RGR TIMES WITH HOWARD CAMPBELL

Empress Uneek goes hit-bound  with Watcha Gonna Do  

When producer Joanna Marie and Ed Robinson approached Empress Uneek to do a song on her Love Lane 'riddim', the singer had no hesitation. 

Her single, "Whatcha Gonna Do", is one of several songs on the mid-tempo beat which borrows from Marvin Gaye's classic "Let's get it On". 

"I was invited to be a part of this amazing project in the early part of March. I grew up listening to Marvin Gaye, I also admired his artistry," said Empress Uneek. 

She added that “Whatcha Gonna Do” was not difficult for her to write, as it "was based off both real-life (experiences) and the heart." 

"Watcha Gonna Do" is the follow-up to “The World needs Changes” which was released in February. 

Some well-known acts are featured on the Love Lane including Glen Washington, Ed Robinson, Ian Sweetness and Mason di Emperor.

Written By Howard Campbell

Tarrus loves it Like That  

Most artists dream of that big summer hit song. One of them is Tarrus Riley who goes for gold with his new single, “Like That”, produced by DJ Frass Records. 

The song, which was released on April 2, is a blend of dancehall and R&B. Riley, who has made his mark in different genres, refuses to be labeled. 

"People are concerned with names, labels, (like) trap, rap, hip-hop, dancehall. I can’t bother with them things. I have always been doing different kinds of 
sounds and I will continue. Music is going through a change right now, people are blending and 
fusing, everybody wants to call it a name, but I just call it good music," he said. 

Riley has covered diverse music territory during his career. His 2006 album, "Parables", contains lovers rock hits like "She's Royal" and the message-driven "Lion Paw". 

He also collaborated with British pop singer Ellie Goulding and EDM maestros Major Lazer on "Powerful", which was an international hit six years ago.

Written By Howard Campbell

Govanly goes it alone  

  Frustrated at the slow pace in which his career was going, singer Govanly took charge last year with the launch of his own label. Based in the Cayman Islands, the Jamaican artist hit the ground running with a handful of songs. 

Those singles include “Protect Me”, a graphic look at urban violence; “Not The Type”, on which he spurns a lover looking for a committed relationship; and “Fire in The Rain”, a collaboration with singer S. Gee. 

He started Govanly Music after working with different producers in Jamaica, including the Konsequence Muzik label. 

“I made that choice because of lack of support from the industry. I couldn’t put the faith of my musical future in a next man’s hands waiting for him or her to say it’s your time, so I started Govanly Music,” Govanly explained. 

Though he does not rule out recording for other producers, Govanly gets satisfaction making music on his own terms. 

“Very soothing and melodious, that’s how I would describe the sound of Govanly Music,” he said. 

Govanly is from the music-rich community of Olympic Gardens in Kingston. He grew up in an area with a strong sound system culture that helped develop talented artists like Josey Wales and Admiral Bailey. 

He started his career as Giovanni. Early in his career, Govanly performed alongside I Octane on school tours of Jamaica. “Progress”, his first song, was produced by Konsquence Muzik. 

Written By Howard Campbell

  

    

Pamputtae the gold digga  

Men who cheat on their spouses have felt the wrath of many a female deejay. The list of detractors includes Pamputtae who takes no prisoners on “Heavy Gold Digga”, her latest song. 

Produced by DJ Treasure, “Heavy Gold Digga” was released on April 9. It hears her blasting men who “can’t keep themselves in one place.” 

While she takes men with a roving eye to task, Pamputtae admits they are hard to resist because of their sexual prowess. 

“Di fun (sex) nice an’ dem have a (good) vibes ‘cause dem mek yuh smile. But dem jus’ not moving right when dem have a good woman,” she said. 

Pamputtae says she was once in such a relationship. While she did right by her man, he had multiple women which resulted in them calling it quits. 

The sassy deejay sees nothing wrong with staying with a ‘wild man’, even if it’s just for his physical and financial attributes. “Heavy Gold Digga”, she added, is a song “a lotta female can relate to.” 

