Above: Tarrus Riley (CJ Photo)
By Alexander Britell
ST KITTS — Global reggae star Tarrus Riley recently wowed the crowds at the St Kitts Music Festival, where CJ was able to catch up with him to talk about the state of reggae music.
What was it like playing in St Kitts?
Musical — energetic — reggae music rocksteady music, Jamaican music in fine style.
How much is reggae music Caribbean music, more than Jamaican music?
It’s more African. And Jamaica – African and Jamaican. and then it becomes Caribbean. Because it has African roots, but it still come from Jamaica, and then it’s Caribbean. Because Jamaica makes all different style of music — it has ska, it has rocksteady, it has reggae, jamaica is always creating different forms of music. While other Caribbean islands create music, but not as much differential as Jamaica has contributed. And that’ just a fact — no disrespect.
How would you describe the state of reggae?
The state of reggae is great. The state of reggae is beautiful. All over the world people are into reggae. Reggae music is an international phenomenon, it’s beautiful.
Reggae music is what feelings sound like.”
What has led to that international growth?
It’s from great works — the pioneers have done before us like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Burning Spear and the youths who are continuing this thing. And reggae music is not a music of prejudice or any kind of thing like that. So the real people who know the culture, spread the world Concerts like this, people spread the world.
Where do you want reggae to go?
I want reggae music to have all the ears in the world. I want all the ears in the world for my music and I represent Jamaican music and reggae music.
How is your own music is changing?
My music is changing because I’m changing as a person. So the more I grow, the more my music grow, the more I get open to new ideas, you’ll hear this in my music. Without change you’re dead, you have to change.
Do you see yourself as an ambassador for reggae?
I see myself as someone representing reggae music, Jamaican culture, Rastafari culture. I would never call myself an ambassador.
How would you describe reggae music?
Reggae music is what feelings sound like.