Photo: Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Songs To Wake Up & "Roar" With From Katy Perry, Aretha Franklin And More
Power up for the day with this energizing playlist, including songs by the Christina Aguilera, Bill Withers, Kanye West, Britney Spears and more
On March 20, O magazine published a playlist meant to wake you up and start the day off right. It credits research in psychology for revealing that "songs with a slow build, a positive message, and a strong beat" can confer mood-enhancing benefits. Just for fun, we also took a look at how GRAMMY recognition shines a spotlight on some of these tracks. It's no surprise that the Queen of Soul herself stood out, as Aretha Franklin's "Respect" took two wins at the 10th GRAMMY Awards.
Other GRAMMY winners in the selection include Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful," Shania Twain's "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" and "Stronger" by Kanye West. With Britney Spears' song "Stronger" making the list as well, from her Oops!...I Did It Again album, a double-shot might give you twice the energy.
At the 45th GRAMMY Awards, Sheryl Crow was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Soak Up The Sun," and Vanessa Carlton drew three nominations for her "A Thousand Miles," including Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year. Two songs from O's list received nominations at the 56th GRAMMY Awards, Katy Perry's "Roar" and "Brave" by Sara Bareilles. The latter topped the playlist and its curator reassured us that if you give it a morning listen, "You'll believe you can conquer anything."
Beyoncé made the list twice, once for her solo "Run the World (Girls)" and again for Destiny's Child's "Happy Face." Lady Gaga offers "The Cure" and Kirk Franklin's "I Smile" might help you tackle your day smiling, too. Two songs to help you find up when you're down are "No Tears Left to Cry" by Ariana Grande, from her 2018 album Sweetener, and Demi Lovato's "Skyscraper."
Whether you say "Hello, Good Morning" with P Diddy or have a "Lovely Day" with Bill Withers, prepare to get out of bed with a spring in your step. Spring is almost here. Check out other songs ready to assist at O — from Earth, Wind & Fire, Ice Cube, Lil' Duval, and Bob Marley.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood
6 Takeaways From 'Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé'
A celebration of Beyoncé’s 2022, multi-GRAMMY-award winning record, the 'Renaissance' documentary grossed $21 million in its first weekend in theaters and offers an in-depth look at one of this year’s hottest tours.
If there’s one thing that’s clear in Beyoncé’s new concert documentary — the referentially titled Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé — it’s that the singer works very, very hard.
Released in theaters on Dec. 1, the almost three-hour-long film follows the native Houstonian on the road this past summer, giving viewers an inside look at both the actual show and what’s going on inside Beyoncé’s head at any given time. (Spoiler alert: A lot!)
The latest in a string of concert films released in theaters in recent months, Renaissance was filmed at several dates along the 56-date sold out tour. The all-stadium Renaissance tour ran from May to October of this year and traversed much of Europe and North America.
A celebration of Beyoncé’s 2022, multi-GRAMMY-award winning record, the Renaissance movie grossed $21 million its first weekend in theaters. Here are six things we took away from watching Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé.
Renaissance Required A Ton Of Manpower & Steel
A few songs into the documentary, Beyoncé relaying her intentions for the film. She wants everyone to see the tour, of course, but she also really wants people to know about just how much went into even getting the tour off the ground. "The beauty is in the process," she said, showing off a massive binder full of different iterations of what the tour’s stage could have looked like.
The actual process of building the show from inception to launch, she said, took about four years. The Renaissance tour also required countless man hours, and not just by her team. The multi-continent tour required stagehands to build the massive screen every night, an army of hair braiders, costumers, makeup artists, dancers, caterers, and drivers.
Renaissance required multiple teams: One for the current show, and two other advance teams working ahead to build one of two additional stages at a stadium down the line. All told, there were 160 vehicles on tour, from semi trucks to buses. And while that might seem like it would cost a fortune, Beyoncé noted that the most expensive part of crafting the tour was the steel required to build a roof over their stage every single night.
That’s part of the reason, Beyoncé said in the film, that she put the crew in reflective silver jumpsuits every single night. She wanted fans to notice them, she says, "because it’s beautiful to see what they do."
Beyoncé Knows Ballroom
Anyone who’s heard the Renaissance album knows that it’s imbued with notes of queer ballroom culture, house music, and the sounds of the ‘70s and ‘80s dance underground. In the movie, Beyoncé relays how she learned about that music as a child thanks to her "Uncle Johnny," one of her mom’s longtime friends.
