Sat | May 30, 2020

JahDon – reggae music’s next messenger

Published:Wednesday | February 19, 2020 | 12:15 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
JahDon, walks the walk and talks the talk of conscious reggae music.
JahDon, walks the walk and talks the talk of conscious reggae music.

JahDon’s refreshingly positive approach to creating message music makes persons want to not only listen to him but watch or, as he says in his catchphrase, ‘Look Ya Noww’ for the next step he is going to take in his career. At times, his voice references the broken yet euphonious tonation of Jah Cure and takes you as far back as the heyday of legendary roots-reggae singers like John Holt and Alton Ellis, whose stirring vibrato tones were not to go unnoticed. It is no coincidence that he wants to be a living legend.

“This is getting more and more real every day,” JahDon said of his ambitions, “because we create our own path and seeing the one I am ‘trodding’ makes me want to continue on to the destination of achieving everything I set out to do.”

His lyrical prowess was discovered in Canaan Heights, Clarendon, where he was born and raised as Oshane Mamby in a single-parent home (his mother having to play both the maternal and paternal roles following the death of his father when he was three years old). The artiste’s biography is an overcomer story – learning to make brooms to sell for income to send himself to school, performing with a community group known as Breddaz Fraternity in the streets before chasing a solo recording career.

He told The Gleaner: “The way I grow – rough and tough – it teach me how to hustle, to catch on to the business side of the music industry.”

And he would have to catch on quickly in 2013, the year of his big break and when he revealed the untruths of an opportunity which was to make one of his dreams – to be a signed artiste – a reality.

“It is the part of my journey that I hardly speak of. Thinking I was signed to a label, I travelled to Los Angeles to meet the person who should have been my manager, according to the document, only to unearth one big mix-up; call it a fraud,” he said.

“There were already three songs in my catalogue, songs which were doing well – Jah Army, I Got Love and Sleepless Night. I never see the ordeal as a negative because so much positive sprouted from it, that includes meeting my current manager, Francine Bacchus, and from yuh deh ah LA yuh going promote yourself, so I used the trip to seek out all the little radio stations.”

Smart-thinking industry entrepreneur

Multidimensional in the business of music as well, JahDon is, at the very least, a reggae singer and conscious songwriter. He is also a smart-thinking industry entrepreneur. He established Bacchus Entertainment and Look Ya Noww Entertainment, separate entities that are responsible for the management and promotion of JahDon and music merchandise such as promotional wear.

“The company is basically making sure my intellectual property is protected. It is especially important when an artiste a write them own song,” he explained.

In this oversaturated market, where it has been claimed Jamaica produces the most music per capita of any country in the world, JahDon says having a professional attitude and perspective has allowed him visibility.

Next to professionalism, JahDon notes that he has produced a plethora of work, including an EP called Congo Bongo, and reggae music lovers should keep an eye out for his upcoming 369 album which is set to release this Thursday, February 20. One of his biggest hits thus far is the EP’s title track Congo Bongo with its easy skanking style, heartfelt lyrics and visuals to match.

“I see myself as a humanitarian, a storyteller and a poet; my music reflects that which makes me. All songs created are my thoughts – I talk my truth. The album is a reflection and is like a light bulb turn on in my heavens. The title is a spiritual pattern and 369 symbolises trinity, each person is made up of three (mother, father and the person), six is the journey and nine is the ultimate representing a message to follow the soul’s mission and purpose in life.”

He said with February being Reggae Month, and his birth month, it makes sense for it to be the month of the album’s release, “because it is a time when individuals from overseas are on the island looking for the next artiste from the genre and, ‘look ya noww’, when I say once a person listens to me, there is no turning back. I am very invested in getting the brand and message out there.”

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com