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Interview: Earl 16

Interview: Earl 16

Interview: Earl 16

By on - 4 comments

"I don’t follow other singers. My style is unique. Not Easy At All inspired me to write deeper tunes"


Earl 16

Earl Sixteen is a leader

Earl Sixteen has been in the music industry since the 70’s and has worked with the crème de la crème of producers in both Jamaica and Europe. He has just completed his latest album 'The Fittest' in the Netherlands working with Not Easy At All productions and JahSolidRock. United Reggae got a chat with him.

Earl Sixteen – also known as Earl 16 – is a foundation singer that has managed to release great tunes and albums from the mid 70’s and onwards.

He has been living in Europe for a number of years and has watched trends come and go. He enjoys the old school sounds that are popular in Europe and is impressed by the scene.

“When I first came to Europe they were playing tunes I never heard on the radio anymore in Jamaica. I love the way they retained the old school format of music and the dances that were everywhere. Even now there are more festivals in Europe than in Jamaica. It has made a big impact on the whole world coming from UK to the rest of Europe and all over the earth”, says Earl Sixteen.

More creativity

As a singer rooted in 70’s roots, it’s not surprising that he is not too overwhelmed with the reggae scene today. But he has a solution – thinking outside the box.

Earl 16 - The Fittest“I find that the music keeps evolving with time and a lot of people involved in reggae just jumping on a band wagon. It’s too repetitive right now. Not too much creativity. Hence I did this new album The Fittest”, he says, and continues to compare today with how it used to be:

“The big difference is that we had live studio productions up to the 80’s. Reggae music was much more creative in those days. You could not find a one riddim album. Musicians would get more work. Now all you need is a computer and a little equipment to make a whole album”, he says.

Worked with the best

In the 70’s and 80’s he worked with famous producers such as Lee Perry, Linval Thompson, Augustus Pablo, Coxsone Dodd and Mikey Dread. For Mikey Dread he cut the newly reissued album 'Reggae Sound' and for Lee Perry he did the haunting 'Freedom'.

“I learned a lot from each of them. But they had their favorite artist who they would promote more than others, which was good because an artist needs to have someone who believes in him to give him confidence”, he says, and continues:

“I enjoyed working with those guys as they were unique in different ways”.

His latest album 'Reggae Ambassador' was released in 2007 on UK label Cousins. Since then he has worked with a variety of producers, mostly from Europe. He has put out a number of wicked tunes on a wide range of riddims - International Roots together with Mungo’s HiFi, Virtual Generation for Heartical and Gold Dust with Nick Manasseh.

Fruitful partnerships

One of his latest efforts is Fittest of the Fittest on the Collie Weed riddim released last year. This collaboration with producers Not Easy At All and the JahSolidRock label seemed fruitful and now they are about to release a new album together. Earl Sixteen describes it. 

Earl 16“Well, as we all know everything in life must change, nothing stays the same and this new album has more new riddim tracks and also it’s a different caliber of musicians and productions. I would say it’s a good follow up to the last album. It’s even better”.

He is a versatile singer and his crying, almost pleading, voice is emotional and suits a broad range of riddims. He describes his sound and himself as leading.

“I don’t follow other singers. My style is unique. I listen to all genres of music but maintain my own style. Not Easy At All inspired me to write deeper tunes.”

'The Fittest' is expected to hit the streets in the first half of 2011 and Earl Sixteen will put a lot of effort into promoting the album by touring and releasing singles.

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Read comments (4)

Posted by behold on 03.23.2011
We're looking forward to this roots veteran!

Posted by Murv on 04.02.2011
Good to see Earl 16 is still very relevant in reggae nowadays.
His album on the DreadatThe Control label is one of the best selling and highly appreciated albums right now. Forward Earl as i would seh !!!

Posted by Poca on 11.12.2011
Nice interview!
Lovely album!
Love it that Earl's wearing a Jah Army shirt on the cover... ;-)
Album The Fittest is now avaialble in iTunes Store!

Posted by earl sixteen on 01.10.2013
One Love

Comments actually desactivated due to too much spams

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