Category: In The Spotlight Created on Monday, 30 April 2012 00:08
"..Reggae Music is Informative; it stands up for Justice and talks about the Inequalities that are not being addressed......" (Paraphrased)
~ Roy ‘Gramps’ Morgan
On April 24, 2012, Gramps Morgan released his second album entitled “Reggae Music Lives”. His passion for music on a whole and Reggae Music in particular, is the focus of his life’s work. As was stated in part one of this two-part article, Gramps believes in balancing his lifestyle with non musical activities: spending quality time with family and friends, playing his favourite sport, American Football and hosting family gathering with the atmosphere of “Christmas in Jamaica”.
“ ..The voice of Reggae Music is known to lending its voice, opinion and support to injustice… if you look back in history, when Nelson Mandela was locked up in prison, it was the voice of Reggae Music that kept on saying Free Mandela! Free Mandela! There was no other genre of music that did it more….. “
“..One day while listening to my song (Life Too Short) all of a sudden I was watching the incident on the TV (Trayvon Martin shooting) and said to myself … Look how this boy just lose him life. Whether he was a thug or whether he was this or that, nobody deserves to be shot and lose them life (in that manner)…Trayvon Martin has passed and gone, but I feel it for his parents…. ”
Gramps decided to donate part proceeds from the sale of his single “Life Too Short” to the family of Trayvon Martin. Written almost two years before the tragic incident, he was inspired to make his donation to the family after watching the story unfold in the media. He dedicated the song to the parents of the deceased boy, hoping that it would bring comfort to them and keep them united in this trying time. Other artistes such as Chaka Khan and Plies are also Official Donors to the Justice for Trayvon Martin Foundation.
I asked him about his reaction if he were every directly critiqued for his decision to donate part proceeds of the song’s sale to the Trayvon Martin family when there are numerous other instance of alleged unjust shootings in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. He disclosed that he has already been asked the question:
“…Great job Bad-Mind!.... if things are happening in the society, instances of injustice, we need to bring the awareness of these things to the media, to artistes, people who have influence in the society……the reason why the incident with Trayvon Martin became so big is because the parents and the people in his community stood up!…they said no they (are) not going to watch this one go by….. people in the communities need to cry out more and demand justice….”
The song “Life Too Short” was not made for Trayvon Martin but Gramps was inspired to use the song to help comfort the loved ones left behind after the boy’s death. He was at pains to stress that the thinking behind the song was to encourage people to enjoy life. He hopes to encourage the listeners to return to the life’s simple joys and not depend on having large amounts of money for happiness. The song “Life Too Short”, as he said, is meant for the world.
Since his solo career launch in 2009, Gramps have enjoyed tangible successes, including being a Soul Train Award nominee and winning Album of the Year, in Jamaica. He also received several accolades and hit singles from his first album “2 Sides of My Heart, Vol. 1”, including “Best Crossover Song”, a collaborative work with the soulful songbird, India Arie. He has also worked and performed with other artistes such as Duane Stephenson and Taurus Riley from Jamaica, Big Ali, a DJ and Rapper based in France, and toured with John Legend, India Arie and Buju Banton. This summer, Gramps will be going on tour with Morgan Heritage to Europe then on to his own solo tour.
Reflecting on the many achievements in his solo career thus far, I cannot imagine how all of this came to be in such a short space of time. From my standpoint, where things seem to be moving quite slowly, I can only imagine the hard work and numerous hours put in his music to achieve the results. I however imagine that with his solid background and experience in music, certain things must now have become second nature.
“… Charity begins at home. I have started with my son (Jemere Morgan) as well as working with a lot of young artistes, (connecting) them to the veterans in the music industry in Jamaica….. showing them the roots, showing them the essence of reggae music… if they are going to carry the torch they need to come to where it started…….I’m very proud of working with these young artistes, getting a chance to wave the flag of Reggae Music and the flag of Jamaica….”
We were speaking about the concerns I had with how the baton of Reggae Music is being passed on to the upcoming successors. In my view, there are no apparent succession plans in place and Government and the respective bodies in the music industry in Jamaica need to pay more attention to creating these connections. While there is much more access to information, I believe that the spirit and energy that should come with the passing on of valuable information and guidance can only be achieved with the personal touch. Gramps Morgan has chosen to involve himself in this regard through his company, Dada Son Entertainment and his work with upcoming Reggae artistes worldwide. Growing up with a solid sense of family and family values, it is no wonder that he began his efforts with his son Jemere Morgan, who now has his first single “First Kiss” available on iTunes.
Nearly half hour had passed yet it seemed as if we were talking for a much longer period. My mind is busy formulating my own ideas regarding what my path will be and how I want to approach my career. My “Chit Chat” with Gramps Morgan has inspired me to go passionately after my own goals, while remembering to keep it simple, enjoying the gifts of family and friends that I already have.
|Life Too Short||Gramp Morgan||2.00||
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