5 Questions with Beres Hammond
There will be no need for masks, social distancing nor quarantine as legendary reggae singer, Hugh Beresford Hammond, pauses to celebrate his 65th birthday today in inimitable style. Beres intends to get up close and personal as he shares with fans a meaningful and infectious musical message that refuses to be put on lockdown.
Call to Duty, a song that could only come to life when legends meet – in this case Beres and super producer and musician Clive Hunt, as well as A-list musicians – dropped today on the VP Records label, and while it is not a virus, it may just go viral. This single sees the beloved lovers rock crooner in a militant mode, minus the angst, as his voice persuasively beckons all to heed the call to fight.
Beres was joined in this live recording session by keyboardist Robbie Lyn; the all-star horn section of Dean Fraser, Oshane Love and Okiel McIntyre; Harmony House players Michael Fletcher, Errol Graham and vocalists Dorett Wisdom and Sherida Sharpe. The lyric video which is produced by Lauren Watkis will premiere today from the VP Records YouTube page.
Although very busy in studio, Beres – one of a handful of reggae artistes to be bestowed with the Order of Jamaica in recognition of his “exceptional and dedicated contribution to the Jamaican music industry” – took time out for a comfortable, pre-birthday chat, with 5 Questions with.
If you had one wish on your birthday, what would that be?
I have never thought of that. Actually, I am always so happy to celebrate one more birthday that I just enjoy the day. The truth is that most of my wishes, I have already seen them manifest. I can knock on board. I don’t have much but I have enough and I am satisfied.
You are fiercely guarded by a rather formidable woman, your manager, Mervys Walsh. How has that journey been?
(Laughs) Some things were just meant to be. I don’t even question it. Some people enter your life for a reason and she has undoubtedly done a great job. It has reached the point where I don’t even have to utter a word and she reads my mind … in detail. As a matter of fact, my entire team, my musicians, engineer, my management, they are all so beautiful. One nice, happy family.
Tell us about Call to Duty.
It comes out today on the VP Records label. It’s my birthday gift to everybody. All of us have a duty, and this song calls us to perform that duty that makes us better human beings and the world a better place.
Best and worst things about 2020?
The pandemic put a limit on my fun. When I am in the studio making the necessary noise, I have to be watching the time because of the curfew time. I have to talk to the prime minister to get a card that allows us as artistes and musicians to be creative and not watch time (laughs). And, of course, another bad thing is that no tours mean mi nah get nuh money.
On the good side, I have been touring for 20-something years non-stop. This is the first year that I am not on tour and it has given me the time to get some much-needed rest and to reflect on some important things.
Did you ever sing in church?
Yes! My father was Seventh-day Adventist and my mother a Baptist, so I was always singing in churches. I hated it then, but I appreciate it so much now.