5 Questions with Govana
Returning to the Reggae Sumfest stage for a second year in a row is 4th Genna officiate, Govana. The dancehall artiste has been rising high since Sumfest 2018, when he took on the big stage for the first time – solo. Well prepared from his time shadowing 4th Genna figurehead Aidonia, Govana is once again up to the challenge with more hits under his belt, assuring a longer set list.
Too long to be an EP, and not quite focused enough for him to call it an album, Govana is gearing up for the release of his debut project – a musical anthology. To find out more about Govana’s past and future Sumfest appearances and more details on the upcoming ‘anthology’, here are 5 Questions with ...
1. What did it feel like hitting the Reggae Sumfest stage solo for the first time?
It was great. 4:15 in the morning, performing after Sizzla Kalonji, right before Aidonia. Both of them are my main mentors in dancehall. I look up to them so much. Really and truly, it was like a graduation ceremony for me. And the reception was nice, because – maybe a week after the show, them start link me again to book me for next year. I really felt good, and proud of myself.
2. How long did it take for your repertoire to reach the point where you could claim your space on the biggest reggae show on earth?
How long it took me to reach there? I would say nine years. I started doing music in high school; and right out of high school, it was still music as ‘Deablo’. I changed my name in 2015 to Govana.
3. Why was rebranding necessary?
We started thinking about a wider range of fans. Me as Deablo was 90 per cent ‘badman’ songs – hardcore. I guess we grow, mature and realise that we nuh need fi do one million ah dem ting yah no more. We get the picture. We know Spanish Town, yeah, we’re from the streets. But what else can we bring to the table? How versatile are we? Can we sing a song to change somebody’s life? Can you sing a song to get the girls screaming? We look, and know we can do it, but with a name like Deablo, would people really believe it?
Even though we change the spelling the meaning still stands; the connotation is still there. We changed it and think more about branding, what’s marketable, because music is a business, and business on a whole is all about marketing and presentation. We look at and knew the first step was to change the name, make it more palatable for everybody, so a household can listen.
4. Is there anything you learned from the first time at the festival, that you’re going to bring on stage tonight?
A stage is a stage to me. If it’s one person out there, I’m going to perform like it’s one million – and it’s almost like I’m looking in everybody’s eyes at the same time. It’s definitely a bigger stage, and performing with a band is different from tracks. But I did it,for, like, three years, just being out there with Aidonia. So I already have a feel of the festival and the vibe.
Performing by myself, it’s harder when it comes on to breath control, timing, and all dem ting deh. Especially this year, because we have more songs than we performed last year. Time is longer, so we have the breath control and stamina that we’ve been working on, leading up to the festival. It’s sure to be a spectacle.
5. ‘Rapture’ (with Koffee) has been doing really well in the United Kingdom. What are your crossover and collaboration plans?
Mi nuh really set mi mind like, ‘yeah mi do this crossover ting!’ To say we cross over is not a mindset I really like. I really just do music and push it to the best of my ability. Where it reach, it reach. We’re definitely dabbling in certain markets and genres. I have a collaboration with Bad Gyal ( Open The Door, featuring DJ Papis, 2018), a big artiste in Spain. That has been doing well. At the same time, we have a collab with Tarrus Riley, called Unanswered, that’s doing well. We staying on the plane, which goes to show it’s not stopping at the airport. We just giving thanks and doing more music for the fans.
And I’m working on my project, Humans and Monsters Are Not The Same.
When will the project be released? Is it an EP or an album?
We don’t really wanna call it an album because when we do that, it’s gonna be something out of this world and maybe one set producer. This is a collective effort with producers I’ve been working with over the years. We’re still fine-tuning a few things, but I can say it’s September or October. Five tracks are already out: Champ, Unanswered, The Light, featuring Dre Island, Loyalty and Cups Up.