REGGAE singer Junior Kelly is urging Jamaican artists to raise their writing standard in order to produce music that will have an international appeal.
Kelly — who tours consistently — said he has observed that those who have gone before him have been successful by applying the simple formula of remaining consistent.
“It is not easy for me representing reggae on some platforms where I am the only reggae act, and, of course, there are other platforms that I am still working on. The formula is there and it can work for anybody… it worked for Bob Marley. Don’t get complacent. The least you can hope for is to be consistent. Don’t drop your standard. Always keep it there and strive for more. Try to raise the bar — meaning don’t be afraid if you are being pressured. A lot of these artists, who are on top now have a lot of people pushing rhythms on them from all angles, so dem a write hard and so a lot of the thing slipping,” said Junior Kelly.
“What we have to do is come out with product of substance. How do you do that? Be patient. Don’t be afraid to tear up the page half way and seh dat nuh mek it and come again. That’s how a good author writes a good novel — a bestseller. Don’t believe seh because you have the ear of the people, it means that we must abuse freedom of speech and write crap. Just try maintain a standard and rise above that each time,” he continued.
Junior Kelly last performed in Jamaica at Rebel Salute in St Ann two weeks ago, where he delivered a strong set.
He first burst onto the local scene in 2001 with the hit Love So Nice. Since then he has released follow-up singles and is a staple on the international reggae festival circuit. He said his aim is to take Jamaican music wider and has been performing on stages where not many Jamaicans visit.
“The music must not only go to Washington DC, Boston, Massachusetts, New York and Miami and stop there. I know where the music is going and I am reaching some of these places and seeing the reaction to my music by people who do not even speak English.”
Junior Kelly is still promoting his album Urban Poet, which was produced by Irie Vibrations out of Vienna, Austria, and released early last year. He is currently in Europe for a six-week tour. This will be followed by gigs in New Zealand and Hawaii. He then follows up this with shows in mainland USA — playing New York, Boston, Colorado, Wisconsin, Philadelphia, Delaware and Washington DC.
He returns to Jamaica to prepare for his South American tour later this year to promote Urban Poet.
– By Richard Johnson