Curtis Campbell, Gleaner Writer
Veteran reggae artiste Michael Dawkins, formerly Mickey D, is aiming to make a comeback on the local music scene.
The artiste, who manages his own career under independent record label Big Scope Records, says he now possesses the tools to take reggae to new heights, globally.
"Having taken a break to pursue other personal goals, I contemplated a good strategy to relaunch myself in a fragmented marketplace, where it's incredibly difficult to reach mass audience. I want to start first by creating a buzz in Jamaica, because this is the home of reggae. When I generate that energy, here it will transcend across other regions," said Dawkins.
The overseas-based artiste has been in Jamaica for the past two months promoting his new single He Ain't Heavy.
He believes he has a potential hit on his hands, because the single has been receiving steady rotations on Irie FM, Hitz 92 FM, FAME FM, Hot 102 FM, ZIP 103 FM, Vybz FM, Roots FM and Linkz FM radio stations.
The song has also attracted the attention of the international market, receiving more than 160,000 views on YouTube.com as a result.
"This song is spreading like a wildfire, especially in the Caribbean; United Kingdom; Italy; Sydney, Australia; Kampala, Uganda; Accra, Ghana; and Nairobi, Kenya," he continued.
"I never doubted my music or how it will be perceived, but with the new digital tools and all that it takes to get noticed these days, I had concerns. However, I am making progress online as well," he said.
While in Jamaica, the veteran will also seize the opportunity to record with local producers. He is already featured on the Angel Wings rhythm, which features reggae artistes like Gyptian, Pressure, Junior Kelly, Natural Blacks, Ginja, Shaka Pow and Thugsy Malone.
Dawkins' effort on the compilation is an original single called Hope.
He Ain't Heavy, on the other hand, is a cover version originally written by Bobby Scott and Bob Russell and performed by Kelly Gordon in 1969.
So influential was the song that it was re-recorded by vintage group The Hollies, years after.
The song encourages people to show each other brotherly love, without constantly bickering about personal problems. Dawkins says he was particularly inspired by the song, because he wants to inspire others through his messages.
"I am inspired to do good, solid music. People can relate to positive messages, and I want to contribute to world peace as well as give back to society and perhaps change people's lives" he said.
Dawkins' most successful song to date is Hold Up Ya Hand, which peaked on the Bulgaria top-40 chart alongside other artistes like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Mick Jagger and Mary J. Blige.
He Ain't Heavy recently charted in Holland. The song also won a play-off competition hosted by popular local radio station Roots FM.