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5 questions with Alborosie - Reggae star streams in millions with Metallica remake

Published:Thursday | September 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer

For this month, Italian-Jamaican reggae artiste Alborosie can put his feet up and rest from what has been a hectic touring schedule.

Since its release in June, Alborosie's sixth studio album, Unbreakable: Alborosie Meets The Wailers United, has kept the artiste busy on tour. The album has achieved some impressive numbers across all digital platforms and has already clocked three million streams. The lead single, The Unforgiving, featuring Raging Fyah, has reached 1.2 million streams, while his collaboration with Chronixx has approximately 1.6 million. "This week, we're going to reach six million streams. It's been number one on the reggae charts in many countries. This is my Grammy already," the artiste told The Gleaner.

Read on to find out more about Alborosie's appreciation for rock and roll, old-school reggae, and members of the new school of reggae musicians in Five Questions with ... .

What's the inspiration behind the 'Unbreakable: Alborosie Meets the Wailers United' album?

I was doing work with Tyrone Browne. When I had a bunch of music ready, I linked up with my good friend Aston Barrett Junior - Family Man's son. When we put those elements together, the sound started to go in that direction. So we thought, why not try to bring back that sound - the likkle vibe - with The Wailers? So we got in touch with Junior Marvin and Family Man, and Tyrone agreed - just go for it. And it sounded very good.

Numbers on the Chronixx collaboration 'Contradiction', have been impressive. Did you deliberately collaborate with him for marketability?

I don't really deal with marketing, I deal with people I feel I have a connection with. Obviously, Chronixx is one of the biggest ambassadors for reggae music right now, but it was just natural. Every collaboration is just a good vibe. I don't do things for marketing. I work with vibe.

The opening track on the album featuring Raging Fyah, is called 'The Unforgiven', which is a remake of a song by classic American rock band Metallica. Tell us about that decision.

I listen to every genre of music once it's good music. I've listened to Metallica from long time. The Unforgiven is one of my favourite tracks. It was actually weird - Aston Junior called me from Miami, and he was at a Metallica show. He didn't know I like Metallica. I went back and listened to the catalogue, and the song's tempo was perfect to be done in a reggae version. I decided to try, and I didn't even tell The Wailers. I made the demo without them, sent it, and they loved it.

But we needed a voice, someone with a rock-edge - and I thought the best would have been to work with Raging Fyah. I've always seen them as a rock-reggae band.

How artistes work together these days is by just sending files between themselves and producers. How often do you get to just have a jam session in a studio with your musician friends?

There's so many ways to work. It doesn't have to be in studio nowadays. I record sessions on my phone when I'm in the States, and I can just speak to everyone with that. There's also a time when you sit in the studio. I did that with Chronixx, and we worked on the lyrics and the melody together. And I did that with The Wailers to create the body of music for Unbreakable. It's just different ways for different artistes.

Has 'Unbreakable' been submitted for consideration for a Grammy?

VP Records submitted that album, and I am a voting member of the Recording Academy. I mean, let's hope for the best. My journey is a Grammy, my life is a Grammy. The recognition would be incredible, but at the end of the day, I'm not stressing myself over this. If I get one, I can go out and drink and celebrate. But I live a simple life in Jamaica. I have my own studio, I travel the world. I'm blessed already.

Bonus: You have dual citizenship - you are Italian and Jamaican. What are the commonalities between both countries?

I don't want to be disrespectful, but Jamaicans are very feisty - kind of roughish. Italians are the same, especially from southern Italy. That's where I come from. We're very passionate, funny, smiley people. They remind me a lot of Jamaica. Maybe that's why I am very comfortable here.