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All fruits ripe for Tessellated - Artiste teams with Apple; set for Sumfest debut

Published:Friday | July 5, 2019 | 12:28 AMKimberley Small/Staff Reporter

With the advent of streams and light-speed downloads, music ages much more quickly than it used to. So 2017 stunner Pine & Ginger is no longer a new tune. Yet, Tessellated continues to reap fruits, adding apples to his basket. Last week, the young Jamaican musician’s ­single I Learned Some Jazz Today hit the ­airwaves as the soundtrack to Apple AirPods commercial. Following this co-sign with the worldwide brand, Tessellated’s winning year continues with his debut at Reggae Sumfest.

Tessellated’s vocal delivery is ­distinctly Jamaican owing to the ­unmistakable native accent, but all of the other ­elements of this new song, ­including Tessellated’s melodic flows and ­inflections in verse, resemble jazz and hiphop. “It’s a completely different type of sound. It has the same roots of the fusion when you’re blending the styles. But I hope that this sound will be able to introduce Jamaicans, especially, to something ­different. Pine & Ginger was already different but still rooted heavily in dancehall, where this is more rooted in jazz and hip hop,” Tessellated told The Gleaner.

He continued: “The original version of the song is a few years old. That song was done from I was in university in Florida. I actually did that song quickly, too. It was done in a night. I just had it sitting down as part of my catalogue. These people had found the song from a long time ago, but it wasn’t until now we found a place to put it.”

An advertising agency reached out to Tessellated via a vague email. “They just told me they had a possible opportunity for the song. They didn’t specify exactly what it was. The agency was based in LA, so we met up and did the new version of the song,” he shared. The song was re-recorded, then some new instrumentation and a new verse added. “During that time, the video was also being filmed. Everything came together within a month.”

Tessellated said that since the commercial release of the song on June 27, there has been a spike in his streaming numbers. “They are up in the tens of thousands in just a couple days. When you look at the graphs, analytics – it’s ridiculous. Everything just shot way up, and it’s still going. I’m very grateful for that. And it’s crazy how much reach Apple has, as a company, to be able to put out something and make it work. I would hope that this song being pushed out by Apple on the world market, that Jamaicans can look and say, ‘This is something, and one of our people doing it’, then learn to love it, too.”

Hopefully, the local audience will be in tune by the time Tessellated’s Reggae Sumfest debut rolls around. “I’m very excited about that. I really think it’s going to be a great experience overall. It’s going to be interesting, too, because I feel like I’m one of the outliers on Sumfest – in the sense that my music is different from a traditional reggae or dancehall artiste. But I’m hoping – I generally believe – that on the big stage, when it’s presented like that to the people, they are just going to react to the quality of music, no matter how it’s different,” he shared.

The new Apple AirPods version of I Learned Some Jazz Today is officially out and available for streaming or download on major digital platforms. And there’s new music on the way. “I have a few singles and videos in the pipeline ready to go. I put a couple of them on hold to work on this project. But in the next couple months, you’re gonna hear some new music coming out,” he said.