Premiere: When Ya Hold Me – JonQuan ft. Screechy Dan

Though JonQuan is relatively new to the reggae scene, you’d never know it by listening to the music on the upcoming EASY STAR PRESENTS JONQUAN & ASSOCIATES. Working closely with two-time GRAMMY winner Victor Rice (Easy Star All-Stars, Bixiga 70, Ticklah), JonQuan has fashioned an album’s worth of brand-new tunes that evoke the majesty of the golden age of reggae. These tracks will be released as singles over the course of the late summer and fall, culminating in an album release in early December.

JonQuan says he “…was inspired over the pandemic to create my own original riddims to cure the boredom and woes of being off stage and locked down.”  JonQuan has been the frontman, songwriter, and keyboard player for Buddha Council, based out of Virginia Beach, for the past few years. Once he had an album’s worth of riddims, he set about finding great vocalists to collaborate with. He knew he wanted the right musicians and vocalists. “This is my first project where I produced the riddims myself. I wanted to leave the door open for the players of all other instruments for maximum creative input but within certain parameters. I personally chose who I wanted to play what instrument on what song. I’m most accustomed to living writing with a band while feeling for a groove.” For the first single, that meant Carlton Livingston, who John had backed in the past. 

Once JonQuan had the record finished, Victor Rice made the connection to Easy Star Records, his label for the past few years. For the team at Easy Star, they felt like they were reconnecting with their own origins as a label, as their very first release was a similar project, EASY STAR VOL. ONE, which paired their own foundation-inspired original riddims with vocals from both Jamaican veterans and New York City-based newcomers. A generation has passed since that project, with the label since becoming a major player in the genre, and an entire U.S. reggae scene evolving into a major force, so getting involved with this scrappy upstart project that had so much energy and creativity was a joy for the label.

Screechy Dan is such a G. Lyrics for ages and style to match. Big up Dj Mush1 for the introduction. Screechy fronts alongside Mush1, Top Shotta band out of BK, NYC. His voice echoes his early style still. You’ll be hearing more from screechy in this camp. – JonQuan