Hasani Walters, Gleaner Writer
From the hustle and bustle city of New York, comes an artiste who sees no boundary or limit to the success he can achieve from doing what he loves the most, music, reggae music in particular.
Behn Goldis, who goes by the stage name, Benny Bwoy, started out singing rap music.
But, it was only a matter of time before the rhythmic melody of reggae music found its way to his ears. He began listening to artistes such as Papa San and Lieutenant Stitchie, who he admired at the time because of the fun, easy way in which they presented reggae music.
But what made him more intrigued and, interested in reggae were the varying rhythms, the accent of the artistes and after doing a bit of research, the culture of the music.
He decided he would start experimenting with reggae and began writing songs in 1980.
Armed with a number of songs, he started visiting Firehouse studio in New York, in an effort to record his writings.
At the time, the producers at the studio used to record many artistes doing rap music but Benny Bwoy went there and did reggae.
The reaction of the producers he said, did not come as a surprise to him.
"Most people were a bit shocked when they heard me, but they respected it, they respected the music," he said.
Ever since, he has been in New York singing.
His first song was an anti-Saddam Hussein song, Mash Up Saddam. He then went on to do others such as God Me Love, Rise Up, and his latest collaboration with Ras Myrhdak, BlackBerry King.
Going for the moon
When asked if he was daunted by his almost non-existence on the Jamaican music scene and being in New York doing reggae, he replied, "I don't think being in New York will affect me or my music in any way. Yes, I'm far away from the roots in Jamaica, but reggae is so global. With the Internet and all the technology right now, it doesn't even matter where in the world you are or are from, you can still do reggae regardless."
According to Benny Bwoy, what is important is the message in your music, rather than its location.
"Being in New York makes me even more determined because it may be a bit harder at times, but I'm going for the moon. If they find life on mars I wanna be the first reggae artiste to perform there," he joked.
Goldis has worked with producers such as Junior Dread of Island Born Music in New York and Bazael from Israel.
He has been a staple performer at the Brooklyn Music Festival for the last three years. Spring Break and the Curry Festival are among some of his performances on Jamaican soil. He has also carried his music all over Europe, having been on tours with established reggae artistes.
His long-term aim, he said, is to win a Grammy.
"In the next three to five years, I'd love to be the first reggae artiste to actually go up on the stage and collect the Grammy, not just some backstage handing-over thing. I want it to be up there with hip hop, RnB and country music."
Despite the differences between Benny Bwoy and the many artistes in the reggae industry, he is glad that whenever he performs his music is always loved and he can leave the stage feeling satisfied.
"It makes me very happy and proud to know that I can go to a show and perform for 40,000 people and they accept me for who I am. That says a lot," said Goldis.
His journey thus far has proven to be challenging, but the hunger to get his music to the four corners of the earth is what drives him to continue.
In order to fulfil this objective he said, he will stop at nothing.