A Black gay man growing up in the south in the 1950s, Uncle Johnny faced more than his share of hardships, but found relative success through his work in the fashion industry. He crafted many of the early Destiny’s Child costumes, and brought house and ballroom culture into the Knowles' home by playing records.
On the album, Beyoncé pays homage to Uncle Johnny on "Heated," and also shows a photo of him with her mom at the end of the show. In the film, Bey wears her prom dress — which Johnny crafted — and, honestly, it still looks pretty on trend, even after all these years.
Beyond Uncle Johnny, though, it’s clear that Beyoncé has put in the work to know not just the history of ballroom (see: tour MC Kevin JZ Prodigy) but also its present. She pays tribute to Black trans and queer legends like TS Madison, MikeQ, Kevin Aviance and Big Freedia, and gives screen and face time to the Dolls, a group of four performers skilled in voguing and ballroom-style dance. (Side note: If you like Renaissance and you like the work of The Dolls and/or Mike Q, go check out "Legendary," a ballroom reality show that originally aired on HBO Max.)
The Renaissance Tour Had Fashions
Anyone following Beyoncé or members of the Bey Hive on Instagram this year knows that the singer was really turning things out fashion-wise on the Renaissance tour. But seeing all the costumes on the big screen can give you a true sense of the massive size and scope of the show's sartorial vision.
The documentary uses quick cuts during songs to hop from outfit to outfit, and it’s always more jaw-dropping than jarring. Beyoncé not only had multiple outfit changes every show, but she her looks changed throughout the tour. Every dancer (there had to be at least 16) and every member of the band also varied their wardrobe. Each outfit was impeccable, covered in rhinestones, and had to be built to move — and it had to look amazing. And they all did!
Beyoncé Grinds Hard
It should come as no surprise that Beyoncé is incredibly hard-working; only someone with an intense work ethic and extreme talent could have come as far as she has. That said, seeing how intricately involved she is in every little moment of the tour is staggering. For example, she said she’s learned a lot about lighting over the years so that she can work, every single night, to get the lights just how she wants them to be. (With the way her hair blows just so, she must also have a certificate in fan science.) The film shows Bey discussing truss lengths and smoke machines and, after one stage person tells Beyoncé that, no, sorry, they don’t make a support in that length, she comes back at him with, "Actually, i was just looking it up, and they do exist."
Putting aside the fact that being one-upped by Beyoncé would be both humbling and amazing, the fact that she even gets that deep into the nitty-gritty is mind-blowing.
Beyoncé said part of her drive is due to the fact that, because she’s a Black woman, people haven’t always taken her that seriously. People have had a tendency to ignore what she wants or needs, and because of that, she’s had to build up a level of fortitude that would put all of us to shame. Those people might push past or ignore her requests, but she’ll keep asking — and then she’ll start telling. "Eventually," she says, "they realize ‘this bitch will not give up.’"
All that grinding has taken a toll on the singer, though. She had knee surgery not too long ago, and she had to rehab extra hard to get ready for the tour. (She still grits through pain at points.) She also gets regular massages on the road, and she probably sleeps much less than she actually needs to.
11-Year-Old Blue Ivy Is Getting Ready To Rule
In one of the first glimpses we get of Beyoncé and Jay-Z's daughter in the movie, Blue Ivy is sitting behind her mom at tech rehearsals. It’s clear that Blue is taking it all in and knows she's studying at the feet of masters (her parents), preparing to take over the world of popular music.
A lot was made about Blue Ivy’s appearances on stage during the Renaissance tour — and for good reason. The decision to put Blue on stage wasn’t made lightly. Beyoncé said she always felt like a stadium stage wasn’t an appropriate place for an 11 year old, but eventually made an agreement with her daughter that, if she rehearsed hard with the dance team and put in the work, that she could do one show.
When that show went great, and then she was on the whole rest of the run. Fans in the audience held signs up singing her praises; people waited to see what she’d wear. And as Beyoncé said in the film, the tour lit a spark and set Blue's work ethic into high gear. While it’s still too early to tell what that’s really going to be, whatever it is will undoubtedly be a very big deal.
Renaissance Is For The Fans
While Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé is, at its core, a film about Beyoncé doing a tour and singing a bunch of songs, it’s also clearly a love letter to Beyoncé’s fans.
The Bey Hive feature very prominently in the film: There are hundreds of shots of people dancing, screaming, crying, or gawking in the audience. The documentary offers loving looks at the queer fans in the audience, the Black fans in the audience, and the people who really went all out on their outfits.