Pamputtae is from Fletchers Land in east Kingston, a working-class community that produced reggae legends like singer/producer Prince Buster. Her big break came in 2010 with the song, “Goody Good”, which was followed by “Hotta Than Dem”.

Written By Howard Campbell

J.Q. has Ghetto Morals  

Most teenagers these days are hooked on smartphones and cable television, but singer J.Q.'s obsession is writing songs. 

In March "Ghetto Morals", the 16 year-old artist's first song, was released. It is produced by Sheldon "Calibud" Stewart, whose credits include "Never go Where Pagans Go" by Warrior King. 

"Writing music is a everyday thing for me, and when I write it has to be influential and uplifting; something of substance," said J.Q. 

On "Ghetto Morals", the high school student dispels stereotypes that persons from inner-city communities are depraved. At the same time, J.Q. portrays a youth determined to improve her life despite financial and social challenges. 

The song is done on the Bobby Digital-produced version of the legendary Cuss Cuss 'riddim' which made Sizzla's "Solid as A Rock" a massive hit. 

J.Q. is from St. Mary, a hilly rural parish in eastern Jamaica that has produced numerous artists including Capleton, Ninjaman, Lady Saw and Josey Wales. 

Though she wants to make the charts, hearing her first song on the radio is a big enough thrill for now. 

"I feel very excited and proud of myself and my team. Our hard work did not go in vain and I hope it changes lives," said J.Q.

Written By Howard Campbell

Deejay Trinity dead at age 67  

It was the summer of 1978 and singer Ruddy Thomas had one of the hottest songs on Jamaican radio with "Loving Pauper". He was accompanied by deejay Trinity's "Judgement Time". 

Trinity, who died April 8 in hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, enjoyed a good run during the 1970's. "Judgement Time", on which he laments a run of hard luck, heard him at his peak. 

The Ruddy Thomas/Trinity 'combination' was produced by Joe Gibbs, whose camp at the time included chart-riding Dennis Brown, Culture and George Nooks. 

Born in February, 1954, Trinity began recording in 1976. He reeled off several hits for Gibbs including the humorous "Three Piece Suit" and "Starsky And Hutch". 

Trinity was from the rugged Payne Land area of Kingston, not far from the Waltham Park neighborhood which produced his friend and fellow deejay Dillinger. 

It was Dillinger who brought Trinity into the music business, helping him get his first recording session at Channel One studio. 

Trinity, whose given name was Wade Brammer Jr., also had measured success as a producer. His biggest hit was "No Guns to Town" by Natty King.

Written By Howard Campbell

Keeping it in the family  

One of the smallest parishes in Jamaica, Hanover's music bona fides come through native sons Lee "Scratch" Perry, Ashanti Roy (of The Congos) and Jah Cure. Businessman Delroy Pinnock would like to introduce a new generation of dancehall/reggae artists. 

He is major shareholder of the Overcome Family, which operates out of Salt Spring, a small district in Hanover, which is about 15 miles from the tourist town of Negril. 

The company recently ventured into the music business with "Grand Pree", a song by singer Acea, who is also from Salt Spring. 

"Salt Spring is not the most developed community but regardless it has a lot of talent musically and otherwise with willing souls. They are waiting to be nurtured and groomed to shine in their true colors," he said. 

Gareth Pinnock, his younger brother and partner in the business, agrees. 

"Our background in music is in the premature stage as the management and staff of the company would just listen to various genres of music. However, it is natural as one can depict what is a good product or a bad product.. so we are still learning but catching on very fast," he said. 

Released in March, "Grand Pree" is geared at the dancehall audience which even the youths in rustic Salt Spring gravitate to. "Tell Dem", the follow-up, is scheduled for release in April. 

There are similar independent labels like Overcome Family in rural Jamaica. They have been responsible for the rise of artists like Garnet Silk, Tommy Lee Sparta and Jahvinci.

Written By Howard Campbell

Letitia Kaye is Fully Blessed  

Fourteen years ago, singer Letitia Kaye became a first-time mother but while being a parent was exciting, there was a dilemma. She was blind. 

