Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
He was on a trip to promote his reggae album, Focused, but Portuguese artiste Richie Campbell is also on a mission to complete a documentary about reggae he hopes will breathe new life into the genre in Europe.
Campbell spent a week in Jamaica recently and during that time he filmed parts of a documentary he said would be directed to his audience in Portugal. Through this documentary, Campbell says he intends to highlight Jamaica and reggae music.
"I think it is my obligation to do it. I think it is good to get reggae back in the spotlight. Maybe if I show the people what reggae is, if I try to captivate them to reggae, maybe reggae will grow again. I am trying to help reggae get a second chance. If done properly, this time I believe that reggae will become a mainstream style of music in Europe and stay up there," he told The Sunday Gleaner, noting that he hopes the documentary, which is sponsored by Mini Cooper, will drive more people to listen to the genre.
"This is a promotional tool for me, but the main focus is to show what the reggae music scene is like and show these new talents. Hopefully, this can help to clean up reggae's image."
Reggae fan since childhood
As someone who has been listening to reggae since childhood, Campbell says his album will have lots of reggae, mixed with modern and older forms of Jamaican music. He says there are also collaborations with Turbulence, Anthony B and Ikaya. Producers who worked on the album include Don Corleon, Specialist and Big Finga, a German producer.
Campbell was especially pleased with his collaboration with Ikaya, Love Is An Addiction, that was done during his first visit to Jamaica last year.
"I was looking around to see what I could add to my album. I didn't really know her before I came here and I was surprised because she has an unusually good voice, not that Jamaicans singers don't really have a good voice, but it is more about lyrics and Ikaya has a soul voice that you rarely hear around here," he said.
The song with Turbulence is called Angel By My Side, while the song with Anthony B is called It Takes A Revolution.
Though it took about two years on and off to do the album, Campbell said the only difficulty was "having to fly back and forth to Berlin" where most of the album was being recorded.
He noted that in Portugal "the album already went to the top of the charts, number one." But in Jamaica, he is uncertain about the outcome. Campbell said the trip to Jamaica was really a promotional one, as he believes it is important for him to be known in the island.
"That's why I came here, 'cause if you are doing reggae it is important to come to the source and really get the feel of what people in the country of origin think about it, as well as getting some exposure out there 'cause I really want to expand to more territories, not just Portugal and Europe.
"Apart from that (Europe), right now we starting. That's why we came here. The whole world that listens to reggae music is looking to Jamaica. So instead of working one territory at a time, you come to the root of it and work as hard as you can."
Having performed at the Bob Marley Concert in Emancipation Park, New Kingston, with Ikaya a week ago, Campbell said he is optimistic about how well he will be received in Jamaica.
While in Jamaica, he also shot the music video for another song, the second music video that he has shot in Jamaica. The first was That's How We Roll.
In coming months, Campbell said he will be busy, as he has already confirmed more than 20 shows for a Portuguese tour. He said he will also be performing in Sweden and Spain. And in the more distant future, he also plans to do a project in which he covers songs from reggae acts like Alton Ellis and Dennis Brown.