Jamaican Music Music Interviews

Interview with Reggae Ambassador Abijah

Written by Phil Dinham

P.D./J.com: ABIJAH is a key biblical name meaning wha mi idren?

ABIJAH: It’s true, “Abijah” is a biblical name meaning my father is Jahovah, or The Creator.

P.D./J.com: Where were you born Abijah? Where in Jamaica you grew up?

ABIJAH: I was born in Kingston, grew up mostly in Rockfort (in the hills).

P.D./J.com: Which High school you went to?

ABIJAH: I went to Edna Manley School/College.

P.D./J.com: Yours has been a short but turbulent career in spots, your family background and ting, would you say a career in music was always on the cards for you?

ABIJAH: Yes, I did grow up around music and it was always my intention to be in the music industry.

P.D./J.com: You come from a family with incredible loyalties to local music, did your family help you a lot in building your early career in music?

ABIJAH: My father, who as you may know was a player with the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari, was particularly encouraging to me by taking my interest as a singer seriously.

P.D./J.com: Your first album was well received by Jamaicans, what sort of preparatory work went into this production? Did you go to singing and dance classes or did music and performance come natural?

ABIJAH: You ask a few questions here. Although my performance talent did come naturally, I also did take voice lessons. As for what went into making my first album: finding the proper musicians was the most important thing, as it was not built with computer rhythms, but phrase by phrase, with changes and multiple chords. I was greatly assisted by producer Mikey Bennett, who has a good track record and made a very positive contribution to my career.

P.D./J.com: Name some of the artists you have worked with in the past? Who do you look forward in working with in the future ?

ABIJAH: In terms of recording I’ve worked with Beenie Man, DJ KRush, Speech (of Arrested Development), Yellowman, Tevin Campbell, Nadine Sutherland, Zema, and many more, especially if you consider live shows. In the future, I’d like to work with Luciano, Jack Radix, Kanye West, Toni Braxton, to name a few.

P.D./J.com: What was it like collaborating with Tevin Campbell?

ABIJAH: It was a humbling experience, particularly to see him crossing over to work on a Jamaican production. Usually, Jamaican artists cross over to work on hip hop productions, so this was a unique opportunity and experience.

P.D./J.com: You are married, how many years? What has marriage been like, what does it mean to you to be married?

ABIJAH: As a rule, I don’t like to discuss family. I think it distracts from my presentation as an artist and involves people in my private life unnecessarily. Although I like to do interviews, I prefer people check the lyrics of my songs to hear my perspectives on life.

P.D./J.com: You attend KCOC, a member of ICOC? There are different opinions about this organization as a Christian church, outlawed as a religious cult in some countries, what are your thoughts as a member?

ABIJAH: I am not a member of any religious organization. I visit different temples and mingle with different people to be one with them, cause we are all equal in the eyes of the Creator.

P.D./J.com: Prior to your conversion in 1994, Abijah you were pursuing a career as a deejay. But when yu became a disciple yu decided to give it all up, knowing the hedonistic environment was no place for a young Christian? Tell us about your spriritual life?

ABIJAH: I call it a journey into spirituality. Actually, I didn’t give up DJ because of any church, ’cause I could still sing upful lyrics as a DJ. In fact, I still use a DJ style in all my shows, and could be called a singjay, though I’m mostly known as a singer. Currently, I believe we all are searching and we just have to be humble and be willing to be led by the Most High. I wouldn’t want to be labeled as a Christian ’cause we are all disciples. Some are disciples of wickedness, others of good. He didn’t only make Jews, but also the Gentiles. We are all Children of the Most High. We all have different opinions of what is Christian, Rasta, Muslim, but if we look at the bigger picture: the bees & the birds & the plants & the trees don’t fight over these things, so why should we? The greatest war today is a religious war, but in God, truly, there is no war.

P.D./J.com: What was it like to perform singers night at Reggae Sumfest 2002?

ABIJAH: It was a great experience. I got a lot of exposure from performing that event. I had always dreamed of doing it – as I had a lot of the things I’m doing now – and it’s always good to be well accepted.

P.D./J.com: Your Voice I believe graces the JTB’s commercial, Come to Jamaica? Would you consider yourself a poster boy for reggae music or you at more humble beginnings?

ABIJAH: I did do that commercial, but I don’t consider myself a “poster boy” for anything. Posters get changed. So I prefer to consider us all as students.

P.D./J.com: Your song “Revelation” debuted at #6 on the Jamaican national charts, is the nation hungry for positive lyrics you think? What inspired you to write the song revelation?

ABIJAH: Of course Jamaica has always been hungry for positive lyrics. As for what inspired me in writing “Revelation:” LIFE. So much is being revealed every day. The things we are fighting over: color of skin, position in life, they all don’t matter. What mankind is obsessing themselves with will not matter ultimately. If we are not one with each other, it will be a Revelation (as it is now). A lot of what I write from is my own experience with people.

P.D./J.com: when can we expect a new album from Abijah?

ABIJAH: Soon, soon. We’re looking at releasing some singles to Jamaican and international radio this spring of 2006, with the full album coming later this year.

P.D./J.com: What was it like speaking at prestigious Harvard and Oxford university? What did you talk about?

ABIJAH: I discussed life, living values, how do you blend in with a crowd you perceive may be very different from yourself. How can a Rastaman go into the British palace and be one with the Queen. Solutions, opinions, suggestions on how to be one with people. It was a privilege rubbing elbows with bright people. It was a learning period for me.

P.D./J.com: As the ambassador for peace as part of the “Healing the Nation” program in Jamaica, you have visited and performed at over 50 schools across the island, teaching the next generation about One Love. What have this been like?

ABIJAH: I went with the intention to teach, but actually came away learning a lot: children have so much to offer. As an adult, we think we know it all, but if we pay attention to a child, there’s things we can learn from them like the humility of being corrected when we are wrong.

P.D./J.com: Thank you for your time, Best wishes for a successful career.

About the author

Phil Dinham