Ed Robinson on the Global Art Form

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Ed Robinson occupies several seats in the world of reggae—from a long career as a reggae drummer to broad work now as a reggae singer. It’s taken him from his native Jamaica to Brooklyn, which he now calls home. Caribbean Journal talked to Robinson about his current projects, his unique inspirations and reggae as a global art form.

How would you describe your music?

What can I say – it’s basically what it is – reggae music. It’s straight up, real reggae music. We’re not into that fabricated, clone stuff.

Who are your inspirations?

I have many inspirations. As far as my musical inspirations, I have Prince as one of the main ones, surprisingly. Dennis Brown, as far as reggae, Alton Ellis is my favorite reggae artist. And there’s many others that I really looked to for inspiration. I really love and respect their music – including Third World, Bob Marley and all of them.

What are you working on right now?

We’re in the process of working on a second album right now. The first album just hit the streets and is the one that’s really doing well right now. It’s called “Written in Stone.” The second number one single from it, which is “If I Follow My Heart,” the first one was “Our Heroes.” So we’re in the process of working on the second project right now, and just completed the second song for it.

How does coming to America from Jamaica impact your music?

It has impacted the music, as far as me, what I sing about – I would say more experience. I don’t think it really changes or changes the music for me. We don’t lose it.

How much do you think reggae will continue to change?

I can’t tell. It’s hard to really define that. Reggae music has been one of the evolving things over the years. Put it this way. I used to hear reggae music was the root and other things, but you will always have branches and flowers, and certain seasoned people sing about certain things. And certain times, when they stop singing about that, they start singing about something else. Reggae music is one of those things that will forever be evolving, so it’s hard to really say where it’s going next.

How global is reggae?

If you have another earth somewhere, if you have another world somewhere, reggae is there. Reggae music, personally, I think is the biggest music in the world. There’s no other music that’s as big as reggae. As far as my traveling, and I’ve been around the world – the only place I’ve never been but really want to go to is China –but I’ve basically been to all the major continents in the world as a musician, as a drummer and as a singer also, and that is the music that basically everybody is in to. So I would say it’s the biggest thing in the world.

How important does roots reggae continue to be to people?

Put it this way – the younger they are, the less important it is to them. They start realising the mature path of it. But roots reggae music will always be there – it’s not going anywhere. It has the possibility of getting bigger, but it will always be there.

–CJ