Princeton Brown brings new flavour to reggae
The stock of reggae practitioners keeps improving.
In Princeton Brown, who shares his time between Runaway Bay in St Ann and Minneapolis, USA, the genre possibly has the most accomplished young, yet-to-be-discovered practitioner of the art form.
He might tell you, though, that his position is world music, derived from a mixture of reggae, pop and R&B.
Not only does Brown play the piano, the drums, the bass, the guitar and the violin, he also produces his own music and mixes some of the tracks himself.
His father, Dermoth 'Reverend' Brown, would tell you that, as a young lad, Princeton demanded one of every instrument that makes music.
At seven years old, his mastery of the piano impressed reggae icon Freddie McGregor to the point where he predicted, "Man, you gonna be a bad musician one day!"
Listening to his music, one is inclined to believe that day would have arrived some time ago and all that's left is for the world to discover this impressive craftsman.
Throw in the small matter of a college degree and teaching physics at a high school in the USA and a much clearer picture emerges as to who this young man is.
Describing himself as 'half-Jamaican', his mother being American, and with musical influences that spans musicians from both countries - Bob Marley, Luciano, Chronixx, Tarrus Riley, John Legend, John Mayer and Coldplay numbered among them - Brown made his recording debut in 2013 when he co-wrote (with his sister Symone) and produced the 10-track album, Simple Livin'.
"Simple Livin' was my first try at music, really. Songs on it are my first-ever written and recorded songs," Brown explained to The Gleaner.
"I wanted to start my musical career with an album first and we just love the message and how powerful the song Simple Livin' was, and the meaning behind it. We just wanted to name the whole album Simple Livin' because I stand by that message."
The album provided two singles in Simple Livin' and Prescription, with accompanying videos shot in Jamaica.
But whatever impressions those songs would have made over the three years since would have been outperformed by Brown's latest track, Jamaica, a single that extols the natural beauty of the island.
With a video shot at multiple locations across Jamaica, the song is currently enjoying rotating on local radio stations and giving Brown the encouragement he needs to work towards a successful musical career.
"The reaction (to Jamaica) couldn't be better, man, honestly. I'm proud of it and humbled by the reaction and the love of everybody. It's the first time anybody is really hearing me in Jamaica and we wanted to make sure that this song hits Jamaica first because the song is about Jamaica and is directed towards everybody in Jamaica. It's being played on the radio, we have the video on Facebook and everything and people are just (giving) tons of comments, tons of 'likes', and everybody's saying how the song makes them want to book their ticket right away."
He continued, "Things like that I never even thought about at the beginning when I was making the song, but as I see the song do its thing and how people react to it, it's amazing."
The song was written while he was relaxing at his home in Runaway Bay.
Brown wrote, produced and mixed the song, with his sister Symone contributing her artistry on the violin and background vocals. It was mastered by California-based Alex Solano and the video directed by SNO.