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Kreesha aims to conquer Jamaica, then the wider world

Published:Sunday | November 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Kreesha Turner

Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer

A native of Canada but with Jamaican roots, Kreesha Turner took her first musical steps at an early age. She began as a dancer and grew up with an inclination toward jazz: Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and more modern artists like Molly Johnson.

Turner is in Jamaica working with Courtney John and The Wizard on projects for her new album.

Before that and many years ago, she had to get past her performance at church.

That performance, Turner explained, left an impression on her audience but more importantly, was the moment she fell in love with music.

This is Turner's second album, and it should be released in March next year. Passion, her first album, was released in 2008 and her hit song Don't Call me Baby was the most played song in Canada.

According to a release to The Gleaner "Passion, had the hallmarks of irrefutability: revered primary producer Jon Levine, Grammy Award-winning songwriters Harold Lilly (Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson, Brandy) and Aaron Pearce (Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé), as well as statue-stockpiling producer Devo Springsteen (Kanye West, John Legend, Aretha Franklin)."

According to Turner, her first effort was "a very eclectic album that has multiple ideas and influences, and it allows the listener a bit more variety".

"I really want people to take in every song," she said.

"I don't feel like any one song in particular reflects me completely as an artiste. I feel like you will understand me, where I'm coming from, the influences I have musically, the experiences I have personally, and how I convey myself and my feelings by taking in the entire thing. There's serious stuff, but there's fun stuff too. I just want people to come open-minded, be willing to really listen, and try to find those different influences," she added.

Turner's music can be described as pop but she wants people to note all the other influences, from reggae to jazz.

"When I decided to make singing my life, I knew I wanted to do pop music because I wanted to reach as many people as I could.

"I wanted to reach people but not simply be an overnight sensation. If you want to do this because you love it and have a lasting career, you have to be genuine and know that there is soul and effort put into every song, real emotions behind the words you sing and speak. My influences stem from older music which people believe had more substance in the lyrical content."

The music industry in Canada is different from what Turner finds to be the case in Jamaica.

In Canada music is seen as just merely a hobby, as opposed to Jamaica where people see it as an actual way of life.

"In a nutshell, the perspectives of people here in Jamaica just differ from those in Canada," she said.

Now that Turner is here, she intends to conquer Jamaica.

"In Canada, I have reached the top of where I can reach. I've had a large amount of success. For example back in 2008, one of my largest hits was number one for eight weeks. I had a number of endorsements as well as gracing the covers and pages of our major fashion magazines, so I feel like I have conquered Canada. My main goal has always been to reach out to the rest of the world and so Jamaica is the next step," she said.

When Turner was a teenager, her mother - a native Jamaican - suggested that she spend time in the island nation to broaden her horizons.

"Her whole goal of sending me was for me to see who she is, why she thinks as she thinks, why she does what she does," Turner explained.

"I was so naïve when I arrived, but I became very analytical, very observant of people," she added.

Turner's mother is a successful owner of her own industrial engraving company and she has overcome all odds because of her work ethic, something the young artiste has never taken for granted.

"I realised that there's so much I love about Jamaica that I wish I could impose on North American culture. So as far as coming there, I wouldn't change that in a million years. Everything my mother intended, happened: for me to gain new perspective and understand a reality different from the one I grew up with. Our relationship couldn't be any stronger now."

Being a dancer, singer, actress and songwriter is no accident. Turner explained that she felt the need to master all the aspects of her art because she thinks it will make her a more rounded musician.

"I mostly write my own songs, but sometimes I'm given a song by a writer and I might not have experienced the emotion before but I need to be able to bring it across to my audience, while still holding a good note and performing. So that is where all the aspects of the trade tie in," she said

While Turner speaks of her mother as being a major influence, she still needed others to help her along the way. One of those persons is Chris Smith.

"He just exposed me to so many opportunities and it has just been great," said Turner.

With that help, Turner plans to conquer the world.