Sun | Jan 20, 2019

'Give the performance of your life' - Tony Rebel encourages artistes to go all out despite show numbers

Published:Tuesday | January 1, 2019 | 12:00 AMSade Gardner/Gleaner Writer
Tony Rebel speaking at the launch of Rebel Salute 2019.
Tony Rebel in performance at A St Mary Me Come From, held at the National Arena, November 2018.
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The sentiment of always giving your best because you never know who is watching is something that seasoned reggae artiste Tony Rebel holds near and dear to his heart.

With more than three decades of performing all over the world, the Fresh Vegetable singer said that he has appeared before audiences that vary in numbers but learnt early on to give a stellar delivery despite the turnout. He is encouraging his peers to follow suit.

"It's something that I have developed over the years 'cause one of the things that I do is enjoy what I am doing on the stage so it will translate to the audience," Rebel told The Gleaner. "I wish I could have some seminar to tell some artistes dem something yah so dem can know 'cause you never know who is sitting in that audience. It could be 10 people in there, and you think just because it's 10 people you're not going to perform well and then one of the persons in the audience could very well be the CEO of a record company, so you have to make sure you always deliver."

 

Ready for a Deal

 

Rebel actually had a similar experience in 1992. "I've been there - I signed with Columbia Records for five albums that year, and it was somebody who just saw me perform," he recalled. "As a matter of fact, the person saw me at a studio singing, and they thought that I was ready for a deal like that - big big Columbia Records."

The international label is known to have impacted the careers of other local acts like Supercat, Yellowman, Tiger, Mad Cobra, Ini Kamoze, and Peter Tosh.

A year after forming part of the Columbia family, Rebel released his album Vibes of the Time, a 14-track hybrid set that complemented the wave of Afro-consciousness that permeated reggae music in the early 1990s through acts like Garnet Silk, Luciano, Everton Blender, and Uton Green. The album featured the militant Nazerite Vow, the patriotic Sweet Jamaica, and the relatable tale of Chatty Chatty, among others. Acclaimed producers Sly Dunbar, Donovan Germain, Bobby 'Digital' Brown and Mikey Bennett were some of the names who worked on the project, which is often hailed as one of Rebel's greatest albums.

According to the entertainer, this could not have been possible if he had not developed a strong mindset and good work ethic.

"I learnt to give my best at all times in every situation, and that is one of the laws that governs me," he said. "I have learnt to not take things personally, so if you want to say mi tall, and mi ugly that is fi your business, that have nothing to do with me, and is just your opinion so you can't pay attention to things like that if you're in this business. I also try to have impeccable thoughts at all times."

The veteran continued, "A years me a do this. I perform in front of 100,000 people; I perform in front of 60,000, 20,000, and 10,000 people but I learnt to accept every situation and deal with it the best way that I can despite the numbers. Like mi father tell me, 'If you have a million dollars and you get a $100, don't despise the $100'. You have to learn to not get discouraged if you see 10 people, perform like it's all 10,000 people."