen, Shania Twain, Melanie Fiona, Diana Krall and Celine Dion. The April 21, 2013 award ceremony will air on CTV, and will be hosted by Michael Bublé.
TORONTO, CANADA, MARCH 5, 2013: Canadian R&B singer Dru released his new pop-reggae single, titled “Love Collision,” Tuesday, March 5, 2013 on iTunes.
Dru’s new single was released by reggae producer Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor, combining Dru’s fashionable radio flair with McGregor’s worldly reggae rhythms, creating a unique style that celebrates charming pop melodies and upbeat dance-club roots grooves. In addition, the single contains a “b-side” reggae remix of Dru’s 2011 smash hit, “Getting It In,” also produced by McGregor.
Musically, Canada has become the new Los Angeles, and Canadian artists have increasingly represented the new standard of quality for pop, soul, rock and jazz music. From Dru’s perspective, this newfound Canadian credibility has birthed a local fountain of creative ideas, in which the most revered American melodies and styles are amalgamated to form a fresh new Canadian musical identity.
“The urban music scene in Toronto is rapidly growing, and the energy in the city is really bubbling,” said Dru. “It has really given artists confidence to know that the songs we write today will have the chance to be heard by the world. When you write with a certain confidence and purpose, the writing is always better.”
Artistically, “Love Collision” reflects Dru’s desire to spread creative authenticity to his fans, and to foster an emotional connection that sends a positive message about the pleasures of romantic love.
“When listeners hear the new single, I hope they can appreciate the sincerity in the songwriting, and connect with the emotion in my voice – ‘When 2 hearts collide we can’t deny this love collision,’ – it’s about real undeniable love,” said Dru. “I believe that you shouldn't be afraid to let yourself fall in love, even if you have been hurt before, and don't waste time, because life is short. If you love someone, tell them.”
Raised in Toronto, Dru is currently one of the most accomplished up-and-coming talents in Canada. He received Billboard’s #1 Emerging Artist Award in 2012, and was identified by Billboard Magazine as “One of the most important emerging Canadian artists.” In 2004, Dru shared a JUNO Award win for “R&B/Soul Recording of the Year” as lead singer of the vocal group In Essence, in connection with the group’s hit single “You’ll Never Find.” His previous single, “She Can Ride (2012),” was certified gold in Canada. During the past year, Dru toured with Pauly D and Jordan Knight, he performed at Toronto's prestigious Flow 93.5 Summer Jam, and he headlined at many of his own shows across Canada.
LONDON, UK, FEB. 14, 2013: Pop-reggae diva JC Lodge released her new EP, titled “Comfort Zone,” Tuesday, February 12, 2013 on iTunes.
Lodge’s new EP – a radio-friendly pop vignette with perky vibes and massive melody – was produced by Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor, who plans to complete a full-length LP with Lodge during the upcoming months.
McGregor has recorded many radio hits with UK artists during the past year, but producing JC Lodge was a dream-come-true for McGregor. He especially relished the chance to record Lodge because her music provided such an important influence on McGregor’s creative development, he said.
“When I was a kid going to school, I used to hear her song, ‘Telephone Love.’ Bus drivers used to pump it on the radio – her songs would be playing every day,” McGregor said. “There was something about her voice that was different from every other female artist that I know. She had that love feeling. Listening to her songs growing up and as a teenager, that vocal sound made me feel romantic.”
JC Lodge is quite experienced at writing hit singles, and she’s especially famous for delivering a fresh, flirty spirit to romantic, pop-reggae cover songs. She specifically enjoys the universal appeal of a sweet pop melody with utopian, storybook vibes – something that she feels today’s music industry definitely needs.
“Although many of our current-day songs have crude or overt lyrics, I know that there is still a side of us that is drawn to romance and idealism,” said Lodge.
Born in London, UK in 1958, J.C. Lodge remains one of the most popular female reggae singers in both the UK and the United States. Her most renowned hit, “Telephone Love,” ranked within the Billboard Hot R&B Singles& Tracks top 100 in 1989, and has been placed on virtually every reggae greatest-hits sampler in circulation.
She has recorded reggae and dancehall hits with Joe Gibbs, Neil “Mad Professor” Fraser, Augustus “Gussie” Clarke and Willie Lindo, and she is one of the first singers to international acclaim by combining pop-vocal stylings with the traditional one-drop reggae groove.
SPANISH TOWN, JAMAICA, JANUARY 30, 2013: Reggae legend Junior Kelly released a new single, titled “Magic,” Tuesday, January 29, 2013 on iTunes.
Kelly’s new song is a sunny, lunch-date romance anthem with a hypnotic bass groove, which was produced by Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor in conjunction with his recently released “80s Rock Riddim” album.
Junior’s new song expresses the magical pleasures of attraction – even if the attraction is only a whimsical dream in the mind of an ardent admirer with a faraway crush. McGregor produced the song to express his overall desire to make reggae music more popular and uplifting, similar to the vibes of American dance, pop and country music styles.
“This idea actually came about as I was listening to the riddim and reminiscing about a girl from a community that I frequent. Whenever I see her, she is always smiling, and her smile captures your soul,” said Junior Kelly. “She could get anything she wants from you with that beautiful smile. The amazing thing is, I have never even spoken to her before, and the beauty of it is that she does not even know or realize that she inspired this song!”
