Knixx Taylor — From Bendon SDA to a new stage
When up-and-coming singer Knixx Taylor met saxophonist extraordinaire Dean Fraser at the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA) Awards launch at the end of February, he told her that her talent was giving him some strong Koffee vibes. Coincidentally, it was three years ago that Fraser met the then-emerging Koffee at a similar event.
The five-foot – “exactly” – less-than-100-pound Knixx is a Reggae Month find from an online talent contest hosted by JaRIA, and her fourth-place win has been opening doors for her. Her performance at the launch had more than just a regular new-artiste buzz - and for a good reason, too. There is an ethereal quality about Knixx Taylor, and when she opens her mouth to sing, it is only too easy to be gobsmacked. Already, the predictions are that she is destined for greatness.
“I find that she is a genuine vocal talent that seems to be focused more on her craft than on the frills, and that impresses me. If she continues to remain focused, I think she will become one of our most formidable recording and performing artistes. The fact that she is a writer gives her that much more by way of options to succeed in the entertainment industry,” JaRIA chairman Ewan Simpson told The Sunday Gleaner.
“I performed in front of all these dignitaries, and there were so many compliments. It was a lot of fun,” Knixx shared. “Miss Babsy [Entertainment Minister Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange], told me ‘Knixx, you have it. If you need anything, let me know.’ Dean Fraser [also] came over to speak to [me].”
The 21-year-old singer has been pursuing music professionally for two years now, but her journey started years before. Knixx recalls that when she made her first appearance on stage at age four, she was so tiny that the congregation couldn’t see her.
17 YEARS EXPERIENCE
“I was invited to sing, and they had [to] get a chair and put me to stand on so that everybody in [the] church could see and hear me,” she laughed. That was 17 years ago, and since then, Knxix has made her name in Seventh-day Adventist church circles, where she can be heard singing at her home church Bendon SDA in Spanish Town and throughout that circuit of churches.
“Every Sabbath, my mother and I would go church-hopping, and I would sing,” she said of what is becoming an increasingly distant memory. Her separation from [the] church, if it can be called that, is a long story, but the short version is that it set off World War III within her family.
The background is that upon graduating from St Catherine High School with 10 CSEC subjects, Knislia Williams went to the United States to pursue her dream of becoming a medical doctor. But it was a case of a dream being interrupted.
“When the pandemic came, it gave me time to think, and I decided that singing and writing was what I really wanted to do. I’ve had my battles, especially with my parents. They are not welcoming of the idea, but I believe that I am fulfilling my path. And there are times when I am in a spot, I need a ticket, and something happens that could only be God providing for me, so I know that this is where I should be,” she said confidently.
Knixx likes the Koffee comparison, which is even more significant since they both share a “grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist church” history. She credits the church for the platform it gave her, and it is significant to note that artistes such as Mortimer, Shuga, Savage Savo, Nature Ellis, Aisha Davis, and Xcylone also grew up in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“Mortimer says that my voice is as sweet as a Julie mango,” Knixx said.
She is now working on her debut album, a collection of covers of great reggae songs such as Walk Away From Love by Bitty McLean.
“The album is as yet untitled, but it was recorded at Tuff Gong with a live band, and I am superexcited about it. I am between Jamaica and the States because my manager and my band are in Jamaica, but I recently performed at Voice Out in New York, and the reception was good,” said Knixx, who describes her sound as reggae fusion.
“It is neo-soul, R&B … music that makes you feel what I am singing,” she expounded.
So far, Knixx has released the tracks Rush, Love Time, and Addicted 1 and 2 Addicted.