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Gramps believes in new project

Published:Sunday | April 29, 2012 | 12:00 AM

With a mission to heal the world through music, Soul Train Award nominee, Gramps Morgan unleashed his second solo album, Reggae Music Lives, which is now available on iTunes, independently, on his Dada Son Entertainment label.

A musical therapy of sorts, Reggae Music Lives is filled with angelic harmonies, authentic compositions and a unique sound brand Gramps calls 'Rockaz'.

Reggae Music Lives is more than reggae; it's world-beat, with a little bit of country, a taste of what Americans call rap - Jamaicans call it toasting; mix it with a hint of R&B, a dash of blues synthesised with contemporary reggae that maintains the integrity of the original art form and you get a sense of the musical accents that help to make Reggae Music Lives complete.

"I've grown so much as a producer, songwriter and vocalist. Overall, my experience from touring and working with India Arie; watching John Legend perform every night; touring with different artistes; working with the different producers (on this album) and getting a chance to work with my brother, Peetah, one-on-one, writing songs," Morgan said.

"It has brought me to a whole other level. My experience really came into play in making this. I think this album is really the best of the brand called Gramps Morgan as a product. You finally get the sound of Gramps Morgan. The first album was just discovering, getting it and learning myself. Gramps Morgan has been born on this album."

African inspiration

A personal favourite of Morgan's on the album sees the return of India Arie on Want Fi Charge Wi, a song which has a distinct sound inspired by African rhythms, as is I Hear You Calling, an ode to Africa.

Meanwhile, new creative partnerships were also forged on this project. One such collaboration was with Stanley 'Rellee' Hayden and Alberto 'AL' Cruz also known as the A-Team on the song called Dream.

As one of the most promising tracks on the album, Dream is as inspiring as it is universal, in message and in sound.

When Gramps sings "... celebrate wherever you are, keep on striving for your dream, just lift your head high, let your spirit fly, dream away..." one is reminded to persevere. The song offers hope and is that motivation everyone needs.

Another first - and what Gramps describes as "a dream" - was working with the legendary Clive Hunt.

Hunt produced three of the 13 songs on Reggae Music Lives, including the title track, which is an unapologetic declaration of the state of reggae music; and on two love songs, Find Myself Thinking and I Know It's Love.

Gramps Morgan fans get a different side of Gramps on Could DJ (Dem Neva Know), here the singer switches to a toasting style delivery over a beat infused with elements of rap, blues, and some rock riffs.

Pool of talent

Like with his first album, 2 Sides of My Heart Vol. 1, Gramps has again assembled an incredible pool of talent from the novice to the accomplished musician and producer alike, including his 17-year-old son Jemere Morgan, Jason 'J-Vibe' Farmer, Llamar 'Riff Raff' Brown, Delroy 'Delly' Foster, and Kemar 'Flava' McGregor.

The album's first single, The Almighty, topped charts in Jamaica, south Florida and New York, while Life Too Short, released on March 28, was used as part of the campaign in the fight for justice in the case of slain American teen Trayvon Martin.

Consequently, team Dada Son decided to donate part of the sale proceeds to the family of the slain Florida teenager. The song has since been added to the Justice for Trayvon Martin Foundation website where Gramps is listed as an official donor for his commitment.

Reggae Music Lives is about the preservation of art, music and culture and Gramps wants the world to know that "reggae music is here to stay".