In a time that’s seeing roots-reggae experience a serious revival, self-propelled and multi-talented artist Jesse Royal is a sign of the times when it comes to the music. His 2012 single “Modern Day Judas,” a pulsating reminder to carry the torch of consciousness high at all times, anointed him as more than just a household name.
Cool and Deadly, his most recent 2016 mixtape, features production by none other than reggae royalty Damian “Junior Gong” Marley. Tracks like “Roots and Culture,” Next to You,” and “Blowing in the Wind” resonate with stellar production, emotional intelligence, and Royal’s climbing vocals. Be sure to look out for his forthcoming album in 2017, and catch a sneak preview in the Soundcloud link.
When asked about his approach to making music, he remained modest. “It’s just about getting to that place where I can receive the vibrations that I’m supposed to deliver,” he said. “It’s not really about me, I’m just a vessel.” And being a vessel requires patience and perseverance, according to Royal, whose 2012 Misheni (which means ‘The Mission’ in Swahili) and 2013 In Comes the Small Axe mixtapes built a steady buzz during a time when the lexicon of Jamaican music was and continues to take reggae to a new plateau with a brigade of young generals and empresses – including Addis Pablo, Chronixx, Protoje, Jah9, Yaadcore, Kabaka Pyramid and others – seem to be more committed to shaping a movement than usurping individual spotlights.
As Royal put it, “This is heartbeat music…we speak to the people’s hearts and dem consciousness. So if you ask I & I where I’ll be tomorrow, I’ll be in the hearts and minds of the people.”
Here Jesse is pictured with Ms. Lauryn Hill who he supported on three shows for the MLH Caravan: A Diaspora Calling! tour, in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit. Ms. Hill has asked Jesse to join her for more dates in 2017.