Five Questions with Capleton
Known for lyrics that ‘slew dem’ and provide many thought-provoking lessons, his music has been trumpeted as a forerunner for dancehall’s return to reggae tradition.
Born Clifton George Bailey III, although the world would become more familiar with him as Capleton, this entertainer has managed to maintain a high standard of edutainment, he says, by doing the work that was predestined for him. A reggae-dancehall artiste with a fiery outlook on life, Capleton was determined to make a name in the global music industry.
The That Day Will Come lyricist left his home at the age of 18 in search of an opportunity to achieve that goal, and three decades later, the heatwave that is Capleton made his first international appearance after getting a chance from the Toronto-based African Star Sound to perform in Canada. The heated single B@#$% Red, which he calls his only hardcore dancehall track to date, produced by top producer the late Phillip ‘Fatis’ Burrell of Xterminator Records, ensured that the artiste’s name bounced around the reggae and dancehall circles even though the track was banned from the airwaves.
His music isn’t banned anymore, however, instead receiving heavy rotation and garnering him bookings that keep him busy. Between travelling for shows and building a studio while at his home, Capleton said “there is a lot to do”, which he explains in this week’s Five Questions With ... .
1. Your latest single, ‘Jah Man A Pray To’, speaks about prayer. What does prayer mean to you?
We have to pray because faith moves mountains, no matter the struggle. There will be trials, tribulations, and opposition, but the more dem try to weaken we, the more we stronger with Jah guidance. As you know, fire is the purification and preservation of souls. The track is on ‘No Dimension’ riddim by Hon’y Comb Records on all digital platforms, and it a gwaan good. It’s a one-drop riddim, and it’s targeting Africa and Europe people ... . From you hear a riddim and it sounds good and can feel it, we give it a strength. I did a video for it, too, in Gordon Town, in the mountains, Jacks Hill, and Hope River.
2. Tell us what typical downtime is like for you.
I have no time for myself, only for the music. Call it seh I am a workaholic by nature and immune to certain things. People always wonder how me manage, but it is a battlefield, and I learned how to arm myself for it. It takes passion, not only for the music but for the fans, as well. Take away all the notion of popularity and fame. It is not about that but the message that is being sent to the people.
3. How important is image to you?
Image is a part of the entertainment life, and it is important as a representation of who an entertainer is, and presentation is key in the delivery of music.
As a recording artiste, you don’t want to go on stage and the people in the audience have outdone you by presenting themselves even better than you. Or worse, you go on stage and they have on something that you have on. When I met Balla (Capleton’s exclusive designer), I did not know he was going to sew for me, but I believe in divine intervention, and he has helped with keeping the image.
4. What about a female’s image? Do you agree with plastic surgery to create a whole new image?
I believe that everybody knows what is best for them and their image. It is up to the female to decide what she wants to do with her body and the reason for making those changes. But it is best to stay natural. As a woman, the way you carry yourself is of the highest esteem as the mother of creation and civilisation.
5. Share a few life lessons that you always impart to the youth.
Anytime I get to engage the youths, one thing I always tell them is to go to school and, if needed, get re-educated. Ultimately, know your direction and what you want. Honour thy father and mother, and it is all about self-esteem, self-control, discipline, and diligence. The youths can emulate a role model, but it is important that they remember to be themselves. And, finally, there are so many things that persons can invest in, business-wise, but you must have the right persons around you. Keep your focus. Stay away from the hype, and you will remain on track.