24 ! THE VOICE AUGUST 1 - 7, 2013
WELCOME TO JAMROCK On August 6, Jamaica will celebrate 51 years of independence. Here, we profile some of the island’s most successful young stars
USAIN BOLT The fastest man in the world is arguably one of Jamaica’s most successful young sportsmen
POPCAAN Dancehall star Popcaan received his first billboard entry with Only Man She Want in March last year
WRETCH 32 The London rapper, whose parents hail from Jamaica, scored a No.1 hit with Don’t Go, beating Christina Aguilera to the top spot
CHRISTOPHER MARTIN The 25-year-old won the Jamaican version of American Idol in 2005 and is the only winner in the show’s history to go on to have chart success
SHELLY-ANN FRASER PRYCE Fraser-Pryce is the second female sprinter to win both World and Olympic 100m titles simultaneously
ALEXANDRA BURKE The former X Factor winner, who is currently in the US working on new material, is one of the most successful winners of the TV show
RAHEEM STERLING Born in Jamaica, the UKbased footballer is said to have "dazzled the English football world with his prodigious talent"
DAMIAN MARLEY Damian, the youngest son of reggae legend Bob Marley, is a three-time Grammy award-winning artist with a string of No.1s under his belt
NAOMIE HARRIS The British actress, whose mother was born in Jamaica, landed the role of Eve Moneypenny in the recent James Bond film Skyfall
CHIP Successful UK rapper Chip is proud of his Jamaican roots, recently collaborating with the island’s popular star Mavado
ASHLEY WALTERS The UK actor and rapper, whose family are from Jamaica, has won critical acclaim for his work on TV and in music. He was a member of garage collective So Solid Crew
The Britain’s Got Talent judge, who was born to a Jamaican father, says the island is her favourite place to visit
WARREN WEIR The Jamaican sprinter, who specialises in 200m, won the bronze medal at the London Olympics. Fellow countrymen Bolt and Blake won gold and silver, respectively
JOURDAN DUNN The UK supermodel once said: “Coming from a black [Jamaican] community, where curves are celebrated and being the skinny girl was hard"
MICHELLE AMOSU CHRIS EUBANK JR Chris Eubank Jr is the son of professional retired boxer Chris Eubank. He currently fights as a middleweight boxer
VYBZ KARTEL The successful dancehall star, famous for international hits Clarks and Rompin Shop, has collaborated with Rihanna, Missy Elliot and Jay Z
MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY photography student Michelle Amosu won praise from her lecturers after achieving a first class honours degree and a national award, despite the death of her brother while she was studying. The talented photographer was midway through the course when her 17-year-old brother Ezekiel was the victim of a street attack. Although Michelle took a break from her course, she graduated last week with
flying colours. Her photography collection, comprised of images taken in desolate places in her neighbourhood and featuring family members and friends in their personal spaces, not only impressed her tutors but also led to a 'Best of Year' award in the national design D&AD Student Awards 2013. Michelle, who lives in Stoke Newington, east London, is considering studying a Masters in photography at Middlesex University.
YOHAN BLAKE The decorated Jamaican sprint champ had many eager to see whether he could take Bolt’s title at the London 2012 Olympics
AUGUST 1 - 7, 2013 T HE VOICE ! 25
Dancehall star Konshens talks to YV’s Dionne Grant about coming to the UK, his love of the ladies and the future of the genre
N THE Nineties, US R&B singer Sisqo had hordes of men reaching for bottles of peroxide in a bid to imitate his famed blond locks. Fast forward a decade and dancehall star Konshens (pronounced conscience), looks set to give sales of red dye a welcome boost. The flame-haired Jamaican, famed for hits Stop Sign, Bad Gal and Gal A Bubble, has effectively chosen a hair colour to match the lyrical content of his songs – fiery. He laughs at the comparison. “Yeah, you could look at it like that,” he says sheepishly. From songs celebrating the female form to videos showcasing them, Konshens pulls no punches – a fact that has facilitated his steady rise to
fame. “Konshens ah mi name, but me nah have none,” he sings in his 2011 hit Do Sumn. Well, at least he’s honest. I catch up with the 27-year-old, real name Garfield Spence, after his performance to a crowd of over 10,000 at last month’s St Kitts Music Festival. Although he is fully clothed by the time we meet, just moments earlier I had watched dancehall’s lothario tease the females in the audience by ripping off his shirt to expose his perfectly carved six-pack. “I liked my performance and the ladies liked it, so that’s the main thing,” he says when I knowingly ask how he thought his set went. “To have a large female fanbase is really good. Thank you females for loving me,” he
laughs. “It was my intention to attract female attention and it worked. I tapped into what females want to hear. The real side of it, not just the romantic side,” he said. Can the UK audience expect similar stage antics when he touches down on our shores later this month for a performance in east London’s IndigO2? “Yep, the top will come off, the shoes and anything else that I have on that can come off, will come off.” If that’s not a convincing sales pitch, I don’t know what is. “That’s the thing about the London crowd,” he says. “They’re basically the Caribbean crowd. There’s a huge Caribbean community in London, so I’ll feel right at home.” Another place that the artist
