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Food, friendship, fitness, forgiveness on Kelly’s birthday

Published:Friday | October 6, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Contributed Junior Kelly
Contributed Junior Kelly at work in a recording studio in April 2005.

With 10 albums to his credit, the most recent being Urban Poet (2015), in a career propelled by the 2000 hit single Love So Nice, followed by an album of that name, Junior Kelly performs overseas a lot. His birthday on September 23 was special just by his being in Jamaica. The last time he was in the country on the date of his birth was in 2008.

"For me, performing, I travel the world. I always say if I have a chance to be in Jamaica on my birthday, I would look for some people I have not seen in years," Kelly told The Gleaner.

So it was a day of friendship, food ("I love cook," Kelly said) and forgiveness, where he attempted to heal any breaches that may have occurred in inter-personal relationships. Fitness was not left out, as Kelly got in his regular morning jog.

As a regular chef, Kelly said: "I have a very large palate. Travelling to other countries and having the chance to sample their cuisine, your taste buds eventually change, just broaden. I like various spices and one spice can totally change a meal."

As wide-ranging as his tastes are, though, Kelly stuck to an old favourite for his birthday meal - ackee and salt fish and rice and peas. It was an unhurried time in the kitchen, extending into the afternoon, Kelly sipping red wine as he cooked.

Plus, there was music from Bob Marley, Whitney Houston, Beres Hammond, Chronixx, and more.




Among the persons Kelly visited was his aunt - an English teacher - who represents a generation above him. Kelly said when he visits her, he often records her stories about the family, but did not do so this time. She is also the lady he consults when he is writing a song about family and needs some clarity.

"A lot of people think they [have] lived out their usefulness," Kelly said of older people. "They have so much they can teach us."

On the forgiveness side, Kelly said for his birthday "I look for individuals I may have done wrong to and apologise. Is not just on my birthday I ask forgiveness and tell individuals who have done me wrong, I forgive them. You never put my life in danger; it's something that was said that should not have been said, or done something that should not have been done. Me just do a study upon myself as an individual on the earth," Kelly said.

There is contact with persons who may have given him advice a long time ago that he is now seeing the wisdom of.

"This one is very important to me," Kelly said about his birthday. "I got a chance to sit and do some things I like to do. Still, he makes it clear "I like my work, I love to see people enjoying themselves, I enjoy myself. Is not like I burn out and don't enjoy it anymore."

"It felt good," he said three times, quietly.