The days when there was excitement around the release of reggae albums seems a thing of the past. Social media is abuzz when an artiste is either nominated, or wins, the Grammy for Best Reggae Album.
This year will see the release of We Alright, the debut set from Written, a talented singer-songwriter from Kingston, Jamaica’s capital. It will be distributed by Nah Ramp, an independent label owned by Gary “Doctor Dread” Himelfarb of RAS Records fame.
No official release date has been announced, but Written did extensive sessions at Anchor Recording Studio in Kingston with musicians including bassist Flabba Holt of the Roots Radics Band.
Written, 30, has recorded a number of songs for homegrown producers since he launched his recording career six years ago. For a while, he was a member of Wailers Trio, which also included Blvk H3ro and Asadenaki, son of Bunny Wailer. Written was also part Trench Town based The Right Band.
He wrote all the songs on We Alright which reflects his positive outlook on life.
“Who knows me, knows that I’m all for smiles, even in the face of adversity. So the music I often create captures that feel mostly and these tracks are no different. It would be an honour if someone had a bad day and turned to my music for relief, that would be like winning the biggest awards to me because I genuinely believe that music is made for that and to keep you skanking,” Written explained.
He and Dr. Dread met just over one year ago. The American music industry veteran has worked with some of the biggest names in reggae, including Bunny Wailer, Israel Vibration and Culture; he was instantly drawn to Written’s talent as a composer.
“What inspired me most about Written is his unique approach to writing songs and his ability to marry his writings to music. I have always looked for artistes that have a unique vibe. And the fact that he is from Trench Town and not from uptown (Kingston) adds another interesting element to who he really is. A very humble and thoughtful youth,” said Dr. Dread.
Written is actually from working-class Tavares Gardens, a stone’s throw from Trench Town which has become his musical home. The latter is the old stomping ground for The Wailers whose most famous members were Bunny Wailer, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh.
Written, who had no prior acting experience, will play Junior Braithwaite, an original member of that group in Bob Marley: One Love, the Paramount Pictures movie scheduled for release on February 14.
By Howard Campbell for Worldareggae.com
Pictures by Josh Marsh