can call home is Japan. The Japanese community, who have emerged as keen supporters of dancehall music, have lovingly embraced both Konshens and his music. His 2005 hit Pon Di Corner led to a month-long tour of the country and a Japan-only album release for 2010’s Real Talk. In fact, it was Pon Di Corner that kick-started the star’s career around the world. Ahead of the songs release, Konshens was part of music duo Sojah with his older brother Delus and had been working a 9-5 job in his hometown of Kingston to fund his musical calling. The pair were directed to a studio in the neighbouring Cooreville Gardens where they recorded a string of demos – one of which contained the track that would jumpstart their career. Pon Di Corner spent most of the year at No.1 in Japan and although the duo enjoyed successful tours in Japan and Europe, they made the decision to split their act into three separate entities – Sojah, Konshens and Delus – to “spread out the attack”. Konshens has since established himself as the ‘new face of dancehall’ earning the coveted ‘best new artist’ title twice in his Jamaican hometown. “I’m not your regular artist,” he tells me. “I didn’t go to artist school, I didn’t go to DJ school, I was the youth who
loved music. I’m trying to bring that realism to my sound.” He adds: “I’m the person who will do any type of music at any given time because I relate to real people and their feelings. I don’t feel any pressure that I have to stand up for dancehall or to be the person rescuing dancehall. I’m just trying to make a good song every time I go into the studio.” During the St Kitts festival, fellow dancehall star Shaggy, who was also on the bill, noted that the genre’s stars needed to look at the industry as a business rather than a hustle if they wanted to see their music go worldwide. Does Konshens agree? “Definitely! Most people in the business right now see it as a hustle. When we get more people to move from that stage of the hustle to the business-
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minded stage, it will work.” He added: “Creatively the genre is good, but businesswise, it’s not so good. If we focus more on the creative side and stop beating and bashing the business side, the business side would be better.” Despite the many accolades he has earned along the way, Konshens’ feet remain firmly on the ground. He recently said in an interview: “The thing that keeps me humble is the fact that no matter how far me reach, me still nah reach no where. You have people before me and you have people doing it right now that are 10 or 20 steps ahead of me. My little success is just a stepping stone.” Konshens will perform at the IndigO2 on August 25. For more information, visit www.konshensonline.com or follow @KonshensSojah on Twitter
The Jamaican star was acquitted of the murder of businessman Barrington ‘Bossy’ Burton
OR BUSTED? F F BU Dear Kat,
My friend had a baby six weeks ago and is already back on the raving scene. It’s embarrassing because I hear people talking about how she’s a bad mother and calling her all sorts of names. I recently got into a fight with a group of girls who I overheard saying stuff about her, but I haven’t told my friend. She is no longer with the baby’s father. He hasn’t been involved since she told him she was pregnant. She is seeing someone new now, which a lot of us don’t agree with. I don’t think she’s adjusted to her new life and is trying to act like it’s not happening. How can I tell her this without offending her? Anon
You’re a good friend, I’ll say that much. Yes, it’s very likely that your friend hasn’t adjusted to this major change in her life. Having a baby is a life-altering time for adults who are in committed relationships, let alone a teenager or young adult who is faced with doing it alone. There is a likelihood that she is trying to continue with life as it once was to avoid the huge responsibility that is now facing her. Although your actions are to be commended, it’s not your job to physically fight her battles. Sit her down and be real with her. Tell her (in the nicest way possible), that raving, getting involved in new relationships and burying her head in the sand is not going to change the fact that she’s a mother – who has new responsibilities. The words of naysayers are none of her concern, but explain that you’ve been called to defend her honour on more than one occasion. Maybe that will help her put things into perspective. Also suggest that she talks to someone professional about what she’s going through. Her actions may be a cry for help. Let me know how you get on.
The UK grime star may be facing legal action after walking off stage during his set at a recent festival
JORDIN SPA Simple, sexy, sty
The younger sister of Beyoncé left fans disappointed after cancelling all of her European tour dates
TWEET OF THE WEEK UK entrepreneur Jamal Edwards had cause for celebration after his first book Self Belief: The Vision topped charts BEFORE its official release
Love Brandy, hate the dres s!
“Crazy how my eBook is no.1 on the iBooks chart and it’s on pre-order. Thank you!” Jamal Edwards
26 ! THE VOICE AUGUST 1 - 7, 2013
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Published on Jul 31, 2013
Dancehall star Konshens talks to Young Voice's Dionne Grant about coming to the UK, his love of the ladies and the future of the genre.