That adoration extended into the movie theater, too. At a Los Angeles screening, attendees dressed all in silver and clapped after every song. They even brought their kids, who they wanted to experience the Renaissance.
As Beyoncé says in the movie, in doing the Renaissance tour, she wanted to create a "cycle of pure love" or a "transfer of energy" between her in the audience, where she’d give them everything she had, and they’d give their all to her. That goal translated to the movie, which sounded great in the theater and had everyone in awe of Bey's artistry. Beyoncé, clearly, is an artist and a visionary and Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé is one reminder of her genius.
Photo: Adrián Monroy/Medios y Media/Getty Images
New Music Friday: Listen To Releases From Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey, ATEEZ & More
December begins with a blast of new music from some of music's biggest stars. Press play on five new releases Jung Kook & Usher, Tyla and others, out on Dec. 1.
While 2023 may be coming to an end, the first releases of December prove that it's far from time to wind down.
From Taylor Swift — who released "You’re Losing Me," a song originally recorded for her 2022 smash album — to Dua Lipa’s extended edit of her single "Houdini," and Lana Del Rey's cover of "Take Me Home, Country Roads," listeners are being treated to new tracks from familiar favorites today.
Start off your month by listening to these tracks and albums from seven artists that will jumpstart your month.
Beyoncé - "MY HOUSE"
Queen Bey surprised fans with an early Christmas present by dropping "MY HOUSE," her first single since 2022’s Renaissance. This track was featured during the credits of her new Renaissance concert film.
Written and produced by The-Dream, this song showcases Beyoncé’s rapping skills, as she effortlessly weaves verses over a powerful horn melody. There's a vibe check in the song's second half, where the music becomes a smooth, electronic dance groove reminiscent of Renaissance’s ballroom vibe.
Jung Kook & Usher - "Standing Next To You (Remix)"
BTS' pop singer Jung Kook is back with a remix to his track "Standing Next To You," this time joined by an R&B sensation. The remix features a new verse from Usher, who adds a delicate touch to the vibrant, high-paced song.
The original track was released last month as a single on Jung Kook’s debut album, GOLDEN. This could be fans' last time hearing Jung Kook's music for a while — the "golden maknae" of BTS announced he’s enlisting for mandatory military service this month.
Tyla - "Truth or Dare"
GRAMMY-nominated Afrobeats star Tyla is closing the year with a sneak peek of her upcoming self-titled album. The hypotonic single "Truth or Dare," following the success of her GRAMMY-nominated song "Water" (the song is nominated for Best African Music Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs alongside "Amapiano" by ASAKE & Olamide, "City Boys" by Burna Boy, Davido's "UNAVAILABLE" feat. Musa Keys, and "Rush" by Ayra Starr).
In this new song, Tyla revisits an old flame — this time with newfound wisdom and assurance that she won’t fall for his charm anymore: "So let's play truth or dare, dare you to forget / That you used to treat me just like anyone."
Tyla announced her upcoming self-titled album on social media, captioning, "African music is going global and I’m so blessed to be one of the artists pushing the culture. I’ve been working on my sound for 2 years now and I’m so ready for the world to hear it."
Lana Del Rey - "Take Me Home, Country Roads"
This cover might not come as a shock for fans after she referenced a line from Denver’s 1972 "Rocky Mountain High" on her track "The Grants" from GRAMMY-nominated album Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. (At the 2024 GRAMMYs, Did You Know is nominated for Album Of The Year alongside Jon Batiste's World Music Radio, Olivia Rodrigo's Guts, Swift's Midnights, Janelle Monae's The Age Of Pleasure, SZA's SOS, Miley Cyrus' Endless Summer Vacation and the record by boygenius. Did You Know is also nominated for Best Alternative Music Album alongside The Car by Arctic Monkeys, PJ Harvey's I Inside The Old Year Dying, Gorillaz's Cracker Island and boygenius' album.)
The track features Del Rey’s signature soothing vocals, as a Western-style melody balances the instrumentation. She brings her own sultry style to this '70s country classic, while continuing to show her musical versatility.
ATEEZ - The World EP:FIN:WILL
Five years after their debut album, K-pop group ATEEZ have returned with The World EP:FIN:WILL. The 12-track album is led by "Crazy Form," an Afrobeats/dancehall-influenced track, and also features many solo and unit tracks from the group.
Members Hong Joong and Seonghwa took the reins on "Matz," a dynamic hip-hop track, while Yeosang, San and Wooyoung collaborated for the R&B-influenced "It’s You."
