Artists on the Radar

Kingston12 Programming Notes

Kingston12 Digital Radio is a 24/7 reggae music channel
(It is available at kingston12.net and on TuneIn/Simple Radio Apps)
Special Programs
Weekly New Releases – Fridays (9:00 PM – 12:00 AM)
Every Friday night on Kingston12: Conscious Reggae Party host Sydney White introduces listeners to the latest reggae releases from countries around the world where reggae music is produced. Artists from Jamaica, Hawaii, Germany, New Zealand and Great Britain are regulars in the playlists. We introduce new music from new artists and the new stuff from the veterans. Remember, if it’s Friday – you will always discover something new and really special at Kingston12.net

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Friday Night Dancehall Session (12:00 AM – 4:00 AM)
This is an opportunity for multi-DJs to show-off their mixing skills in classic Dancehall mixing. We keep clean, we keep it cultural.
King Viper Sound Presents: Live Dancehall Session – Saturdays (10:00 PM to 4:00 AM)
King Viper Sound System

Tune in to King Viper Sound – the US east coast #1 reggae and dancehall Sound System – heard live on digital radio at kingston12.net every Saturday night form 10:00 PM to 4:00 AM. DJ Lulu, Kevin, the Fluffy Diva and the crew take you into the real world of Jamaican Dancehall.
During this six-hour session, listeners get to enjoy dancehall music in its purest form. The play-list may range from the early nineteen sixties music to releases from the Friday prior to the air date.
The King Viper Reggae Gospel Trane – Sunday (3:00 PM to 7:00 PM)
Every Sunday Fada Lulu and the King Viper crew journey deep into the Jamaican countryside to take you “live” into the Jamaican church. The blend and mix of reggae gospel with other Caribbean and African-based religious songs are presented in a way that transport you mentally to a real Jamaican church on a Sunday night.

IKAYA: Writing Her Name across Many Hearts

The reggae music industry is heavily male-dominated.  Throughout the years female artists like Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, Rita Marley and Carline Davis are among the very few that became “household” names.  Today there is a new group of female artists who have kicked the door wide open. Artists like Alaine Laughton –stage name Alaine, Ventrice Morgan – stage name Queen Ifrica, Shauna McKenzie – stage name Etana, Tessanne Chin and Cherine Anderson are writing their own story in reggae music. One such artist that jumps out of the bunch is a singer who I heard for the very first time 2013 when I hosted a Friday afternoon reggae show in Tampa, Florida. Her name is Kadian Blair – sage name Ikaya.

IKAYA
IKAYA

Ikaya stands out among a small group of female reggae artist and song writers who can really sing. Not women who have to purr seductively over highly syncopated tracks and auto tune – as writer Patricia Smith once note – “who writes checks with advance hype that their voices couldn’t possible cash”.   There is no screeching and snarling in her rhythms. There is no over sampling to attempt to hide anything in her voice. What she delivers is what you hear – all natural, all hers. Her songs come from the heart – odes of love and life.
Ikaya was born Kadian Blair in the heart of one Kingston’s “tough zone” called Waterhouse (also the birthplace Jamaica’s multi-Olympic gold medal winner – Shelly Ann Frazer). It is said that her parents (which include the man we call coach – Hugh “Bingy” Blair) loved R & B and classic reggae music. As a result, Ikaya began discovering her talent at the tender age of 4 – while auditioning for her pre-school choir. As a teenager she performed at various small venues and soon ventured out while still in high school with a group called B2K.  In 2001 she was introduced to the popular reggae artist Clifton Bailey – stage name Capleton, aka the Fire Man. She became a background vocalist and later opening act for Capleton – accompanying him on several world-wide tours.  She also had the opportunity to collaborate with him on one of his mega hits – a track call “Fire”.
While some might reference the influence of R & B and Dancehall music on her reggae style as “old school”, I simply call it original. It is original because it was R & B, American Jump Blues and Dancehall music combined with the African Kette drums that gave us reggae. Reggae music has its roots in the original sound system/dancehall culture – the culture of King Edwards the Giant, Duke Reid the Trojan, Count Bells the President and many others.
Today her extended list of hit singles includes enough songs for three albums. Her 2016 “Ugly Girl” and accompanying video had many in and out of the entertainment industry talking. Another 2016 hit “Love Note” is still in regular rotation on kingston12.net, and reggae formatted, digital stations throughout the world.  Other hit single include “My Man” (2015), “Write Your Name” (2010), “Broken Wings” (2013) and “Stuck in the Middle” (2016). Ikaya is a multi-talented artist with talents that include rapping/DJ which she demonstrated on two of her songs “Fly Away” and “Ain’t Giving Up”.

Her debut studio album is now past overdue, but it is in the works. She continues to write songs and record tracks for her first album –slow and deliberate like a painter doing the master piece that he/she knows will define his/her life. The album is not yet titled.  She anticipates that this album will show everyone what many of us already know – that she is a master of her craft. As she explain “All of me, my life, my experiences, love, family, friends and my surroundings. It’s an expression of my versatility compiled on one CD. My greatest joy will be that my fans and friends appreciate and have fun with it!”
Ikaya has been recognized for her early contributions to the reggae music industry with a “Best New Artist”, “Best Music Video and “Female Artists of the Year” awards. She continues to be in demand for the big shows and reggae music festivals as word of her talent gets around. She has performed for Reggae Sumfest (Jamaica), Sting (Jamaica), Jamaica Day (Canada), Reggae and R &B festival (New York) and most recently – the Grace Food & Music Festival (Washington).

