Richard George brings country music to Jamaica
Reggae and dancehall might be at the heart of Jamaica's music industry, but Jamaica-born country music singer Richard George says country music is his passion.
George migrated to the United States when he was only 12 years old but says he was always surrounded by music.
However, that move to Maryland led to something different, a love for country music.
"When I moved to Maryland at 12, I heard country music for the first time in my grandfather's bar, and I decided right then and there, that's the genre I wanted to pursue," he told The Sunday Gleaner, noting that he has an EP, About A Girl, that was released three years ago.
"I think I was sucked in at 12 by the melody and just the storytelling behind the songs, and it was different from the other genres that I listened to," he said.
Although he was born in Jamaica, George explained that he would prefer to collaborate with a Jamaican act or do a reggae-infused song, as opposed to a complete reggae album or song.
While his passion remains country music, George says he recently recorded Paradise, that has an "island feel with steel drums".
"I wrote that song in the winter time when it was really cold. I thought, what am I doing here when I am from a place that is warm and the people are so nice," he said.
"It has a very homely feel, and anyone who listens would want to escape with me to this paradise."
And based on the nature of the song, George says he has reached out to the Jamaica Tourist Board to discuss it's use in commercials for the 'Visit Jamaica' campaign. He says he will also try to follow up when he visits Jamaica this week.
LOOKING FOR PARADISE
George also hopes Paradise will be able to bring him some local attention.
"I have reached out to radio stations in Jamaica. With Paradise, I hope to capture the attention of the Jamaican and Caribbean audience. My family and friends are excited," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
"I see Jamaica as a country that rallies behind any Jamaican who is putting Jamaica on the map in a positive way. I think Jamaicans, as a people, that's what we do, we support each other."
Currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee, where country music is very ripe, George says he has been able to connect and work with other persons in the genre. He said he was also lucky enough to work with Grammy-winning songwriter Jim McCormick.