It is not often that you can describe a reggae artist as truly unique, especially in a time like now when it seems as if every artist stepping to the stage needs autotune to get their message across, a message of course filled with dead cliches glorifying drugs, sex, and guns. Many of today’s emerging artists must realize that you must offer more than a few “Hail Rastas” and “BOOMs” to satisfy today’s reggae fans. There is no one more critical than a well-listened, educated reggae fan.
However, these days all you need is a broadband connection, Apple’s Garageband, Audacity, or Mixpad, and, of course, a vocoder to hide your horrific voice, and you have a .99 cent single to upload to ReverbNation. I recently received a message from an emerging artist who wanted me to promote his new single, the first minute of which was Obama speech outtakes, the second minute was filled with “Hail” and “Hmmm, Hmmm,” and during the final minute the artist proclaims over and over “Terrorism not the way,” End of song. In case you haven’t picked up on my point yet, let me be clear: the music is diluted, tired, and awful.
Zionomi makes his first visit to the US this month in a much anticipated move to expose American audiences to his wholly unique sound. The St. Lucian artist, who claims a creole bloodline (his father is Italian and mother St. Lucian), brings with him a firebrand reggae sound that can only be compared to, well…nothing. In 2006, Zionomi won the Saint Lucia Guinness Freestyle Competition, which offered the opportunity to fly out to Jamaica to network and record with industry veterans Bobby Digital, Beres Hammond, Bushman and Gyptian. It has been a steady “nose to the grindstone” existence since. Life is not easy for an emerging artist, especially in a genre known for it’s shady dealings and poor business ethics.
After performing in Germany in July 2010, and recently alongside Tanya Stephens in Saint Maarten , Zionomi set his sights on visiting the US to showcase his style to American audiences, who have recently shown an increasing interest in conscious reggae acts like SOJA, Rebelution, and Groundation. He is a seasoned performer who has spent the past several years honing his craft on live stages across the Caribbean with artists like Jah Cure and Munga.
His new album titled ‘Shade Red’ is being hailed by fans for it’s refreshing sound, something reggae has been missing for some time. His music is a jambalaya of soul, lover’s rock, dancehall, and soca, with a dash of creole to spice up the mix.
“My music is a different twist of all kind of music ya know? Little bit of soul, little bit soca, a little bit dancehall. It’s like a soup of styles.”
Promoted primarily through social media, the album has garnered acclaim from the global community of reggae fans. Several of his tracks have received radio airplay as well, including the hits “Roll Yuh”, “Can’t Put I Down” “Wherever You Are” and “Just A Friend”.
‘Shade Red’ is the album we are putting out there now. Kind of introduce the people to the sound. We are working on new music all the time, so a proper debut album will soon come ya know.”
While visiting the US, Zionomi will continue to showcase the ‘Shade Red’ at several club dates. One thing is for sure though.
His sound come new…His sound come hard…but his sound come correct…every time.