'Farming is the key to survival' - Kaballist
For Jamaica-born, United States-based reggae artiste Kaballist, farming and music go hand in hand. Sharing a passion for both, his life is all about the two.
"Farming is my passion. It is something that has deep family roots given that both my grandfathers were farmers. One farmed mango and the other was a coffee farmer, so I grew up with a deep sense of the importance of farming to our every day existence. We actually ate what we grew. Plus, farming provided a stable income for my family," he told Rural Xpress.
Kaballist admits to "living and breathing music everyday" as it comes naturally to him, but as he said, farming creates food for the stomach while music is food for the mind, "so I am connected naturally to both" is how he sums it up.
Running a 10-acre farm in Wigton, Manchester, he started his farming business in 1992. It is his sheer love for it that has kept him going. Back then, he farmed coffee, but his entire crop got wiped out by Hurricane Ivan, which put a halt to his farming. He was also discouraged by the lack of support from the local coffee board and so lost interest and looked elsewhere to earn a living.
"Today, I have transitioned to cultivating sweet and Irish potatoes. I also have interest in cultivating organic ginger, which is like Jamaican gold on the international market."
His plans are still up in the air regarding other farming ventures, but his stance on the industry is firm.
"Farming is the key for Jamaica to get out of its current financial situation," he said.
Top of the world
On the musical side of things, Kaballist, who goes back and forth between New York and Manchester, is on top of the world with a single he recorded years ago titled Catwalk, which was featured in an American television pilot She's Got Is'Shoes. The pilot was created by American award-winning film-maker, playwright, and novelist Nina Foxx.
"The attention the single received as a result of the TV pilot was tremendous. It caught the attention of executives at Famous Music Group/Universal Music Group in the US, who immediately offered me a major distribution deal for the song," he gushed.
He has since remixed the song and has plans to release a video later this year. As he continues to push his two passions - the artiste and farmer said the sky is the limit for both.
- Cecelia Campbell-Livingston