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Gramps Morgan eager to perform ‘Positive Vibration’

Gramps Morgan eager to perform ‘Positive Vibration’

Posted  259 Views updated 2 years ago

Jamaicans and reggae music have long had a love affair with country music, and it is this kindred spirit that Gramps Morgan taps into with his Grammy-nominated set, Positive Vibration.

“On a Sunday when yuh a cut up the scallion and the thyme for the rice and peas and a grater the coconut, yuh a listen to country music. We in Jamaica grow up on singers like Charlie Pride, Marty Roberts, Kenny Rogers and Randy Travis,” Gramps, who jetted into the island recently, told The Gleaner. “We have had artistes like Toots and the Maytals do a country album, although it was covers, but there was that synergy with the genres happening right there.”

He is immensely proud of the 15-track album and what it represents. This is his third Grammy nomination, but his first as a solo artiste, and this is historic.

“Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers paved the way when, as a group, they won Grammy awards and then Ziggy and Steve stepped out and have won Grammies as solo artistes. As Morgan Heritage, me and my siblings have been twice nominated and won once, and now I have a nomination as a solo artiste. We are the only groups in reggae to do that,” Gramps explained.

He quickly added that his entire family couldn’t be happier. His father and his brothers recognised that he was definitely on to someting when the single People Like You took off and It was total encouragement all around.

“My brothers Peter, Mojo, Lukes ... they were like, ‘It’s your time now, you can’t stop’,” he shared.

With their full blessings, he embarked on the solo project with his partner Johnny Reid during the pandemic, taking their time and using the best equipment.

“Can you imagine voicing on a $30,000 microphone? You can hear the difference. After People Like You took off, there were record companies coming around wanting to know who is this guy, but we decided to do the album by ourselves and assembled a great team,” he shared.

The team and “friends who believed in [him]” include Sean Edwards, India.Arie, Shaggy, Justin Cortelyou, his father Denroy Morgan, his son, Jemere n, Lybran The Rum Boss, Johnny Reid, all of the musicians and songwriters on the record, Tracey Wilder, Justin Cortelyou and Kyle Blunt.

Gramps now wants the pandemic to ease up so that he can go on tour and perform songs such as A Woman Like You, Paradise, People Like You and Runaway Bay – which are a combination of ska, rocksteady, reggae and country – live and in living colour to a hungry audience.

And, as happy as that would make him, the Rastaman also has another musical mission. He wants to see an improvement in the quality music being released out of Jamaica.

“We are known for good albums and we need to find a way to get it right. Tip your hat to Shaggy, he put his album on hold and produced a good album for Spice that has been nominated for a Grammy. We need to be doing more album projects and less of the one riddim albums which are not hitting the mark internationally. We need to understand that you have the culture and then you have the industry, which demands high-quality albums,” Gramps declared.

Positive Vibration is described by Forbes magazine as an album which “beautifully blends reggae and country ... with songs that have a tropical island feel, with the added beauty of country instruments like the steel guitar and dobro”.

Asked if he had plans to be present at the Grammy Awards, which has been rescheduled from January 31, 2022, to a date to be announced, Gramps answer was an unequivocal “Yes”.

“There’s nothing like representing your country in such a space. Just to be in the same room with so much talent should be one’s greatest honour. This is your night to shine. ‘I see you; I know you; I recognise you.’ How could you be nominated and not be there?” he quizzed.


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