Renowned Jamaican king of Lover’s Rock, Beres Hammond, was presented with an honorary degree, Doctors of Letters, at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Class of 2023 graduation ceremony on Saturday November 4, 2023. The Grammy-nominated reggae singer, whose given name is Hugh Beresford Hammond, has a musical legacy spanning five decades, and he is respected for captivating audiences with his soulful vocals. During his acceptance speech, Hammond paid tribute to his inspirations, including Alton Ellis, Stevie Wonder, and Sam Cooke. He also connected with the graduates and attendees, sharing cherished memories of his upbringing and the beginnings of his musical journey.
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A Spontaneous Serenade
As the crowd cheered him on, Beres treated them to an impromptu performance, igniting a joyous atmosphere.
Gratitude and Humility
Reflecting on the honor, Hammond expressed his gratitude, saying, “I’m glad that they could have acknowledged the works after so many years. I never asked them for this but I am grateful. My family is excited for me.”
Embracing the Unpredictable
Known for his spontaneous approach to music, Hammond remarked, “If you ask me what’s next, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I never plan things, it just happens – vibes and everything follows in the right place at the right time. I don’t sit down and write songs, I just make things happen.”
A Prolific Career in Music
With a discography boasting 22 solo albums, Hammond’s contribution to Jamaican music is unparalleled. In 2013, the Government of Jamaica recognized his extraordinary impact on the industry by bestowing upon him the prestigious Order of Jamaica.
Honoring Outstanding Contributions
Among the distinguished honorees of The UWI’s Class of 2023 were Professor E. Dale Abel, posthumous awardee Lascelles A. Chin, Rachel Manley, and Audrey Patrice Marks, each recognized for their outstanding contributions.