Roots and culture artists have long been a constant in Jamaica, from the influence of legends like Bob Marley to conscious roots dancehall singers like Garnet Silk. However, in the summer of 2004 a new and powerfully distinct voice emerged on the reggae music scene. With a fresh timbre, substantive lyrics, and a passionate performance, this artist has almost single handedly lead the new wave of roots and culture reggae music that has swept the island of Jamaica.
I Wayne, born Cliffroy Taylor in Portmore, Jamaica, has officially hit the international scene with his ..1 hit Cant Satisfy Her. This humble, 24 year old, singer has been the first cultural reggae artist to be added to Hot 97 in New York, a station notorious for its hip hop influence. Since then the track has caught on in several markets and has entered the Billboard Hip Hop/R&B Singles charts. The firey tone of the track describes the desperate reality of prostitution, poverty, and sexually transmitted diseases in Jamaica. His follow-up single has once again taken the reggae world by storm. Riding on the top of the New York and Florida reggae charts for more than 7 weeks and counting, with Living in Love on the Hard Times Riddim (VP2272) produced by Stephen Gibbs and Errol Thompson, I Wayne has already proved himself to be a consistent hitmaker.
Although he has seemingly burst onto the scene, this young artist has been refining his craft since age 7. Coming from a musical family, I Wayne had first made his venture into performance as a student at Greater Portmore High School, joining a local group Vibes Machine. The group, consisting of singers and DJs, used to perform afterwork parties at popular clubs like Cactus and Asylum. One night, the artist was forced to perform alone due to the fact that the rest of his bandmates were running extremely late. The response was tremendous, and I Wayne was motivated to perfect his solo act. He later moved on to chant with local sound systems like Diamond Cruise and The Legend, and has contributed significantly to the annual event in his hometown, Garveymeade, held on December 24th for the past 10 years. With an admitted affinity for love songs that highlight his ethnicity, I Wayne has a unique ability to compose and commit to memory all material without ever writing down a word for the recording session.
In November of 2004, I Wayne signed a record deal with VP Records to release his debut album Lava Ground, which will be in stores summer of 2005. The album will include the two hit singles Cant Satisfy Her and Living in Love and the title track Lava Ground (which has already started to show up on some charts). His rise to the top of the reggae world is unprecedented, and has sparked a wave of enthusiasm among the industry for the next generation of roots and culture singers and songwriters.