CLAY: Clay List – Right on Time

Clay (born Clayton Morrison on August 9, 1982 in Kingston, Jamaica) is a classically trained pianist, music producer, song writer and reggae singer. He currently resides and record out of the United Kingdom. In his short years in the music business he has established himself as brilliant artist/songwriter/producer – working with artists such as The Neptunes (currently produced by Pharrell), Teddy Riley and Timbaland. Clay’s body of work (client list) include labels such as Sony Music, Atlantic Records, WEA, VP Records and Avex & Pony Canyon (both Japanese companies)
Clay
In addition to the piano, the very versatile Clay also plays drums and guitar. He is described as “having an incredible ear for music – with no boundaries or limits on genre”. Clay is as comfortable with Hip Hop, R & B and Pop as he is with his chosen genre – reggae and is rapidly becoming an artists’ favorite artist.  He has established his own Calybeat label which he describe as half of his first name and “I like clay because a potter uses it and molds it into something beautiful and since I make music and can mold sounds into a beautiful song, the marriage of Clay and Beat work well”. On Claybeat he has developed a unique sound that works as easily for Sean Pauls’s Hold My Hand as it works for Timbaland Hip Hop sound, the Chipmunk’s Pray for Me or his latest release-Can I Have My Heart Back.
While Clay is still busy stamping the Claybeat “signature” a number of projects, his solo career has really taken off and he has become part of both radio playlists and the dancehall scene in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe with songs such as Fire, Life, London Town and Shadow after Dark. His latest five-track EP titled Clay-List include potential hits such as Late than Never, Still the Same and two of this writer’s favorites- Clean Hands and Dirty Heart & Wolf Inna Sheep Clothe.
He describes his personal goal as simply “make great music that inspires people and to maintain a balance in his life”. You can checkout his music a Blog at reggaepromo.weebly.com
 
 

Artists on the Radar

In 2014 reggae artists Tessane Chin and Sister Nancy (Ophlin Russell-Myers) came out of the shadows to emerge as reggae music’s top female artists. Tessane, because she put her talents to the test on the US television program – the Voice and beat all the competition, and Sister Nancy, as a result of Bam Bam – the song she recorded more than twenty years ago being selected among the theme songs for the controversial movie – The Interview.  Conversations with either of these two artists will quickly reveal that what happened in 2014 was not really about the destination, it was about the journey – the long road, the many rejections and the feelings of insecurity, when producers tell them that their hard work and talent were not good enough.
This year K-12 is picking two more artists to emerge out of the shadows on to the big stage.
The first is Adele Harley (Often referred to in England as the other Adele). This British born singer/songwriter have studied music from a very early age and plays several instruments including guitar, violin and flute.  Over the years, she has developed her own fresh sound of Reggae /Lovers Rock. Her debut album, “COME INTO MY LIFE` in 2010 was produced by the UK’s highly acclaimed MAFIA & FLUXY. The 17 track album (including 14 original songs written by Adele) features collaborations with LEROY MAFIA and GLAMMA KID, and also included musicians such as the legendary DEAN FRASER on sax.
Between 2010 and 2014 she released several singles produced by MAFIA & FLUXY and an EP titled “Love for Life” with production by KEMAR “Flava” McGREGOR. She has also worked with producers COMPUTER PAUL, LLOYD CAMPBELL, LEE FRANCIS and BARRY O` HARE
Her long awaited sophomore album, again produced by the dynamic duo MAFIA & FLUXY (the British version of Sly & Robbie) was released in October of 2014. The album titled “TIMELESS” entered at number 11 on the ITUNES reggae chart for the United Kingdom. The 15 tracks included six written by Adele and a duet with the late John Holt.
In 2014 Adele was the opening act for several reggae artists including, stars Morgan Heritage, Tarrus Riley, Romain Virgo, and Frankie Paul and Sanchez; and legends Marcia Griffiths, Beres Hammond and Freddie McGregor
The second artist on the K-12 radar for 2015 is the Nigerian singer/band leader Victor Essiet Already an established star in his African homeland, with an award-winning platinum album and stadium size sell-out concerts, Essiet sought asylum from the dire political turmoil in his home country, and established an impressive presence in America in the late ‘ 90s. His discovery in America was assisted by reggae historian and Beat Magazine co-founder Roger Steffens, who had actually compiled a tape of Victor’s music even though the two had never had met. Steffens forwarded the tape to Heartbeat Records. Describing what happened, Essiet noted “Faith brought me to America, and destiny united me with Roger,” Victor says. “That is how I got my deal with Heartbeat, which finally introduced my work to the North American market.
Although Essiet has been signed to Heartbeat for several years, he remains an artists and DJ favorite. His debut album was released by Polygram/Europe. Fittingly entitled “CRISIS”, it became an instant hit in Nigeria and heralded the beginnings of Victor’s success. This first US album was released in 1998. The second album titled “CRUCIAL” was released on the Los Angeles based Mystic Records label.
Victor has toured USA, Europe, Africa and Canada with his band the Mandators – creating a loyal following of world beat music lovers. His charismatic presence and impressive and dynamic performances earned him the Best New Entertainer Award from the International Reggae and World Music Awards in Atlanta.
Essiet has worked with producers Sly & Robbie on his CD One Love, One World, which included covers of two Marley classics, Them Belly Full and  Yes Mi Friends (Duppy Conqueror). Other Jamaican classics on the album include Johnny Osborne’s “Come Back Darling”. His latest EP, titled Conscious Mix released in 2014 includes the potential hit “Freedom Train”.
K-12 is predicting that both Victor Essiet and Adele Harley will emerge from the shadows in 2015.