During a Seoul press conference, Lead Hong Joong spoke about the group’s evolution and how fans should look forward to future releases.
"This year marks our fifth debut anniversary and so far, our greatest achievement has been establishing a strong relationship with our fans around the world. We hope to continue presenting music that can make our fans proud of us," he said.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood
Listen: Beyoncé Releases "My House," Her First New Song Post-'Renaissance'
The first taste of new Beyoncé music after her 'Renaissance' era is here. "My House" stems from the end credits of her 'Renaissance' film, and was co-produced by The Dream.
Between four GRAMMYs and a massive stadium tour, 2023 was the year of Beyoncé's Renaissance. And just as the last month of the year began, Bey decided the dance party wasn't over.
On Dec. 1, the 32-time GRAMMY winner released "My House." Co-produced by The-Dream — who co-produced 10 of Renaissance's 16 tracks — "My House" is another club banger that works as both a coda to the Renaissance epoch, and a bridge to an altogether new one.
"Don't give a f— about my house/ Then get the f— up out my house," Beyoncé threatens, as the throbbing chorus swells with intensity. The song is featured in the end credits of Beyoncé's Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé, which also dropped today.
"Be careful what you ask for, 'cause I just might comply," Bey said on Instagram when revealing the trailer — and by the merits of "My House" alone, she followed through. Check out the new song below, and keep checking GRAMMY.com for more on Beyoncé's constant creative evolution.
Photo by Stephen Lashbrook
Living Legends: Stephen Marley On 'Old Soul,' Being A Role Model & The Bob Marley Biopic
On his new album of covers and originals, Stephen Marley recruited Bob Weir, Jack Johnson, Eric Clapton, and his own siblings. Marley spoke with GRAMMY.com about his multifaceted career, including supervising music for 'Bob Marley: One Love.'
Living Legends is a series that spotlights icons in music who are still going strong today. This week, GRAMMY.com spoke with eight-time GRAMMY winner Stephen Marley. The reggae multi-hyphenate is the youngest son of Bob and Rita Marley.
Stephen Marley is a reggae Renaissance man. An eight-time GRAMMY winning singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, Stephen's nuanced releases retain an authentic Jamaican identity while organically incorporating a broad range of influences. His latest album, Old Soul, continues this boundary-blurring trajectory.
Primarily recorded during the pandemic inside a garage on a family farm in Florida, Old Soul brings renewed luster to reggae classics and standards by the Beatles, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra alongside stunning originals, each delivered with Stephen's warm rasp. It's an endearing and eclectic acoustic set, awash in filigreed guitar strums, tinkling piano keys, swirling flutes, and mesmerizing percussion patterns.
Old Soul’s reflective title track honors Stephen's musical inspirations — especially his father: "Fast forward to 1981, my dad moved on and so did I, inside I kept his songs alive, so they say I’m an old soul, tribute to the ones who made it all possible/inside me your legacy lives on." Meanwhile, "Cool As The Breeze" offers a heartrending tribute to loved ones lost.
Stephen continues to build upon his own esteemed legacy. The youngest son of Bob and Rita Marley, the 51-year-old's musical journey commenced at age 6 when he formed the Melody Makers with his older siblings, sisters Cedella and Sharon and brother Ziggy, the group’s leader. Rita managed the Melody Makers and Bob wrote their first single, 1979's "Children Playing in the Streets." In 1981 the spotlight shone on Stephen's precocious talents when he took the lead on "Sugar Pie."
A guitarist, percussionist, vocalist and songwriter with the Melody Makers, Stephen also assisted in the production of each of their albums including the GRAMMY winning Conscious Party (1989), One Bright Day (1990) and Fallen Is Babylon (1997). He went on to helm the production on projects by several Marley family members including youngest brother Damian’s GRAMMY winning albums Halfway Tree and the influential blockbuster Welcome To Jamrock.
Stephen’s long-awaited, self-produced debut solo album, the multi-genre spanning Mind Control arrived in early 2007 followed in late 2008 by the stripped-down Mind Control Acoustic — both GRAMMY recipients. Stephen dropped another GRAMMY winner, Revelation Part I The Root of Life as a celebration of roots rock reggae, in 2011. Revelation Part II: The Fruit of Life, released five years later, incorporates various styles that have emanated from reggae's core.
