Mon | Nov 19, 2018

'The Heart of Jamaica' earns int'l acclaim

Published:Friday | November 9, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer
Debbie Bissoon chilling with entertainers Jessie Royal (left) and Wayne Marshall.

During the album launch of Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum's The Heart of Jamaica on Tuesday night, creative director Mikey Bennett revealed that the project has already achieved some positively inspiring reactions from the international community. Bennett was seated on a panel featuring various contributors to the work, such as Jamila Falak, Sevana, Natel, Tamo-J, Jodi-Ann Pantry, and a late entrant, Jesse Royal.

Despite his delayed arrival, Bennett put the spotlight on Jesse's work on the album's second track, We Matter.

"One of my really good friends is the prime minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley. We have a musical connection from long time. She was giving a speech at the United Nations, and she gave us the timeline. I sent her Jesse's song called We Matter. She said when she got the song, she realised she couldn't do the speech that she had intended to do," he said.

Jesse considers that gesture a brilliant endorsement from a very powerful, courageous individual. "Just [her] listening to the song is a compliment," the reggae singer said.

Bennett continued: "Big him up and all of the co-writers on We Matter - a total, real endorsement at an international level ... . In other words, the prime minister of Barbados is going to give her main speech at the United Nations on a reggae song from out of Jamaica - from the Appleton project - mek her change up her whole speech. Goosebumps ting dat. That is what I work for."

Wayne Marshall also contributed to the album on a song called My Father. As the album's lead single, the singer very recently performed it live for the first time.

"It was emotional. I literally had to stop in the first verse - and we go again from the top. It's real to me. Nuff people a seh, 'Yo, Marshall, you find it after Glory To God.'"