Davina Henry, Staff Reporter
Based overseas, Jamaica-born reggae artiste Mighty Mystic is already considered one of the leaders in the United States of America's (USA) East Coast reggae movement. Aiming to inscribe his name among the reggae greats, the brother of former prime minister and now leader of the opposition, Andrew Holness, is already well on his way.
Mighty Mystic, whose given name is Kevin Holness, told The Sunday Gleaner that although he and Andrew have chosen different career paths, his brother has always encouraged him.
"Andrew has been very supportive of my career. He always tries to point me in the right direction. He's always there encouraging me, giving me a pat on the back and telling me to continue pursuing my dreams," he said.
After releasing singles for nearly four years, in 2010 Mighty Mystic released his debut album, Wake up the World. The album, with 17 original tracks, peaked at number four on the iTunes Reggae Charts. He is now on the verge of releasing his sophomore album, Concrete World.
Mighty Mystic says his journey has been tough, but rewarding. Now residing in Boston, he said everyone can relate to his brand of hard roots reggae music.
"My name is a reflection of my music. They used to call my father 'Mystic' when he was younger, and then later on when I migrated I moved to a place called 'Mystics', so I always felt that it was unique. So I added Mighty to it because that is what my music is - it is hard reggae," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
Citing his musical influences as Dennis Brown, Peter Tosh and Gregory Isaacs, Mighty Mystic's love affair with reggae started after hearing Bob Marley and the Wailers' Buffalo Soldier.
"Reggae is the people's music. In Boston, there are different genres of music, such as hip hop, rap, rock and roll, and so on. Aerosmith has also been a big influence for me, so I put a lil' rock in my music," he added. Mighty Mystic's brand of hard roots reggae, mixed with elements of rock and hip hop has proven to be a magnet for young music lovers.
His music has taken him to many stages across North America and Europe, performing for a dedicated fan base. Through extensive touring, Mighty Mystic has shared the stage with some of reggae's standouts, including Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Buju Banton, Barrington Levy and Shaggy, among others.
REGGAE NOT DEAD
Mighty Mystic says reggae music is far from dead. He sees himself in the same vein as artistes like Chronixx, Iba Mahr and Kabaka Pyramid, who he says have been helping to lead the charge of a fresh-sounding reggae with an international flavour.
"There have definitely been changes in the industry. Things were more physical back then, but now the energy has changed. Many persons don't buy music in stores again, so the Internet allows me to reach more fans worldwide. Reggae is on a revival. People wanna see roots reggae music. I love how the revival movement of reggae is doing in Jamaica. Reggae is not dead; far from it," he emphasised.
He has his sights set on working with artistes he admires. "I definitely want to collab with Tarrus Riley and Morgan Heritage; those are two of my faves. I'm really excited about my new album and I'm excited for the next phase of my career," he added.
Mighty Mystic is slated for upcoming tours in the US, Europe, Canada and a number of Caribbean countries.