Nature Ellis talks message over money
Releases third studio album, titled ‘Revolution Choice’
There’s music; then there’s everything else, said Nature Ellis, a reggae crooner known for delivering social commentary and conscious messages to raise awareness on global issues.
“As messengers, it can’t be about the money,” Ellis said in a recent interview with The Gleaner, on the heels of the release of his third studio album, titled Revolution Choice, which hit No. 1 on the USA iTunes Reggae Album Charts on Wednesday.
The recording artiste and owner of the independent label, Preserve Nature Entertainment, said that the recording industry has managed to blur the lines between marketing message music and making money. As a result, oftentimes, artistes lose focus.
He said, “People are thinking about monetary gains instead of saving lives … this is all across society. If you’re a messenger of the Almighty, because is the Almighty is the creator of all things, then he leads your life. So, if I get a message, then money shouldn’t be the first thing on my mind; the money will come.”
With a professional music recording career spanning a little over a decade, Nature Ellis has more than enough recorded projects to put out albums each year, but he has deliberately focused on releasing singles so that the messages in each can be engrained in the minds of listeners.
Last year, Ellis released the Awaken album under his label, but decided to team up with Ambassador of Choice Records this time around, “after being awakened to a revolution”. The production label is known for Choice Riddim, featuring Beenie Man, Zamunda, Mojo Herb, Terry Ganzie and Quada, among others, who all recorded thought-provoking tracks for the project, which was released last year.
“When one experiences an awakening, it leads to a revolution; this is seen in history. And the reason for an album again is that so many things [are] taking place which require a messenger to translate to the people through music,” he said. “It doesn’t matter that I invested [in] an album exactly a year ago. Wherever we see injustice or things needing to be addressed, if it takes an album to do that, I will put out another one tomorrow. This was not planned per se; it happened naturally.”
The Watch Dem chanter said that he does not want the messages to be misinterpreted in his lobbying for a revolution. The album comprises nine powerful tracks, all speaking about the freedom of choice to learn and teach, he said.
“It’s not about pointing fingers or to insult any one group. We can still be respectful while addressing the issues,” Ellis explained.
The first song to be released from the album, To Jah, featuring reggae stalwart Luciano, continues to climb on multiple charts, while Freedom, the sixth track on the album, which premiered over the Easter weekend with accompanying visuals on YouTube, is garnering views. To Jah peaked on the iTunes Reggae Top 100 at No. 3 and on Amazon at No. 5.
“Both tracks, To Jah and Freedom, [are] to teach people to look within themselves. We have a choice to create a revolution, but the whole thing is dependent on self-awareness and education. You can’t know anybody unless you know yourself first. Another thing is, seeking education from outward sources alone, which is what most people do, it leads to an imbalance. In the school curriculum, a lot of it is about making money and who will be your boss,” Ellis said.
He added, “In leaving a legacy, or teaching youths about creating a legacy, there should be greater emphasis on self. What happens to the money after people pass? So, while we are a part of life and have life, the people with the talent, ability and [a] platform to send messages about these things should have music that reflects conscious decisions. People who like the truth and consciousness will not only like my albums, they will love my music overall, and my music is there to teach one how to accept the truth also.”
Nackia ‘Chubb Star’ Garwood of Ambassador of Choice Records, who is responsible for recording Ellis, said the success of one’s music is not dollars and cents.
“The more positive the message, the attention will come and then the money. When artistes sing conscious message music, I see them reach a wider audience overseas,” Garwood told The Gleaner.
As an audio engineer with the label for approximately four years, he said most people approach with a mindset that it’s all about money.
“It takes money, but it’s not about money. There has to be a passion to make an impact on the people who will listen to your work. That’s what I saw working with Nature … in the first night when we start, we recorded five songs — each of which him catch di right lyrics for us to work quickly,” Garwood shared.
“I realise music must be treated as a business, and the studio I worked with is managed properly, because [he] is a businessman who is serious, but is equally passionate about the music and message being sent. That’s the balance between the music and the money,” he continued.