Old Soul is Stephen’s first full-length project since 2016 and he’s recruited an outstanding cast of collaborators including Grateful Dead founding member Bob Weir, singer/songwriter Jack Johnson, rock-reggae outfit Slightly Stoopid, his brothers Ziggy and Damian and Eric Clapton, whose bold, bluesy guitar riffs color Bob’s "I Shot the Sheriff," became a No. 1 hit for Clapton in 1974.
GRAMMY.com recently spoke to Stephen Marley about his illustrious, multi-faceted career including his most recent role as music supervisor for the upcoming Marley biopic, Bob Marley: One Love, due in theaters on Feb. 14.
Please tell me about the process of recording the Old Soul album.
It was during the thick of COVID-19; the walls were closing in so to speak. My uncle said "we need a farm" because we didn’t know what the next day would bring in terms of the control the government had. So, we looked and found a little farm.
During that time, I was very much distracted [with regards to making music], but when we came down to the farm, it was nature, escape and I caught back a groove. Old Soul wasn’t what we set out to do, but because of the circumstances, we started jamming in the garage and, well, it felt good, so we said, let’s give the people something to soothe them.
The choices of cover versions on Old Soul are fascinating. How did you decide which songs you would cover?
"Don’t Let Me Down" was suggested by [producer] Salaam Remi, he thought that song would fit in the acoustic style. I know that song from sister Marcia [Griffiths], she did an old version of it; I didn’t really know it was a Beatles tune. [Laughs.]
Most of the others are songs that I play in solitude or just go to songs like "Georgia On My Mind" or "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)." It was just part of getting back in the groove, with songs I would sing anyway. I love those songs; it doesn’t matter where they come from.
You also cover reggae classics. "Thanks We Get (Do Fi Dem)" featuring Buju Banton, is a Lee "Scratch" Perry composition initially recorded with his band the Upsetters in 1970. When was the first time you heard that song?
I first heard that song from Reggie [Upsetters’ guitarist Alva "Reggie" Lewis] singing it to me; I had never heard the record.
Reggie is one of the persons credited with teaching my father how to play guitar. This man lived among us, he was always at the [Bob Marley] museum, at [the Marley family-owned] Tuff Gong [studios] and at one point, he stayed at my house, too. He was always singing, "look what we do fi dem, this is the thanks we get, what an ungrateful set," that’s how I knew it; I never listened to the record until I was going to record it; that’s when I discovered that Scratch wrote it.
"There’s A Reward" is a poignant, motivational song, written by Wailers mentor Joe Higgs, who taught Bob, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh how to harmonize. Can you share some of your memories of interacting with Joe Higgs over the years?
From child to young adult until him move on [Higgs passed away in 1999], he was always encouraging. I vividly remember those days when he would come and see my dad. He was like an uncle, he always showed love and encouragement.
Doing that song was definitely one of the highlights of the album for me and Ziggy as well but I really didn’t know the song before recording the album. It really moved me, and I heard the similarities between him and Bob, so I said, yeah, I have to record that one.
Old Soul’s title track was originally written by Jamaican singer/songwriter OMI. What changes did you make to the song’s lyrics?
The song, as he wrote it, was pretty similar to what’s on the album, but it never had my birth year in it, when I graduated, all of those facts. In that sense, I put my life into it, but it already had Bob and Peter in the lyrics ("I knew every Nesta Marley line/You knew that Peter Tosh was fly, in diamond socks and corduroy").
OMI is a great songwriter, and the song was about people who influenced him, "tribute to the ones who made it possible," so he was already paying homage.
Your song "Let The Children Play" on Old Soul references the Melody Makers’ first single "Children Playing In The Streets." What are some of your fondest memories of your years with the Melody Makers?
It is such a significant part of our lives, so any memory puts a smile on our faces. One of my fondest memories is, there’s a place in Half Way Tree in Kingston called Skateland and every Saturday we would perform there. One Saturday, our dad came and watched us, and we didn’t know he was there until after. He wrote our first song, he was pretty into us. He wasn’t a man that would tell you too much, but he would tell his friends, "Yeah, them youth go on good," he was very proud of us.
The integrity that goes into our music has never changed. From the time we were kids singing "Children Playing in the Streets," we were always singing social songs, meaningful music. I am 51 now, so do the math.
As the music supervisor of the upcoming Bob Marley: One Love biopic, do you choose which songs are used or how they are used in the film?
