Thursday, January 28, 2021
ON February 3, Jamaica Reggae Industry Association's (JaRIA) annual weekly concert — Reggae Wednesdays — will open with a tribute to the more than 30 members of the entertainment fraternity who died in 2020. The event will be streamed live at IG/FB @jariaentertainment and on the Reggae Month official platforms — PBCJ YouTube | Jam Vision YouTube | JCDC Facebook.
A year ago, almost to the date, recording artiste Gem Myers was a guest at the JaRIA Honour Awards, organised by the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association. Sitting in the box, she could not resist the urge to rise to her feet once the tribute to honoree Bunny Wailer began. Filled with joy and pride, she danced to his classics such as Ballroom Floor, Cool Runnings, Boderation and Rock N' Groove as they were performed. On that night, she shared with the Jamaica Observer how hearing his music and seeing him being honoured had brought back a flood of memories from her days providing backing vocals for the reggae icon for stage and in studio.
Sanchez believes the time has come for a new generation of singers to carry reggae music's mantle. “Most of the great singers have passed away. It's only a handful of us left in the business right now. After we are gone who's going to be here to keep reggae music alive? There needs to be another generation of great singers on the rise and I don't see that happening right now,” said Sanchez. div class="separator" style="clear: both;">The veteran reggae singer — known for songs such as Forever, Never Dis Di Man, Lonely Won't Leave Me Alone and Chronic — said he's worried about the current state of reggae music. “The music is not the same anymore; everyone is singing on two-chord rhythms. I don't hear anyone trying to make great songs anymore. I don't see anyone striving for excellence musically,” lamented Sanchez. He added, “From the earliest days of my career, I knew I wanted to be a great singer. Even before I sang my first hit, I knew that I was going to be one of the greats. The hunger for success and self-confidence drove me to work hard to achieve my goals,” he said. Sanchez is currently promoting a new single titled Called Me. It was produced by Freddie Kruger and released on Kruger Di Reggae Riddim compilation album. The set — which also features songs from several other artistes, including Mykal Rose, Wayne Wade and Hugh Brown — was released by Drop Di Bass Records on February 14. “This is a wonderful song. I am pleased with the response that it's generating. I want the fans to know that they can expect a lot of new songs from me this year. Over the past few years, my heavy touring schedule has not allowed me to put out a lot of new singles but this year is going to be different. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I'm not touring so I'm spending a lot more time in the studio now,” he said. Sanchez (real name Kevin Jackson) is among the survivors of the late-1980s dancehall movement. Lonely Won't Leave Me Alone, Brown Eye Girl and I Can't Wait are some of the many hits that have him as one of the genre's heavyweights.