Every ever so often special talent comes along with a charismatic voice. Trinidadian reggae singer Michael Williams is a special talent and a charismatic vocalist. Williams says he sings God’s melodies and chose, most appropriately, the name JAMELODY. Like reggae’s defining vocalist Dennis Brown, JAMELODY’s vocal style bridges R&B, Pop/Rock, Gospel to Reggae.
Born in 1980 Michael arranged and did leads for teen acapella group Brothers with Voices on covers of R&B favorites like Boys II Men, Take 6, Brian McKnight, and the Temptations. Their influence is evident in his vocal style. However, JAMELODY is a fresh new voice in reggae music whose musical passion runs deep and true.
Though he’s been singing for several years his debut CD “Be Prepared” on New York based VP Records dropped in May 2008. On March 19th he made is debut along with Etana, Ritchie Stephens, Cocoa Tea and Duane Stephenson at Brooklyn College’s Walt Whitman auditorium in NYC for the Team Jamaica Bickle benefit concert for the Jamaican Athletes going to Penn Relays and the Beijing Summer Olympic. Jamaicans.com senior music writer Stan Evan Smith caught up with JAMELODY.
SS: Who is Jamelody?
Jamelody is new upcoming artist coming out with new album on VP Records “Prepared”
SS: You’re from Trinidad, the land of Soca/Calpso and you’re reggae singer, reggae is from Jamaica, how did the two connect?
Jemelody Well the connection was thru my ex management, we didn’t have any aim to go to Jamaica, we just decided to go to Jamaica, It so happen that we met Bobby Digital from there everything went to a different level.
SS: How did you initially start doing reggae?
Jamelody I originally start doing reggae during my school period, in secondary school.
SS: How many years ago?
Jamelody A about seven or eight years
SS: What is it about reggae music that grabbed your attention?
Jamelody: Well reggae music is so spiritual, especially when you come from a country with a lot of poverty, frustration and pressure, reggae music become food to your soul, it uplifts your soul, keeps you strong. If you’re living in the ghetto and you don’t have food to eat, a proper bed to lie down, you listen to Bob Marley, Luciano and you know you will feel fine.
SS: How do the people of Trinidad accept you as reggae artist?
Jemelody: In Trinidad right now Jamelody is getting a great response from the massive…It good, better than was before, now we get respect. Be prepared, my first single, (also the title of my album) people began to know me. I fly Trinidad flag high because they give me the support and even if they don’t give the support I going to keep the flag shining.
Jemelody tells a story of love and life altering experience. He met Nera Griffith, a Rasta woman, who he now shares his life with, and she helped to find inspiration. Griffith introduced Williams to rastafari consciousness; he opened up and learned a lot from her.” She wrote words and he created melodies with reggae instrumentals, Jah melody. A career was born.
SS: You faced a challenge in Trinidad as reggae artist, and you‘re working on that, have you interacted with any Jamaican artist and how have they treated you?
Jemelody: Linking with other artist from Jamaica was simple because most of my records were made in Jamaica. That is where I met a lot of big artist. They give me a lot of respect .They give (me) a natural Caribbean love, an African love. Respect to Jamaicans wherever they are.
SS: Who are your most important musical influences as a singer?
Jamelody: My influences (has been) R&B music, Reggae Music.
SS: Specifically singers.
Jamelody: Artist like Mikey Spice, Sizzla Kolonji gives me a lot vibes. Buju Banton gives me a lot of inspiration, Beres Hammond. R&B artist like Boyz to Men, Take 6, (One can also hear strains of Brian Mc Knight)
SS: “Be Prepared’ is your first album, what do hope to accomplish with it?
Jamelody: I always strive to reach my goal. This I my very first album with VP Records. Way back in my country where I start; I had an aim and mission to reach this level in life. It is happening, I give thanks. The aim of my mission is to have more goals and create more and more music for the people.
Jamelody made his New York debut in the Walt Whitman auditorium, at Brooklyn College. Despite a short set and sound engineering problem Jamelody was impressive and demonstrated he’s special artist with magnificent and charismatic vocal.
SS: Is the Brooklyn College concert your first major show in the US?
Jamelody: Yes, this my first major show and hopefully there will be many more after this. I will be doing my best on this one.
SS: You looked comfortable on stage (at Brooklyn college) talk about what it is like to perform live?
Jamelody: being around me physically, seeing me naturally and performing on stage is two totally different persons. When Iam on the stage I am ready to do my thing for the people performing live is spiritual thing. My whole state of mind changes into different person, a spiritual (some) thing, like a manifestation. I give thanks for that feeling, it is one of the greatest feelings I could ever get. Some times it gets a little tough, the engineer or other people make it tough but it’s all good. I love to perform.
SS: Are you nervous about all this?
Jamelody: At first, meeting a lot of people and a lot of different type of people, its gets you somewhat nervous. I have to be humble and just take things calm. It’s not just a musical thing, its spiritual thing. It is also about meeting a whole lot of people and sharing your vibes, your whole inspirations:
SS: As a new artist what would you want the public to know about Jamelody? Jamelody: I would want the public to know that Jamelody is just an ordinary person with a great intention. My intention is to reach the world, not only musically but in other ways. I can reach out to the world and let them know that the almighty god is real and that highly Selassie the first is righteousness. I give thanks
SS: Give thanks and much success.
Jamelody: Respect King.
Stan Evan Smith is contributing Editor Everybody’s Magazine, Writer, Gleaner/Star NA. Staff writer for Jahwork.org. Westindiantimes.net and Jamaicans. Com He can be reached [email protected] http://www.myspace.com/stanwsmith