RJRGLEANER Honour Awards | For Entertainment: Chronixx - Reggae's new star hits right notes
Jamar ‘Chronixx’ McNaughton has been on a steady climb since he first hit local radio, but perhaps his climb began before that, as a youngster attending St Catherine High School in Spanish Town, St Catherine. Perhaps even before that, watching his father Chronicle take on the dancehall scene. After connecting with some figures in this reggae star’s past, it becomes clear that the path to success was paved early, and are rooted in the talents of his grandmother, affectionately known in the community as ‘Auntie Peggy’.
“I can sing. That’s who we get the singing from – our mom. She was a great singer,” said Joan McNaughton, Chronixx’s aunt. Auntie Peggy is the matriarchal music maker. Auntie Peggy is the mother of dancehall artiste Chronicle. Chronicle’s career created an environment which enveloped young Chronixx in music.
“I wanted him to become a music teacher, because he understands music not just technically, but from the heart,” Stacy McNaughton, Chronixx’s sister, told The Gleaner.
“We’re not from a rich family. I didn’t want a brother who is not OK in life,” she said.
“I wanted him to be something that would make sure we have some money. It was scary to think he wouldn’t get the right push. I wasn’t sure how soon he was going to excel. But it’s when he wrote Behind Curtain – and still he had other songs in rotation – I knew he wasn’t a one-song artiste. He found the right pipeline,” Stacy said.
Stacy believes her brother would have found success even if he had pursued other art forms. “If he had gone to do dancing, or drawing, he would be excellent. If he allowed himself, he would be a great designer,” she said.
Naturally skilled in textiles, Stacy depended on her little brother to help with her studies in design. “I did recycling, and with that he helped me to create a bathroom set. For my final year project, he designed the evening gown I made. He was born a gifted person, but he chose music,” she said.
“These days, we try to emulate his calm spirit. These days, I say, teach me how to respond to people like Jamar.”
FEW DEGREES OF SEPARATION
There are very few degrees of separation between Chronixx and the community members of Dela Vega City in Spanish Town, St Catherine. During a visit to Chronixx’s home town, The Gleaner discovered he is as much a son of the cozy neighbourhood as he claims in his songs.
“Chronixx is like an angel,” a resident by the name of Joan told The Gleaner.
Melissa Pickette, a former schoolmate of Chronixx, remembered him as a sixth former. “Him used to mek riddim before him start sing,” she explained. To believe Melissa is to believe that Chronixx honed his skills as a producer before laying down Start A Fyah, Here Comes Trouble, Warrior or Capture Land. “Chronixx is the same person weh we know from him young. Him nuh change. Nuttin at all ‘bout him nuh change,” Pickette continued.
Another childhood friend, Lucretia Stephanie Wiggan, also known as ‘Kim’, excitedly divulged her past with the international star. They attended church together at the Lighthouse Assembly in the community. “Ah my artiste dat,” Kim said. She echoed Pickette’s sentiment about the sensational singer, that the Chronixx we see now is the same Chronixx she had come to know while growing up. “Football, jovial, outspoken – mouth-burst! Yuh know fi him style,” she said. “Ah jus suh Dela pickney dem stay; but other from that, mannersable, respectable,” she said.
Riding high on the success of his second album Chronology, Chronixx continues to tour extensively. The album afforded the young artiste his first Grammy nomination in the category Best Reggae Album.
Before his ‘career-defining’ Grammy nomination, Billboard magazine profiled the young reggae artiste as one who has redefined reggae music metrics. In 2017, Chronixx made his second appearance on ‘The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon’; he became the face of Adidas Spring Collection, a 1970s Jamaica-inspired sneakers/ clothing line; and preceded the release of his highly anticipated sophomore album, Chronology, with a 44-date US promotional tour.
The day after the album dropped, Chronixx amassed a crowd 8,000-strong for a free concert. He later took that energy home, staging two highly anticipated and well-supported concerts as part of the Chronology Caribbean Tour in Kingston and Montego Bay.