Tue | Dec 11, 2018

Foundation singer Junior Soul remembered

Published:Sunday | March 25, 2018 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston

Foundation singer Junior Soul succumbed to stage four colon cancer on Sunday, March 19.

The singer, who had been on life support at the Westside Regional Hospital, had been admitted on March 7 for abdominal pain.

He was diagnosed with cancer in 2016 and had surgery done.

According to tour manager Colin Forbes, Junior Soul was transferred from the Colony Point assisted nursing facility, where he had been residing after he complained of abdominal pain.

An X-ray revealed that the cancer had returned at stage 4.

"There was nothing the doctors could do," said Forbes.

In describing the singer born Vallen Smikle, Forbes said, "Musically, he was very encouraging. He was looking to getting back in the music," he said, adding that on March 5, they were discussing his new live album as well as a single he wanted to record.

"He was anticipating getting back into the studios and performing," said Forbes.

Junior Soul was known for his biggest hit, Penny For Your Song - one which he recorded previously as a member with the group The Federals.

After moving to New York, he recorded the single as a solo and it enjoyed even more success.

According to Kool FM's Michael Barnett, who ran a record shop in New York at the time, Junior Soul stood out in his memory as a "classy Jamaican guy in New York". He said Junior Soul was always well dressed and a really nice guy.

"He was his own marketing and promotions firm," recalls Barnett.

"When Junior comes in your presence, he only talks about Junior, he doesn't discuss anyone else or anything else, he spoke of his latest work. He used to visit me all the time selling his own stuff," he shared.

Junior Soul in later years relocated to Florida, where he used to run a programme on the brokered radio station, WAVS 1170.

Winsome 'Lady C' Charlton, who works on the same platform, remembers the late singer as "one of Jamaica's finest ballad singers".

"One of his favourite sayings that still stands out in my mind is, 'To everyone who is trying to make it in the music industry, don't give up, 'cause the day you give up is the day you fail'."