One day, while at home with her son, Letitia Kaye experienced a revelation. She had blurred images of him creeping, giving hope that her sight would fully return. 

It did, and she continues to rejoice with "Fully Blessed", a song produced by Marcia Campbell of Warrior Cell Production, a company in Canada. 

For Letitia Kaye, who is from St. Elizabeth parish in southern Jamaica, the song signifies a transformation in her life. 

"Over the past five years my personal life has improved in terms of my walk with the Lord, my faith has grown and the experiences I've had reassures me that God is always there for me," she said. 

Letitia Kaye was pitching a different kind of music when she began singing in 1997. She was part of The Passionate Girls, a dancehall/reggae quintet that performed at stage shows and in tourist hotels. 

Troubled by myopia (nearsightedness) since childhood, she lost her sight while pregnant. She found solace in Christianity which inspired her new outlook and songs like "Fully Blessed". 

"I want this song to reach everyone especially those who are down and feel abandoned, rejected and frustrated. Fully Blessed desires to bring a ray of hope," she said.

Howard Campbell

Kashief wants to see your face  

The scourge of racism has made many headlines in the United States in recent years. The standoff in Charlottesville, Virginia and controversial deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, have left many feeling there is no justice for persons of color. 

Kashief Lindo is one of those persons. He addresses racism in “I Can’t See Your Face”, his latest song, which is written and produced by his father Willie Lindo. 

It is released by their Heavy Beat Records. 

The elder Lindo is stung by what he describes as “blatant racism” playing out in the US where he has lived for almost 40 years. 

“You see politicians on TV now expressing their racism, pastors too! Dem not hiding it anymore, dem showing it!” he flared. “Once it get to dat stage, anything can happen.” 

“I Can’t See Your Face” is released in April, just days after Derek Chauvin --- the white police officer charged with Floyd’s murder --- went on trial in Minneapolis. The song references the “nine minutes, 26 seconds” Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck on May 25 last year, causing him to suffocate. 

Willie Lindo believes music has a big role to play in getting public leaders and law enforcement to show improved attitudes toward so-called minorities. 

“It’s very important ‘cause it’s a powerful way to reach people,” he said. 

This is the latest song by Kashief Lindo taking aim at social injustice. “Till dem bun Down di House” and “Human Life”, also produced by his father, did well in South Florida and the tri-state area last year. 

Written By Howard Campbell  

  

 

Audley Rollen’s still in love with God  

 It’s been almost 20 years since Audley Rollen decided to turn his back on the ‘world’ and give his life to God. There have been challenges, but the veteran singer has no regrets. 

An ordained minister of religion, Rollen continues to give praise to the Lord with “Never Knew Love Till You”, an inspirational song he co-produced and wrote with his wife Dawn-Marie Wisdom. 

“My faith had everything to do with writing and recording this song. Faith allowed me to experience God’s love and it comforted me in knowing that the unconditional love of God is above all,” said Rollen. 

He added that, “The message in this song is this; try not to have unrealistic expectations of others, because they are not perfect and neither are you.” 

The South Florida-based Rollen worked with a solid cast of musicians for “Never Knew Love Till You” including keyboardist Jason Farmer, hornmen Jerry Johnson and Howard Perry and guitarist Dwayne Hoilette. 

Audley Rollen enjoyed a solid career as a secular artist. He grew up in Jones Town, Greenwich Farm and East Kingston in Jamaica, working-class areas which helped shape his sound. 

He was a member of The Emotions, a harmony quartet which also included Leroy Brown, Milton Henry and Lloyd Shakespeare, older brother of famed bass player Robbie Shakespeare. As a solo act, Rollen had a big hit song in 1971 with the Lloyd “Matador” Daley-produced “Repatriation”, and recorded a handful of solo albums. 

Personal loss influenced his embrace of Christianity in 2002. Since then, he has recorded spiritual albums such as “Room at The Cross” and “He Has Made A Way”. 

Written By Howard Campbell