Sun | May 28, 2023

Island Kings to create more magic with Christmas covers, collaborations

Published:Tuesday | December 7, 2021 | 12:08 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
Island Kings
Island Kings
From left: Adiel ‘King Diel’ Thomas, Carl ‘Lee King’ Scharschmidt and Justin ‘Just King’ Walker of Island Kings.
From left: Adiel ‘King Diel’ Thomas, Carl ‘Lee King’ Scharschmidt and Justin ‘Just King’ Walker of Island Kings.

Drumming to the beat of the holiday season, Island Kings is eager to spread some cheer the best way they know how. The all-male trio’s drive first drew attention with the release of a cover of Yaksta’s hit single Ambition recorded in a car. Now they are hitting the road with specially invited guests to create more musical magic this Christmas.

“We are appreciative of each other,” said Adiel Thomas, more popularly known as ‘King Diel’, “and for this season, we would want persons to be cognisant of those around them and to be appreciative of the people in their lives.”

He added, “No matter what you’re celebrating, where you’re celebrating, or whom you’re celebrating with – could be your husband, boyfriend, wife, girlfriend, mother, father, siblings, friends… just give thanks for them. I, for one, I am grateful to be part of this group, and I am glad we can sing together.”

What song is more fitting than The Little Drummer Boy, where the ‘kings’ bring their finest gift of vocals to kick-start the Christmas cover collaborations? And for this one, social media influencer and make-up artist Lyric Rochester has brought her colourful attitude to the fore.

The Island Kings fans may be used to hearing the three-part harmony, but for Rochester’s are yet to hear what she has to offer musically. But the sounds of the groovy Don’t Worry, Be Happy being hummed as the intro ‘ Come they told me, pa rum pum pum pum, A newborn king to see, pa rum pum pum pum. Our finest gifts we bring, pa rum pum pum pum, To lay before a king, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum’, escaping through a car window, could instantly put a smile on an angry driver’s face, or any face.

King Diel told The Gleaner, “The plan is to record some lovely covers with local celebs and have them released throughout the month of December. We’ve recorded with Lyric and Stalk Ashley, and we also thought Alaine and Romain Virgo matched the energy we wanted — they all have a good vibe to create magic, because that is what the season is about.”

When King Diel connected with Carl ‘Lee King’ Scharschmidt and Justin ‘Just King’ Walker, the artiste and educator said the idea was to record a few covers, but over 10 projects later, Island Kings has transformed into a brand.

“I was going to do covers for myself in the summer and wanted to make a big impact. Having previously sang with my brother and sister, remembering how beautiful a three-part harmony was, I thought if I could get some great male singers together, it would be amazing. The two of them are very talented… matter of fact, I think of them as the kings they are,” Diel shared.

“No seasonal gathering is complete without at least one solid holiday music jam session. So even though we are trying to move from covers, and out of the car, as we continue our journey as Island Kings, we could not end the year without doing one,” he continued.

As the co-owner of a catering company, Just King says the month of December is a busy one, but he has not forgotten the true meaning of the season, despite all the goings-on. “I know people are dealing with different issues; we all are experiencing various emotions and may not understand what the next person is going through, but now is the time for us to reach out,” he said.

Just King continued, “We may not be able to physically extend a hand and give, but as a group, we can give greatly with our vocals. Our hope is that people can see past their pain and wish for a brighter future. I am one person who loves to see when people smile, and I think I speak for all of us when I say that that is what we want for this holiday.”

Lee King, who is a lecturer at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, vocal coach and background vocalist for reggae and dancehall acts like Spice, having recorded on her Grammy Award-nominated album 10, and Christopher Martin, whom he toured with in Malawi in October, said he is “blessed” to do music full-time.

“It’s been a tough two years for everyone; not only the music industry, not only Jamaica, but everyone in the world. And I think we have a unique opportunity of getting together to sing and bringing other people into the picture, so that we can uplift people. I want to bring the happiness we are feeling into some homes this Christmas, and I believe our collaborations will do much more of that,” Lee King said.