In this installment of Our Stories, reggae soul singer Lymie Murray talks about his better side….For many people, Jamaica is pictured as an island paradise – white sandy beaches, a beautiful and vivacious culture, rich and wholesome food, and attractive people. And while that image is not far from the truth, if the lens is focused on the inspirational stories of ordinary Jamaicans, you’d find a sharper, richer and truer image of the Jamaican experience…this is Our Stories!
Meet Paul “Lymie” Murray
The 14th day of October 2000 will forever be etched in the mind of this entertainer as one of his most memorable. That’s the day his daughter was born. And the singer described the moment as life-changing and fulfilling because he always prayed for a girl child. Lymie, who grew up in cool Royal Flats in Manchester, explained that although he has two children – Sydney and Matthew Murray – raising his daughter, the older of the two, helps him to be a better man. When I sat down with this soulful rebel, he told me why Sydney is his better side.
1.Why did you pray for a daughter?
Most men would say, ‘oh I want to have a son’.
I prayed for a daughter every day. I figured maybe if I got a chance to grow one I would better understand a woman’s perspective. I’d be better able to get the female take if I had an opportunity to grow a daughter. My daughter motivates me, I think, more than my son would because I would take some things for granted with a boy that I wouldn’t do with a girl.
2.How would you describe your relationship with Sydney?
Fantastic. It’s the most beautiful thing. She was the last person I was with before I came to do this (interview).
My quest was to understand some more about the female, what makes her tick, what makes her happy. I think she has taught me a whole bundle. And we talk a lot of times and she tells me, ‘Dad I’m grown now you can tell me stuff’.
3. (Laughs) What does she mean?
I can get more heart to heart with stuff. Some information I would probably think she’s not ready for. She’s trying to tell me, she’s ready.
4. What has your daughter taught you about women?
She has totally enlightened me about women and about the thing called patience. You absolutely exercise this thing called patience when it comes to a woman.
Women don’t think as logically as men. Women don’t think in angles, men think in angles. Women think in waves. Women are analytical. Just some things she would do instinctively, I would say ‘oh’ and I would apply them to a grown up.
5. Give me an example.
She asked, ‘Dad can we just spend some time?’
(I asked) ‘So time together means you want me to carry you down to Half-Way Tree to buy something? Or time together means you want something?’
(She replied) ‘No. Time.’
I would understand this coming from a grown up but I wasn’t getting that coming from her.
And then I said, ‘yes’ sometimes she just wants to… (rests his head on my shoulder)
And she would just be there for fifteen or twenty minutes. And she really doesn’t want to talk to me, maybe just on her phone.
And love languages, I have learnt so much from her. She showed me that one of her love languages was spending time so I started to appreciate now, from a woman’s perspective, the idea of spending time is very important, even if you’re not talking. There’s a communication that happens.
6. How has this relationship with Sydney improve your interaction with other women?
Well she has certainly helped my communication skills. She use to tell me
‘Daddy you can call me inuh, even if you don’t have no money. Don’t (ignore me) because you don’t want to talk about not having any money.’
Communication is one of the things that she has totally helped me with. You know men usually don’t like to talk about money, especially to her. I don’t want to say,
‘You know what I don’t have no money’.
Men don’t like that.
She brought me over the hump…having the conversation anyway. She totally has helped me to transform some of my communication skills and that’s one of the fundamental things.
7. Nice! Now let’s shift focus a little, who is Lymie Murray, the singer?
I’m a rebel. I’m a soul rebel. That’s probably the moniker that describes me best. I make rebel music and I’m a soul man at the same time.
8. What do you mean by rebel music?
The issues. We talk about the issues, we quarrel, we burn fire…not like how Capleton would do (laughs) but we do it in our own way. The social commentary is part of what comes when you start to embrace the Rastafarian faith. Yuh have to talk about Roots and Culture. Yuh have to talk about the stuff that means much. So when I talk about rebel, I talk about making the songs, and write the type of lyrics that speak to the social issues – speak to hunger, speak to poverty, speak to crime and violence. This is the part that we call the rebel. We burn politician, we burn spiritual wickedness in high and low places.
9. Which song are you presently promoting?
Well the song I made for a boy and girl. It’s called the Better Side of Me. I never introduce that song for my daughter or my son because if you listen to that song and you only had a daughter that entire song is for her, if you only had a son that entire song is for him.
And it not only speaks to them, it also speaks to you. Every parent want their children to be everything they are and ten folds more. I think this song is so potent because this is what you call the heart string.
Many times I try to sing it and it doesn’t come out good because it’s an emotional piece for me. Children are a passion of mine hence why we have a Foundation called the Paul H. Murray Groundation, and the focus of this movement are children, and their caregivers. When we made the song called, Better Side of Me, I (recorded it) in one take. It’s the second time I have recorded a song, cried right through the song, the tears come, the song happens and it’s emotional for everybody who would have been a part of that experience.
Wow! Thanks Lymie, you blessed my heart with your story!
Here’s a performance of Lymie Murray’s Better Side of Me
Listen to Better Side of Me on SoundCloud.
Learn more about his Foundation
Our Stories is a feature which sheds light on real, social issues in Jamaica through the inspirational stories of Jamaicans with lived experiences. Are you a Jamaican with a story to share? Contact us [email protected].