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By Howard Campbell—

Mr. Easy
THERE was no hotter jam in the summer of 1997 than producer Dave Kelly’s Joyride. One of the artists who helped make it a dance favourite was singer Mr. Easy.

His Funny Man (Strange Things) was one of the hits that rode the Joyride which appeared on Kelly’s prolific Mad House label. Mr. Easy returns for another crack at the charts, and insists he is up to the task.

“As an artist yuh always have to reinvent yuhself an’ keep trying and keep working. Whatever the people want yuh have to gravitate to it,” he said.

One way to keep fresh in the dancehall is to work with in-demand producers. For his ‘comeback’, Mr. Easy sought out Kimani ‘DJ Frass’ Palmer who produced his latest song, No Mercy.

DJ Frass’ credits include Kabaka Pyramid’s Never Gonna Be a Slave and My Journey, the recently released I-Octane album.

Another new song, Snatch Girl, is a collaboration between Mr. Easy and deejay Motion. As much as he wants a hit, there is no rush to flood the market with songs.

“Yuh can’t promote a million songs, that makes no sense with the way things are today. Yuh have to promote songs that yuh believe in,” he explained.

The music scene has undergone widescale transformation since the Joyride. Fans purchase music through the Internet; the compact disc is almost obsolete. It is a transition an ‘old head’ like Mr. Easy has to accept.

Mr. Easy

Mr. Easy

“It’s all about the Internet, Instagram and Facebook now. Social networking is the way to go an’ wi have to move with the times,” he said.

Born in Kingston , Mr. Easy (Ian Dyer) grew up in east Kingston and Trelawny listening to musical heroes like Dennis Brown and roots deejay Brigadier Jerry. He migrated to the United States at age 15, but kept in tune with his roots through New York City’s vibrant reggae scene.

It was at one of the Big Apple’s great landmarks that he first shone. He performed on talent shows at Harlem’s historic Apollo Theater in Harlem and caught the eyes of scouts from Warner Bros who signed him to Quincy Jones’ Qwest Records.

One album, 1995’s Call Me Mr. Easy, came from that partnership. Largely co-produced by Mikey Bennett and Handel Tucker, the lovers rock project introduced Mr. Easy to Kelly and his older brother Tony who were touring at the time with Maxi Priest.

“Dave sey anytime I came to Jamaica to look him up an’ I did,” Mr. Easy recalled.

Along with Lady Saw’s Sycamore Tree, Rubbers by Frisco Kid and Tanya Stephens’ Yuh Nuh Ready fi Dis, Funny Man made the Joyride a monster hit. For Mr. Easy, it was his entry into the Jamaican dancehall.

Five years later, he recorded She Drives me Crazy for Tony Kelly, which he considers his biggest hit. Though without a chart-rider in some time, Mr. Easy says he has never left the game.

“Wi always a work yuh nuh. As dem sey, music nuh stop a nobody yard, it always comes full circle,” he reasoned. “Yuh have to work for it to come back to you.”

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