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 Jesse Royal—
 IT’S difficult to watch a performance by singjay Jesse Royal and not be drawn into his music. The deep, insightful and biting nature of his music often belies his diminutive physical stature, and has earned him the moniker ‘Small Axe’.

For the next three weeks, sections of South America and Europe are set to experience his music as the Small Axe is set to chop through Costa Rica this weekend where he appears on the Jungle Jam festival, which also features Morgan Heritage and Mykal Rose.

From there it’s on to Europe.

“We start on the 25th. We have about 15 or 16 stops in Europe over the three weeks — they are still adding venues. The countries include Italy, Holland, France, Germany, Switzerland and Spain. It’s a good move to just take the music to the crevices and corners. Yes, we going to some of the regular places, but I really want to break some new ground in these markets… not where everyone else is going,” Jesse Royal told Splash yesterday, as he prepared to depart for South America.

Even as he prepares for his overseas assignment, the 25-year-old, who was born Jesse David Grey, is still giving thought to material for his upcoming album.

“We don’t really want to put a date on it… We looking at August, that is on our radar, but you know how that is… all kinda things can change, so we don’t want to name a release date. We have a title Lily of the Valley, and right now we winding down… still in the studio doing recordings, we are preparing,” he explained.

For this project, Jesse Royal is working with blend of the experienced and the emerging when it comes to producers Phillip ‘Winta’ James, who just completed on Ancient Future for Protoje, the rhythm twins Sly and Robbie, Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith and the Notis Production.

Sly & Robbie

Sly & Robbie

The album will also feature tracks from his own outfit, Palace Pickney Records.

“It’s a good place to be in creatively. When you can run the show and not have people telling you what you can or cannot say is a blessed feeling,” said Jesse Royal.

As a member of what is being termed ‘Reggae Revival’, Jesse Royal is aware of those who criticise the name being given to the band of young, conscious artists.

“I am one of those who also feel that the music never died so it really could not be a revival, because we are where we are by those who went before. What I believe is the revival is the unity and consciousness that we step with. We are all about telling the youths what time it is and direct them where we go from here. It about that energy that says I am my brother’s keeper and push each other.”



This ‘revival’ includes Protoje, Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Jah9, Kalissa, and Dre Island.

He further explained that within this grouping there is “zero ego”, noting that Rastafari, its principles and practices are the common link which keeps the group grounded.

“We realise that everyone has a role to play so we focus on the cause and not the applause.”

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