Fri | Dec 1, 2023

5 Questions with Honorebel

Published:Friday | September 8, 2023 | 12:08 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer

Singer, rapper, songwriter and producer Honorebel is prepping for an extremely busy last quarter of 2023, and he couldn’t be more excited. His 10th studio album, 444, will be officially released today, Friday, September 8, marking a significant milestone in his decades-long career.

On his itinerary are a six-week promotional tour for the album, starting on October 11, then the next stops are ‘The Motherland’, Africa, and Europe in November and December.

The reggae artiste, who has a 30-plus-year career, has evolved into an astute businessman who has owned his publishing company for 18 years, and a film company for 10 years.

A well-known figure on the reggae music scene in the United States, his most commercially successful song to date has been Now You See (2009), which featured Pitbull and Jump Smokers, and peaked at number 22 on the Billboard Dance Charts, while also levelling off at No. 43 on the Billboard Electronic Charts.

Born Richard Mark Bailey, Honorebel began his career in the late 1990s, recording reggae, hip hop, dancehall and EDM music. He collaborated with reggae legends, such as Sly and Robbie, while infusing hip-hop beats with producers like Scott Storch and EDM with Benny Benassi, DJ Snake, Afro Jack, and others. He has collaborated with Lady Saw, Gyptian, Shaggy, Sean Paul, Pitbull, Sean Kingston, Akon, Flo Rida and Willy Chirino, just to name a few.

Within his music, he infused various styles to fit his deliverance, ranging from roots dancehall to techno-pop to pop-rock, EDM to Tropical House, to reggaeton. Honorebel has a wide audience appeal, reaching as far as Russia, where he performed live at the Russian MTV Video Music Awards in 2007.

His songs have earned placement in multiple motion pictures and television shows. Now You See It was featured on the CW Television Network show Hellcats in January 2012 and on Showtime’s hit series Californication. In 2013, the single, Caribbean Dream, appeared on the soundtrack of Zumba Fitness: World Party, one of the most popular fitness games in the world.

Honorebel, who is currently in Jamaica, was also in the island in January for Rebel Salute with Big Mountain Band.

1. Tell us a little about how you got your name and the unusual spelling.

My name at first was Honorable Apache, then when I got signed to SpecShang which was owned by music mogul Clifton ‘Specialist’ Dillon in the early 2000s. I got my second record deal with Priority Records. Specialist decide that there had to be a name change of dropping the Apache and I decided to spell Honorable, ‘Honorebel’. The ‘Honor’ comes from the respect I have for the music and the ‘Rebel’ is from not settling for the status quo, just me having that fighting spirit.

2. What are some of the milestones in your 30-year journey?

Me having a number-one song in 54 different countries, two times platinum and covering so much landscape in the music industry is a significant factor.

3. You have an ability to blend musical styles and genres. How important is that for an artiste?

Well, I can’t speak on other artistes, only mysel, where blending different genres are concerned. It’s important to me because that’s the way I capitalise on [and] broaden my fan base worldwide.

4. You have a new album which drops today. Why the title, ‘444’?

One of the reasons my new album is titled 444 is because that morning I woke up at 4:44 a.m., saw a picture of me on Twitter and in the picture I had 4 fingers up and a robot in a painting behind me had 444 on his helmet. So I took that as a sign. Then I started to research the true meaning of 444 and as I dig deeper I realise the definition is the description of me and my journey. The angels number is 444, which tells you that your connection with the angels and the angelic realm is powerful and that you can trust the guidance they are giving you. The number 444 is also a sign of love. In the most positive light, 444 means, “I have arrived”, and “my time has come”. In other words, your hard work has finally paid off.

5. You just signed a new brand-ambassador deal. How did that come about?

My new brand-ambassador deal is with HCB Yachts came about in St Louis, Missouri, where I was shooting a music video for Oh Mama on a different yacht. HCB saw what I was doing and liked the idea of blending my music to their yacht company and the rest was history.