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French singer plants music career in Jamaica

Published:Thursday | October 13, 2016 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small

World traveller and budding songstress Delphine has made the decision to root her reggae music career in the birthplace of the genre. She was born in Burgundy, France, and at age 10 decided that her pursuits would be in the arts. After gaining an education in lyrical and classical training, and traversing borders to perform in various bands, Delphine has settled on Jamaica being the primary production spot for her music.

"Reggae music at this moment speaks to me," she told The Gleaner, in sometimes broken and heavily accented English. "Reggae music talks to me. I don't know if it's right what I say now," she laughed.

"I love music since I'm a little girl," Delphine said. "I respect the music and all the legacy for the people who make the music before me. And I want to make it live (with more) respect."

It was moments after landing and catching a glimpse of the Blue Mountains that the aspiring songstress kicked herself for not booking a longer stay.

"I see the mountain, the land, and so I was so sad that I just didn't see more. I can't go more closer to the people and go in the mountain or so."

Delphine completed lyrical and classical singing at a conservatory before moving to Paris to follow several courses in songwriting, improvisation and gospel. In tandem with her formal training, Delphine extended her musical education by joining various bands throughout France and Germany.

Soul, jazz, blues, pop-rock and funk are just some of the genres the French singer has attempted. However, her first single, inspired by a trip to an island off the coast of Africa, motivated the production and release of a reggae song called Music.

"When I was in Madagascar, I was the guest of the chief of the village, a small village," the singer told The Gleaner. "When I land, there is no car, nothing. Sometimes they have nothing to eat, not much to eat," she said. But, as well as she could describe, Delphine told The Gleaner that after a month of staying in this village, they put on a feast, complete with indigenous music. While reminiscing, she held her hand to her chest and bobbed to an imaginary 2-4 beat.

"There was a vibration, and everyone (was feeling) the same one," she said.

Music was released in April, its writing and composition inspired by her month-long experience in Madagascar and its climactic feast. With a sound that is undeniably reggae, the French singer decided on the Tuff Gong record label as the song's distributor.

"I will like to work with the people who came from here, because reggae music - it's important to work with the people who really know the music."

She asked Tuff Gong if they could make the connection between her and a willing Jamaican reggae producer. Veteran producer and master saxophonist Dean Fraser answered the call.

Delphine intends to take advantage of her trip to Jamaica, as she plans to do multiple recordings and film a video clip for the upcoming release of her second song, Pon De Road.

"We have a lot of work in our record station," she said with a grin.

"If you want to really know the people, you have to share real moments. Now, it's just a job, and I don't go closer to the people to see how they live, and they welcome me at their home - to see how they really live - that makes me sad, because now it's just work. I have to go closer to the people to really know what's the culture of the people, everywhere in the world, because every culture is very different and you have so much to learn from other people. That's why I'm gonna come back!" she laughed. "I already told my manager that I need to come back for six months."