Like all of the great reggae songwriters, Junior Kelly has a special gift of turning his personal experiences into inspiring and uplifting lyrics. He said his love songs are designed not only to share his personal thoughts with listeners, but also to stimulate and elevate his own mind toward positivity.
“Every love song has an impact on me,” said Junior Kelly. “It actually inspires and gives me hope in terms of what I would love to see and feel happening to me in my personal relationships, and sometimes it is an experience that has already happened to me that I bring out and develop into a song.”
Junior Kelly was born Keith Morgan on September 23, 1970 in St. Thomas, Jamaica. He is a member of the Bobo Shanti branch of the Rastafari movement. Junior Kelly toured Europe last summer, and also performed in the United States, Canada, South America and the British Virgin Islands during 2012.
KINGSTON, JAMAICA, JAN. 31, 2013: Famed UK reggae singer Gappy Ranks released his new EP, “Hello,” Tuesday, January 29, 2013 on iTunes.
Gappy Ranks’ jazzy, infectious reggae EP was produced by Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor in connection with his recent campaign to spread the pleasures of pop-reggae music to a global audience.
Within the songs on "Hello," the listener can hear Ranks' personal and creative evolution within the UK’s vibrant reggae scene, which is a colorful, celebratory community where live stage shows are the preferred source of entertainment, and local airwaves are brimming with reggae music on pirate radio broadcasts, combining to create Caribbean Britain's de facto mainstream media.
“Because of the major diversity of ethnic origin in UK, cultures have had no choice but to interact,” said Gappy Ranks. “We also have the highest population of Jamaicans abroad so this has given reggae music a home away from home, so reggae/dancehall music is played in every club within every city. The radio stations also play a big part in the direction of music in the UK as commercial & pirate stations dominate the airwaves. We also have the Notting Hill Carnival every summer, where people from all around the world attend, bringing eye to the talent in the UK.”
Gappy Ranks, fortunate enough to be British, is free to sing about humanistic love and urban romance. With the songs on “Hello,” Gappy Ranks celebrates the opportunity to feel real emotions, making romance and spiritual development into nightclub-worthy party anthems.
“I captured the wondering mind of a man’s love for a woman & his approach to her,” said Gappy Ranks. "The song ’Maybe’ was different, because a major part of my life was drawn into scripture as I questioned my power to love. I have found myself once again speaking out aloud & relieving thoughts that might hinder my qualities in life. For me that is the "Hello Ep.”
Gappy Ranks’ was born Jacob Lee Williams in the Harlesden section of London, UK. In 2010, he released his first album “Put The Stereo On,” from which the single "Heaven In Her Eyes" was ranked number one in the UK for 16 weeks. Gappy ranks was nominated for the 2010 MOBO Award in the "Best Reggae Act Category.
TORONTO, CANADA, JAN. 22, 2013: Canadian reggae starlet Ammoye released her new single, “Baby It’s You,” Tuesday, January 15, 2013 on iTunes.
Her single – a tasty pop-radio rhapsody with an alluring melody – was produced by Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor in connection with his recent campaign to spread the pleasures of pop-reggae music to a global audience.
Ammoye’s latest offering explores the addiction of love, and the delight of expressing appreciation toward a devoted romantic partner.
If that sounds soft and P.C. – it’s meant to sound that way. Ammoye isn’t afraid to spread love openly. With “Baby It’s You,” Ammoye and McGregor are collaboratively united in selling upliftment to reggae audiences, and helping record-label officials to understand that romantic pop-reggae is the future of the reggae genre. Love it or hate it, you can’t deny that Ammoye’s new song is melodically and culturally superior to everything the major labels are currently pushing.
”Basically, I want ‘Baby It's You’ to affect reggae culture in a positive way – allowing the people to get an appreciation of clean, inspirational love music from reggae,” said Ammoye. “I want the consumers and the music execs to count this kind of music as viable, necessary and important.”
Whether she’s crafting a nightclub anthem or crooning a midnight serenade, Ammoye remains dedicated to her creative mission, which is to popularize the status of love. Ammoye said she enjoys a comfortable, homestyle environment when writing love songs – often penning lyrics in her bedroom at night – which affords her the relaxation required to arrange humanistic layers of melody and color.
“The feeling of being and knowing you’re in love is like an addiction for me, and I truly love when I'm blessed with having true love in my life,” said Ammoye. “I don't hide it...I share it. Because of how this person makes me feel, it was easy for me to write this song, and to express how I felt at the time. I’m simply saying that I'm sure he's the one for me.”
Ammoye’s musical résumé includes background-vocal performances with jazz luminary Michael Bublé, and with Canadian pop singers Kreesha Turner, Anjulie, Divine Brown, Corylee and Keshia Chante.
In 2009, two of her songs were featured on the MTV Winter Olympics documentary, “Over The Bolts,” and she has performed as an opening stage act for hip-hop celebrity B.O.B., and for reggae greats Beenie Man, Beres Hammond, Serani, Gyptian, Gramps Morgan, Chaka Demus, L.U.S.T., and the Easy-Star All Stars.