Wed | Nov 25, 2020

Yaksta changing negative narratives

Published:Thursday | November 19, 2020 | 12:06 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Yaksta tested the creative waters before committing to a career in music.
Yaksta tested the creative waters before committing to a career in music.

It’s always been the arts for Kemaul Martin, known professionally as Yaksta. From writing short verses, sculpting and painting to graphic and clothing design, he has tested the creative waters before committing to a career in music. The recording artiste, who was born and raised in St Mary, tells The Gleaner that he has taken several detours before charting the course to his current destination.

“The writing never stopped, but while navigating the traditional work environment, I was doing additional jobs so that some amount of money would go back into [the] studio. I started music around the same time I was expecting the birth of my son,” Yaksta said.

He went on to say he became distracted, having found love, and in wanting to focus on supporting his family, he had to seek other means of a stable income.

“When you find that person, the one, your direction of thinking changes; meeting the love of my life, all directions change, and in comparison to a nine-to-five, operating my own business in making and selling clothes, not only my designs, was one of the choices made. Doing music was the other,” he said.

That was five years ago. Now, as an up-and-coming reggae and dancehall artiste, whose sound has a feel of past with a bit of modern-day flair, Yaksta has been changing the narrative slowly and steadily with a consistent flow of music, but this year especially, the waves he has been creating have hit new heights.

In recent months, Yaksta has been sharing far and wide. He was featured on the four-track debut EP, Is It You, by South Florida-based DJ GQ, which premiered on the streaming-driven Billboard Reggae Albums Chart at number 10. The album also included features from seasoned Jamaican entertainers Craigy T, Busy Signal and Mr Vegas, who Yaksta also collaborated with on the veteran deejay remix of his 2019 release Te Amo.

“I am what people would describe as a late bloomer, which for some would not be an acceptable compliment. It refers to my doing music yet accomplishing a great deal in a short space of time; facing the reality that there are artistes who start out later than others and the reception may not be fulfilling, but it’s a start nonetheless,” the artiste said. “There is always going to be negative narratives based on human perceptions, but it is up to a person to transform them in a positive way.”

Yaksta’s latest release, titled Humans, is his way of making some changes.

“Through my travels, I took more time to observe human interaction, even how people treat me as an artist, not just recording artiste, and to highlight this in a track was important,” he said of the track which, though only released two weeks ago, is almost a year old.

“It was recorded in February; each time I attempted to record the song, something would happen, affecting the plans. It is still a baby, but so far the endorsements it is getting has been tremendous.”

The song may be one of eight on an EP the recording artiste is working to release next March titled Late Bloomer. Yaksta is represented by the label WussMusickk and recently partnered with Runabeat Music in the UK and YB Records in Canada.

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com