Jamaican, Roy `Gramps´ Morgan delivered a stunning performance during the HLSCC’s Reggae Showcase on Saturday evening. The talented reggae singer displayed his flexibility as a solo act, using his rich deep-based voice that has made him stand out when performing with his siblings in the popular Morgan Heritage band.
Gracing the stage in a tightly worn suit vest, tie and jeans, Gramps wasted no time in letting the crowd know that his lyrics and music were smooth and mellow – the type that has been overpowered by dancehall music in recent years.
The show was part of the 16th season of the college’s Performing Arts Series.
His opening number, `When I Come Home´, set the tone for what was to come, and what followed was smoother, sensual reggae music as the reggae singer interacted with the audience, sharing relationship advice and the importance of love amid his songs.
He immediately recognized his surroundings. “We are going to have a nice mellow show. We don´t have any big speakers to blow you away,” Gramps told the audience.
Asserting himself with the microphone, Gramps dipped into his debut solo album, `Two Sides of My Heart Volume I´. He noted that Africa is going through a hard time and asked that people to continue to pray for its people. The call came as he sang `Time´, which called for black people to unite. He then continued his call for unity as his voice melted over `All Together´, another track from his debut album.
He told the audience that the reason he came to Tortola was to show that there are still good men in the world. He urged that people make peace and not war, while acknowledging various conflicts taking place globally, including Egypt.
“Look around…bird ah drop from sky and fish ah run from sea. These are serious times,” Gramps stated.
Mixing the rhythms of sensual soul music, including `Let Me Love You Down´, Gramps proved that he was able to mix and match music from different genres and timelines. He told the crowd that his father has 30 children and that they were all alive and not in prison.
In the second half of his show, Gramps could not resist the keyboard, which he plays when Morgan Heritage performs. Sitting at the piano at centre stage, Gramps turned to more conscious selections, including `Down by the River´. `She´s Still Loving Me´ was his next song and surprisingly, Gramps wanted more of Tortola as he took off his dark sunglasses, much to the approval of the female fans in the sold-out audience.
“I got to come back to a terrible (powerful) sound system where you can feel the base. Tell Lime it’s not enough, you have to bring Gramps back,” the reggae singer asserted.
Gramps paid homage to Tortola as he performed for the first time in the Caribbean, `The Almighty´, a song with a dancehall flare to it that features Buju Banton. Gramps then moved to a spiritual rendition of `Psalms 23´ which he had collaborated with Banton a few years ago. During the song, Gramps urged the audience to pray for Banton, who is facing drug related charges and is expected back in court this week.
To end his performance, Gramps sang `Wash the Tears´.
Gramps left the stage, but not before promising to return to Tortola and to let fans know that Morgan Heritage will resume touring together next year. Following the show, Gramps met, greeted and signed autographs with fans, who waited patiently for their up close and personal rendezvous with the international singer.
He is one of the legendary Denroy Morgan´s 17 sons, who, at the tender age of nine, became a member of the family band. However, his father has always believed that the children will one day embark on their own journey to achieve solo stardom. Now it appears that one family member´s solo journey has begun.
A burgeoning solo artist, Morgan is on a mission to reinvent himself. At a time when reggae music is in a state of dejection and dancehall lyrics are redundant with nothing but a cache of clichés, slangs and slogans, he feels it is the right time to go solo.
His first official single, “Wash the Tears,” came shortly after this decision and it was a mega hit, debuting at Number Eight on Italy´s Top 20 Singles Chart. The song was composed, written and produced by “Gramps” on his Dada Son Entertainment label, a subsidiary of the Morgan family´s Gedion Music Group.
With the interest of both his fans and critics now to his advantage, Mr. Morgan announced the launch of his debut album, “Two Sides of my Heart (Volume I),” in 2009 and began making preparations to introduce himself to the world.
Once released, the album topped reggae album charts in several regions including Jamaica, Europe, and sections of the United States, including New York and Florida.
The album also received rave reviews from a number of prominent websites and print publications worldwide and earned “Gramps” the Album of the Year award at the 6th Annual Excellence in Music and Entertainment Award Ceremony.
As an artist, Morgan is dedicated to conscious roots reggae and lovers rock. As Chief Executive Officer of Dada Son Entertainment, he plans to brand the label through multimedia ventures, including independent films and the internet. In addition, to his solo musical pursuits and production, he also manages the company´s roster of artists.