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Interview: I-Wayne

Interview: I-Wayne

Interview: I-Wayne

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"One of the great I-complishments, just to know that there are people who give thanks for my type of art, for the right message"

Sampler

I-Wayne is one of the outstanding artists upon the reggae scene today. His first album, 'Lava Ground', which was released in 2005, achieved enormous success with the smash dancehall single Can’t Satisfy Her, and a handful of others that remain in heavy international rotation. His second album, 'Book of Life', released in 2007, has also been warmly welcomed and celebrated. As one of the youngest among his contemporaries in the scene, I-Wayne has made a name for himself in the conscious community for his unique vocal style and militant morals. His songs combine both roots and dancehall styles blended with R&B and hip-hop influences, which he attributes to an array of personal tastes including Michael Jackson, Tracy Chapman and Anita Baker. His songs speak out against some of modern society’s most controversial issues including abortion, racism and prostitution. During his brief tour in the United States’ Pacific Northwest, Jessica Dore had a chance to chat with him about his recent activities, opinions, upcoming plans and the motivations behind some of his music.

There’s not much out there about what you’ve been doing lately, what have you been up to since [your last album] 'Book of Life' came out?

Yeah, I’m still in the studio recording.

Care to elaborate?

Yeah, I’m working on a new album. Most of the time I’m spending some time in the hills, in the mountains inna the natural vibe and writing some new things. So yeah, I keep recording, record all the time, I keep writing. Music straight all the way. Spending some time with family, because that’s very important as well, yuh know? Balance it on the schedule, yuh know. Most time it’s like a rejuvenation, it’s like you’re still on the scene but you just want the calm for a little while, more inspiration.

Have you been travelling a lot?

Yeah man, I’m still travelling a lot. Doing shows here and there. So when I’m not in the studio, then I’m at home writing, or I’m in the mountains writing, or I travel and do shows, yuh know. Sometimes I’m in Europe, I was in Europe a couple weeks ago.

When you came out with 'Lava Ground', and you had a few big hits, how did things change for you with that album blowing up and all of a sudden, your very first album…

It got real busy! But it’s a joy, travelling and getting a whole different vibe, a different mood, you know? One of the great I-complishments, just to know that there are people who give thanks for my type of art, for the right message, yuh know wah mi seh? More than a joy to know there are some people who really give thanks.

After Can’t Satisfy Her and other tunes from 'Lava Ground' were such big hits, did you feel pressure to come out with another album that would blow up the same way? Were you nervous?

No, no no. Because I’m confident, because I spend the time. Spend the time, enough time, very natural, don’t rush it. Whether it’s a couple weeks, or a couple of months, or a couple of years. Depends however long it takes. Just take my time and set the thing proper. Like how the trees take a while to grow, it’s a perfection like trees grow. It takes a while to get it right. Me sure seh the third one, it ah gone be irie because me go make sure mi spend some time. Some people more go for the more slack type of vibe, if it’s just because they no seh goodness. And the people them deserve life goodness. And I’m here working for life, yuh know?

What do you think about the state of the dancehall these days?

To tell you the truth, it’s getting messy. How them carry themselves, how them dress, and you know that’s not good for the children, that’s not good for the kids. You have a little daughter, you have a little son…It used to be even more irie than that. You still have some people doing some good dancehall tune, but the majority are crap, to tell you the truth. The majority are designed to lead the children astray, and are destructive to the life. You just have to be real. I’m just being realistic here. So you have some people who really make an effort and do some good tunes and you have some people who just do it with the madness and the badness, yuh know?

Your music reflects strict morality and strong ethical beliefs. Is it hard to stay true to your message of righteousness when you’re so immersed within a business like the entertainment industry? Is it hard to still represent where you're from when you've come so far?

The people who I grew up with are where I’m coming from, you know I never change. Once them keep it real I keep it real same way. People are people, yuh know? Once them genuine, all is well same way. And I still represent the community where I’m coming from and still keep it real. Most of these places in Jamaica you have to really keep away, most of the ghetto. You might grow up in a certain part of the ghetto but you find out that after awhile you have to keep away from these people because of, you know, the mind, the mentality, the rob and kill type of vibe. Some of them irie, some of them not. So I think, I want to stay around the irie people. If them no irie, me nah need be around them.

What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a new album. A lot of singles and then I’m gonna select an album from it. I have the majority of the tracks already. So I just have a few more tracks.

So you’re saying there’s something coming soon, then?

Yeah….I think it’s soon. Tell me something…Would you like for me to bring one soon?

Yes…Yes…I would very much like for you to bring one soon. But I'm not trying to pressure you now…

Because you want it to be irie, right?

Right, yes. I know you know what the people want.

And what the people need! Need is so much more than want, you know?

I think I have an idea, but I want to hear your version…What is ‘lava ground’?

Just reminding the people about the wrath of nature. You have some people they say "yeahhhh my gun shot, or my bullet, or my spear, or my knife or my sword," so you know I’d rather call upon the thunder, or the lightning, or the earthquake; things that are forever, yuh know? Yeah, so the lava ground, just talking about the volcanic activity, just reminding them that they’re treading on the lava ground. That the lava is within the center of the earth, and to behave themselves because it can erupt anytime. Just reminding them about the wrath of nature. Behave themselves because more time some people want to prove who is the baddest or the toughest. Just to remind them, them no need the rough or tough like nature, and for them to behave themselves.

Life is Easy is one of my favorite tracks of yours, and I think it has a really interesting message. Will you tell me a little bit about what that song is about?

Alright, in the majority of the songs, the majority of the time you hear people complain about how hard life is. They say the worst things about life. So I’m just here to remind them how irie our own life is, how easy life is. And remind them that the system is what is hard, yuh know? Life is always easy. So just reminding them that the sun shines with ease, the moon shines with ease. But the system is so hard, and the system really stress them. Dirty life is hard. Just a reminder that life is so easy. Because life flows with ease, like a river floating, life exists with ease. But the system causes most of the challenges. Like how some people they love education, but them can’t never afford it, [the system] make it too expensive, you know? ‘They make their world so hard,’ as Marley woulda’ say. They make their system so hard. The birds and the fish, the animals, they are not in the system, they don’t worry about bills; the phone bill or the water bill or the light bill, yuh know what mi say? The more nature, the better. Make nature in control and just flow with nature. Don’t try to flow against nature, as long as them flow with nature life is always easy. Want them flow against nature, because they love the system, because they love vanity and material more than life…

Anything else you want to add?

I’m just saying more life, more joy, more prosperity, more strength, yuh know?

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Read comments (4)


Posted by Lucie on 05.20.2010
I love that, Lava Ground...I didn't even think about what that phrase might mean

Posted by CaathyNv from Sweden on 05.28.2010
Love it..
One love
Bless

Posted by Naihlo on 06.27.2010
I love all his music and I cant wait til the next album is released. Much thanks and much love. BLESS!

Posted by jr on 05.28.2013
One of the best modern artist.

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