Protoje plays catch-up ‘In Search of Lost Time’
For every Protoje project released so far, the motif of time has been a constant. Since the reggae artiste emerged on the music scene in 2011 with his debut album, Seven- Year Itch, time has been a recurring theme in all his albums. There was the critically acclaimed Eight-Year Affair in 2013. After that came Ancient Future in 2015 followed by the Grammy-nominated A Matter of Time in 2018. It, therefore, comes as no surprise to those who have been following the About Noon singer’s story that he has once again chosen to use time to tell the tale.
As he chronicles this latest chapter in his musical journey, however, listeners will get a glimpse into the artiste’s personal life. As the storyline unfolds, each song reveals that although Protoje is now enjoying the fruits of his labour, success came at a high cost -a debt he paid with time. Now, as he attempts to make up for moments he missed out on in pursuit of his dreams, Protoje is In Search of Lost Time.
“This album is just me taking a check of all the time that has passed since I started doing music. So many things have happened in my life and in that of those closest to me that I wasn’t able to be a part of. From my parents getting older, to my daughter growing up, to me missing my friends’ birthdays and weddings,” he told The Sunday Gleaner. “While I was in pursuit of my dreams and my aspirations, I missed out on a lot of important milestones, and this project is like a reflection of that. It’s me pledging to make up for lost time. It’s also for all the persons going after their dreams to remind them they are to be mindful that while they’re going after something, something else is slipping away.”
A stickler for detail, Protoje explained that every song on the album was specifically crafted to fit his storyline. He revealed that everything, down to the album’s cover art, was meticulously selected to sync perfectly with his vision. “The cover art for the album is a picture of me chasing my daughter, and it aligns perfectly with the story I want to tell with this album. The game that she likes to play is one where I chase her, and so she’s, like, ‘Daddy, catch me, catch me’ while she’s running while I run after her pretending I can’t catch her, and so for me, the picture symbolises me being two steps behind what matters the most. You’re right there but just a bit out of reach,” he said. “I think throughout all the songs, you will hear me tell the stories about me trying to play catch-up and trying to make up ground with the people I care most about. In Like Royalty with Popcaan, I am speaking about when I used to sleep on my bredren couch and then me taking him to the Grammys as a sign of gratitude and pledging to be there in the best ways I can.”
“The whole thing is just one big story with different parts, different chapters,” he continued.
Speaking of storytelling, Protoje said that his entire career has been built on the foundation of chronicling tales. He says that the latter is the reason his fanbase stays connected and looks forward to each album with great anticipation. “Storytelling is a necessary part of the music because it sparks the imagination of those who are listening. When you tell a story and people feel connected, they’ll stay connected to you as a musician,” he said.
Now that he has told his story with each track on In Search of Lost Time, Protoje says that his only desire now is for the project to reach as many ears as possible. Fielding a question from The Sunday Gleaner about Grammy aspirations, the artiste said that if the nomination comes, it will only be ‘brawta’.
“The main goal is that I want this album to reach more ears than any album I have put out before. I want to get as many people to hear it as possible, and I think if I achieve that, then all the other things will fall into place,” he said. “Chances are if this album reaches more ears than the last one, then there’s nothing to stop it from getting that [Grammy nomination]. I have already achieved that, so my focus just has to be to make sure the songs are connecting and reaching a lot of people.”
In Search of Lost Time was released on Friday. The compilation has 10 tracks with collaborations from Popcaan, Koffee, Lila Ike, and US rapper Wiz Khalifa.