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EMPRESS AISHA IN LOVE WITH HER ROOTS!

By Howard Campbell—-

The Juno Awards, Canada’s version of the Grammys, takes place Saturday at the Brandt Centre in Saskatchewan. Five artists are up for the Reggae Recording of the Year. Today, we kick off a series on the Canadian reggae scene.

BORN in Canada to parents from Ghana and Jamaica, poet Empress Aisha says identifying with her roots has always been important. She is determined to express that passion in her new career as a recording artist.

EMPRESS AISHA… being a minority in Canada has its challenges

The 24-year-old performer majors in community and justice services at Centennial College in Toronto, but also finds time to perform regularly on the city’s growing poetry beat.

“The poetry scene has always been around. However, there has been a significant rise in the exposure of Toronto poets in the last year alone,” she said.

Empress Aisha (given name Allison Asare) is currently collaborating with Toronto producer Chester Walker of Very Huge Records on a series of songs she hopes will kickstart her career as a dub poet.

Jamaican Joy, Ghanaian Pride and Men Want Double Bs are some of her poems that have been done to reggae beats. While making a personal statement is priority, she says any success can only pave the way for like-minded artists.

“This will hopefully create vibrancy for the Toronto reggae/poetry reggae scene,” she said.

Jamaican Joy was inspired by Empress Aisha’s two trips to Jamaica. Her mother grew up in the rural Clarendon district of Bird Hill but immigrated to Canada nearly 30 years ago.

Though she relates to the sounds of Jamaican dancehall acts such as Ce’Cile, Sean Paul, Lady Saw and Beenie Man, she says poetry has been her creative outlet since age 14.

To date, six of those poems have been published. Last year, she made her recording debut under Walker’s direction.

Empress Aisha credits her parents’ contrasting backgrounds and Toronto’s increasingly cosmopolitan landscape for her diverse tastes, but admits that being a minority in Canada has its challenges.

“Things like being young, black and female are three strikes against me. I don’t look at it as a roadblock but as a speed bump to overcome,” she said.

 

Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/entertainment/An-Empress-in-love-with-her-roots_14075366#ixzz2Qcv4LQWj

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