I don’t choose alone in that sense. The movie is set in a time period, it’s not Bob’s whole life. There are scenes where he is remembering, and you see him when he is young, but the movie focuses on the Smile Jamaica concert (Dec. 5, 1976), the One Love Peace Concert (April 22, 1978) and the songs he was working on in those times. Anything to do with the music in the film runs through me.
I just came back from California to finish up some of the music. We did the music before the actual filming. What you will be hearing has to coincide with what you are seeing; like the live concerts, if the drummer hits the drum, you have to hear the beat at the same time. Some of the music was re-recorded for the film. Like "Smile Jamaica" is a live recording so we had to do some live overdubbing for the quality and the experience in the theater. It has been a great learning experience for me as well.
You produced the Celebrating Nina: A Reggae Tribute To Nina Simone EP featuring exclusively female artists, released in 2022; Nina Simone is an artist that you enjoy listening to. Who are some of the other artists you listen to when you have time to relax?
I listen to Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown. When I was 17, 18, those were the songs that played in my car. As far as our music, people like Toots, Burning Spear, Culture, Steel Pulse — all of those elders were great, and are still great musicians.
Your 1999 production Chant Down Babylon paired rappers with your father’s vocals on hip-hop renditions of his classic songs, such as the Roots on "Burnin’ and Lootin,’" Chuck D on "Survival a.k.a. Black Survivors." Was the album successful in terms of better acquainting the hip-hop community with your dad’s music?
It very much accomplished what I set out to do, especially with the young artists at that time. Lauryn Hill was a staple. I have a lot of testimonies from people about that. People discovered Bob’s "Turn Your Lights Down Low" because Lauryn was on the track.
Have you considered doing an updated version of Chant Down Babylon?
It’s funny you bring this up because Cedella [Cedella Marley, CEO, Bob Marley Group of Companies] just asked me if I can bring it together for Bob’s 80th birthday. It’s too early for details but definitely Chant Down Babylon 2 is on the table.
Damian’s 2004 single "Welcome to Jamrock" won a GRAMMY for Best Alternative Hip-Hop Performance, to date, he’s the only Jamaican artist to be so honored. The single was praised for its gritty lyrics depicting the politically divisive violence in Kingston’s poorest communities, while your production merged hip-hop percussion with swaggering reggae and influenced Jamaican artists including Chronixx, Protoje, and Koffee. How does it feel to have had such a profound impact on a younger generation of artists?
It is a great feeling to have your music recognized. I had the privilege of being around great musicians and engineers, the best of the best, so it is really passing down those lessons, showing what I’ve learned. To influence the youths coming up is a really great feeling but at the same time, I take it as a "we" thing, more than "I" did this.
Did you delay the release of your debut album Mind Control until 2007 because of the success of Welcome to Jamrock?
Yes. At the time, I was kind of conflicted: Did I want to stick to producing or become a solo artist, so to speak? Being in the Melody Makers from age 7 to then having kids and still being in the Melody Makers, I had to get used to it being about Steve.
So, I decided to put time aside and focus on my record, but it was very important to me to first make sure Damian, my youngest brother, was good. We are very close and if him was alright, then I can focus on myself. Before Mind Control, I put out a teaser, Got Music? "Winding Roads" was on that, but it didn’t make the album.
"Winding Roads" fits in beautifully on Old Soul.
Yes, that’s why I always tell my children that music is a timeless thing so don’t give up on any inspiration or creation.
How did Jack Johnson and Bob Weir come to be featured on "Winding Roads"?
My manager always liked the song, and he has a relationship with them. Bob Weir and Jack heard the song and were willing to be a part of it. I went to Bob’s studio, he is a great man, and a true musician. We did a few jams, but "Winding Roads" was the one he gravitated towards.
You released Revelation Part I: The Root of Life in 2011 — which included the anthem "Jah Army" — as a showcase of the revolutionary sentiments and musical excellence intrinsic to reggae. At that time, those standards were overshadowed by the widespread criticism of X-rated lyrics in some dancehall hits. In the 12 years since, have you seen any significant progress in quality Jamaican reggae receiving the recognition it deserves?
I do see a difference. As you mentioned, the youths them that rise up — Chronixx, Protoje, etc. — The Root of Life was a calling for that generation. Over the past 12 years, technology has progressed, social media, how people put products out there now is really different….The quality music is there but you really have to search for it because there are so many distractions.
That was one of the reasons for making the Old Soul record; it wasn’t a reggae album so to speak, but our Jamaican spirit is in the music. When people hear it, it shifts their meditation, appealing to a part of them that is kind of suppressed because of all of the distractions that are going on.