Performs on MAHIMA Hope4Hope Concert Expo next Sunday
Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer
Richie Spice's Soothing Sounds album, due out digitally and physically on October 23, will present him in acoustic style - a stripped-down format currently attracting some interest (Toots and the Maytals recently did Unplugged at Strawberry Hill and Tarrus Riley's Mecoustic drops Tuesday).
As Spice shares production duties with guitarist Mitchum Khan, Soothing Sounds is also a statement of his independence.
"Mi woulda really love fi have a part in my own career wherein mi do more fi myself. Produce what mi feel. It nuh really mean that mi nah record for nobody else, wi nuh selfish with the music," Spice said.
However, he reaffirmed, "mi would really love to have more to do with my music". Previously, Richie Spice was associated with Fifth Element Records and had releases through VP Records.
Free, already released with an accompanying video, Crying (for which a video was recently shot by Scorpio 21), More Love (the only collaboration on the set, with brothers Spanner Banner and Snatcha Lion), My Heart and Heng on in Deh are some of the tracks on Soothing Sounds. The songs which were previously released with full musical accompaniment have been rearranged for the acoustic treatment.
Before the album is released, the acoustic sound will get an airing at home and abroad. In Jamaica, Richie Spice performs at the MAHIMA Hope4Hope Concert Expo at Hope Gardens next Sunday. Benefiting the Hope Institute, the event is in memory of Monique 'Mahima' Geourzoung, who died after having breast cancer.
Overseas, he performs at The Mint in Los Angeles on October 5, the first of five dates on a US run which ends on October 13 in Seattle. These are the public concerts; Spice points out that there will be some private gigs as "in California it is time for the harvest parties. It is a tour mi do every year. We a go use it this year specially for the album".
However, he will not be delivering an all-acoustic set as "the original fans you have to break them into it. The album no out yet".
Spice is confident that Soothing Sounds will get a good response in Jamaica, this buoyed by the good reception to Free.
"Is a difference and a difference always make a difference. So I think this album will make a difference."
My Heart was recorded for the recently deceased IRIE FM DJ Michael 'Mighty Mike' Jones. It was to have been part of a full-length project. However, Spice said now "we play it acoustic and put it on Soothing Sounds".
The MAHIMA Hope4Hope Concert Expo is a rare large-stage outing for Spice, who points out "is a while I don't perform on a good stage show in Jamaica". While there are only a few large-scale concerts on the annual calendar now, Spice also pointed to the conditions under which he would be required to perform in some cases. There is no choice in what time he would go on, for example, so "either you take it or leave it. Mi leave it, because I don't see where it going to benefit me".
Capleton's charity show A St Mary Mi Come From was a rare exception.
Last year's VP Records distributed release Book of Job was a strong set for Spice. Earlier this month The STAR reported that it was rated by iTunes and the New York Times as reggae's biggest selling digital release for 2011.
Soothing Sounds will be distributed through Tads, but it seems that Spice will be hitting the road to get it to the ears he wants to open to the acoustic treatment.