Following the release of his fourth studio album, A Matter of Time, Jamaican-born artist Protoje embarked on a six-month long international tour in 2018. Soon after his return, he announced that his first show back home, “A Matter of Time Live,” would be in Kingston in 2019. People were so excited to see the Grammy-nominated artist that tickets quickly sold out. Protoje was so invested in sharing his music with all his fans that his team changed the venue and released more tickets. The restocked tickets sold out in less than an hour.
“A Matter of Time Live” was truly a magical experience. On Twitter, when I asked if there would be a photo pit, Proto replied “No there won’t be any, nor will the stage be high. No barrier in front the stage either. Ting Ago be a vibes fam, me just waa celebrate with the ones dem.” Fans also asked about a VIP section, something which the artist consistently replied would not be necessary.
On Saturday night, February 23, Protoje took the stage at Hope Gardens’ Palm Drive in front of a crowd of 2000 people. Before he made his appearance, attendees had time to enjoy ital food and crafts sold by local vendors including I-Nation who can be found selling books at Kingston Dub Club & other cultural events. The grassy outdoor venue accommodated the vendor tents, a Red Stripe bar, and a canvas painted with the seafoam of the “A Matter of Time” album cover. The painting was flanked by a white Range Rover and a red Jaguar. It functioned as a photo backdrop and was executed by young Jamaican creator Richard Nattoo. Jamaican illustrators were also responsible for the artwork flashing across the screen behind the performers during the show.
Protoje’s interest in supporting local talent is evident not only in his promotion of creative endeavors around town, but in his dedication to uplifting fellow musicians with his platform. The artist joked during his set that ticket-holders would get their $2500JMD worth of entertainment from him. However, the show proved to be priceless as a plethora of notable Jamaicans joined him on stage. And let us not forget Protoje’s potent freestyles and energetic dance moves!
Mortimer, whose sweet vocals graced his “Ancient Future” album, was Protoje’s first guest. He was followed by luminaries such as Lila Ike, Tarrus Riley, Koffee, Chronixx, Agent Sasco, and Jesse Royal. Members of The InDiggNation (Protoje’s musical band) were also given the spotlight. Rhythm guitarist Zuggu Dan sang Ky-Mani Marley’s part on classic tune “Rasta Love” before Protoje introduced him to the crowd and let them hear Zuggu Dan’s new single “Jungle.” Paris LaMont, on keyboard/synth, was highlighted for his contribution to “Mind of a King.”
When young female artists Koffee and Lila Ike performed, Proto did not hesitate to record them on his mobile phone, beaming with pride for his protégés. Sevana was away at her sister’s wedding, but as Protoje says: “Family first.” It was apparent in the high energy crowd, with hands waving, legs jumping up high, that many people felt like family at Hope Gardens’ Palm Drive at “A Matter of Time Live.”