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Interview: Glen Washington

Interview: Glen Washington

Interview: Glen Washington

By on - Photos by Elia Falaschi - 6 comments

"I wish that a whole lot more artists would actually stand up for clean music. For music that will stay forever and ever"


Glen Washington’s story is an inspirational one for any artist struggling in the music business. He had his first hit in the late seventies with Rockers A Nuh Crackers but kept doggedly working behind the scenes until he struck again with Kindness For Weakness from second album 'Next To You' in 1998. Like his fellow Clarendon parishioner Freddie McGregor, he played the drums as well as being a singer and has recorded for Studio 1’s Coxsone Dodd. And like McGregor and his idol Beres Hammond he sings sweet love songs with a roots sensibility. In 2009 he voiced the critically acclaimed 'Vibes' with one-drop producer of the moment Kemar “Flava” McGregor. Angus Taylor spoke to him after his performance at Rototom Sunsplash 2010 where he was backed by Switzerland’s former European Reggae Contest winners The Dubby Conquerors band.

Glen Washington

How does it feel to play at Rototom in its new location?

I’m elated! It feels real good. I’m really honoured to be on the first show in this new location and I was wondering about what it would be like but oh I like it! It’s good and it’s going to get bigger.

You can play the drums as well as sing – does the one help the other?

Yes it helps me as a singer with timing. I can sing anything in any time now and still don’t fall off. And at times if I’m recording I do it but what happened is that I played the drums for many years and decided to leave it alone and let somebody else do it because I got more pressing work to do out front! I’ve got to let the people know what’s going on!

Who is your favourite singer from your home parish?

Wow, we got so many good singers from my home parish! We got Freddie McGregor, we got Cocoa Tea, we got Toots from Toots and the Maytals, we got Barrington Levy, we got Carlene Davis…

Everton Blender…

Everton Blender! We got a whole bunch of entertainers from there.

So there’s too many to mention from my parish of Clarendon! (laughs)

It was kind of a trick question. (laughing)

The Maytones! These are people that I grew up with! A whole bunch of them!

Now a different McGregor we should mention is Kemar Flava McGregor who you recently released the album Vibes with in 2009. How did it feel to be working with one of the hottest one-drop producers right now?

That was a good vibe because Flava is like my brother you know. Aside from music we gelled. We always link up and free up the vibe!

I believe in God and I never questioned him in whatever he does. I just follow

Would you say singers like yourself and Beres are holding the candle for the pure no frills no gimmicks singing style with so many deejays around?

I am really happy about that and I wish that a whole lot more artists would actually stand up for clean music. For music that will stay forever and ever. Glen WashingtonBecause that’s how it’s supposed to go.

Your career started in the seventies but bloomed late in the nineties. What advantages has that life experience given you?

Well like I said before, nothing happens before the time and I never questioned. I believe in God and I never questioned him in whatever he does. I just follow. Whatever the vibe comes and tells me to do I just follow. Anytime I follow my first vibe I’m always on the right side every time! If I feel I’m supposed to do something, and I’m sitting here and the urge kicks in, I’m going to go and do it. Because if I don’t do I’m not going to feel comfortable. I’ve got to go get it done. That’s how I am. And ever since I’ve been living like that, it’s always been right.

Know your craft, love your craft. Practise, practise, practise your art and get it to perfection. And don't do anything you will be ashamed of later on!

Finally, what advice would you give to young singers coming up based on your own experiences?

Know your craft, love your craft. Practise, practise, practise your art and get it to perfection. And don’t do anything you will be ashamed of later on!

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Read comments (6)

Posted by Empress Selaska on 12.28.2010
Glenn Washington is one of the best oldies artiste on the reggae scene. His music is purely inspirational, entertaining, and leaves one wandering what next with GLEN. I know glen personally and I really wish all the best in his musical journey, may god guide his path and keep him on THE RIGHT ROAD!!

Posted by misssunny on 01.08.2011
Loved reading this whilst listening to his music, very pleased the fact that he touched on his spirituality.

Posted by Pirlo on 06.22.2011
Glen is a man simply sent on a mission to give people who understand him like us the sweetest vibes ever. This man is the real deal. I wish God blesses & guides him in his path. Am just crazy about his music, educating, entertaining & talking about real love, what more could you ask for?

Posted by fatherbones on 11.01.2011
One of the most talented artist ever to come out of Jamaica. Every song he does sound spiritual or send a message whether its a lovers rock or a praise song. He writes his own music so what does that tell you. He is a real superstar.

Posted by enos on 10.04.2012
He is most talented singer who is a source of inspiration here in Zimbabwe and all over the continents

Posted by Geoegia Hamlin on 08.31.2014
I enjoy listening to reggae music. This weekend I've been listening to Glen Washington on the Party Time dvd. I really enjoy his spngs. He is a great performer.

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