We sat down for an interview with Tessellated, the Billboard chart-topping, Emmy-nominated Jamaican artist who blew up in 2017 with the hit single, Pine and Ginger.
During our Interview with Tessellated we uncovered:
What were his early musical influences?
From where does he draw his inspiration?
Who is he listening to right now?
What’s next on the horizon musically?
How did he get to #1 on the Billboard Jazz charts?
How did he earn the 2020 Emmy nomination?
How would he describe his lyrical and production styles?
The fusion of Afrobeat and Dancehall on new single, No Ansa feat. Crayon from Nigeria.
With Jamaican influence on international music inescapable in the current era, a new wave of exciting artists is emerging from the Caribbean island. One artist leading the charge for this global assault on the music industry is Tessellated, a multi-talented 23-year-old artist/producer from Kingston who burst onto the scene in 2017 with his bona fide Caribbean hit collaboration – Pine & Ginger.
Citing influences from many genres, a unique blend of styles and sounds shapes the backdrop for Tessellated’s musical endeavor. Through this, he aims to push forward a fusion of Jamaica’s roots presented alongside other world genres. With this original style, Tessellated has now carved out a lane of his own already garnering support from music industry heavyweights such as Camila Cabello, Lily Allen, Diplo, Major Lazer, Jorja Smith, and more.
Continuing the trend of breaking boundaries, last year Tessellated picked up a huge sync deal for his track ‘I Learnt Some Jazz Today’, a fusion of jazz, dancehall & hip hop, with Apple for their film ‘Bounce’ created for the release of their new AirPods. After its release, the song saw massive support worldwide, racking up several million plays in a matter of months and going #1 on the Jazz Billboard Chart, a first for a Jamaican artiste.
Since then, Tessellated has signed with Sony/ATV Publishing and is currently gearing up to release his first solo project.
A look behind the scenes with Neil Robertson, a music industry exec. from the golden era of reggae and hip-hop.
Neil Robertson worked behind the scenes as an A&R for Island Records. He was also a label manager and marketer for Island Jamaica. Neil was in the boardrooms and studios working with Beenie Man and Luciano. Later, as an artist manager, he toured with some of the best in the business, made deals, negotiated, and influenced.
Born and raised in NYC, Neil currently curates the music program at Alley Cat Amateur Theatre at The Beekman Hotel. He also handles DJ programming at The Seaport District/Pier 17 for Howard Hughes Corp and Pier A Harbor House for HPH Hospitality.
Behind the Scenes Highlights
A&R for Island Records, Gee Street, and Richard Branson’s re-entry into the music business, V2.
Worked on RZA’s “Bobby Digital In Stereo GOLD,” “Wu-Tang Forever,” and Gravediggaz “The Pick, The Sickle & The Shovel.”
Worked on DJ Premier’s “Afu-Ra Body Of The Life Force.”
Helped usher in a new era of Reggae and re-establish Island as the premiere Reggae label in the world.
Popular reggae artists have pushed the sonic envelope recently. The reception by reggae lovers has varied.
There are different perspectives on why this is, and if its the right direction for the music. We analyze perspectives and presumed motives in the context of the current revolution and in general terms.
Listen to this episode to hear:
Reactions to Chronixx saying there is no match for Sizzla in a clash.
Our special guest is Walshy Fire from Major Lazer.
We enjoyed reasoning with someone that AGARD and I have known for decades. Before the podcasts, and before all the fame. If you’re not familiar with Walshy Fire I don’t know what rock you’ve been under. He has been everywhere in the world to deejay.
Walshy Fire talked about the state of the culture. We commented on dancehall, reggae, and business. We talked about soundclash and life in general. We didn’t get into a lot of his background. If you want to check into his background, he’s done many interviews in the past. If you’re looking for that go check out this spot.
During this conversation, we checked in and started shooting from the hip. The session was militant, and energetic, which is a good combination.
Walshy Fire Reasoning
How quarantine has changed life.
The soundtrack to the revolution.
Soundclash.com and the Quarantine Clash series.
Upcoming Major Lazer albums, artists, and mixtapes.
The “Customized Years” book.
The energy of nightlife versus day parties.
Influencers standing against destructive music.
The end of “niggering.”
Highlights for 2020 so far.
Buzzworthy, Tastemaker, and Soundclash Update
Buju Banton celebrated a birthday.
Donovan Jermaine and Buju received their gold record plaques for Til Shiloh.
Please join us next week for a reasoning session with Jillionaire from the Major Lazer crew. Tell a friend to tell a friend and shared a link to this show. Tweet a link to the show and tag @ReggaeLoverPod. We’ll be looking for you online using hashtag #ReggaeLoverPodcast.
This is our 200th official episode of Reggae Lover. We talked about “Upside Down 2020,” the long-anticipated album from Buju Banton.
There’s such a thing as an instant classic, and this Buju Banton new album is that. Listen to our in-depth analysis of every track.
Buju Banton New Album, Sales and Streams
We also talked about record sales and chart performance. The album got close to 3000 sales in its first week. That includes all physical copies, digital downloads as well as streams. What is a “stream?” What is the stream worth? A stream is a fraction of a sale. So you need a certain amount of streams, whether it be songs or the entire album, in order for it to equal one sale.
It was actually a strong debut compared to other releases from Jamaican artists. We look at the fact that Vybz Kartel released his album on the same day as Buju. His album, “Of Dons and Divas,” sold a little less than half that of “Upside Down 2020.” Koffee’s “Rapture,” EP which won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album had less than 600 first week sales.
We have had episodes about Billboard, sales, and what it means for Jamaican reggae artists. Music is actually the marketing tool for touring, merchandise sales, etc. In that case, Buju is in good hands with Roc Nation. I’m sure they’ll exploit this album very well.
The Buju Banton new album, “Upside Down 2020” debuted in the number two position on the Billboard reggae chart. Also, on the Itunes chart for reggae music, it debuted at number two. At the time, Bob Marley held the number one slot on both of those charts. Vybz Kartel’s “Of Dons and Divas” debuted at the number six position on both charts.
The Tastemaker Segment
Last week’s episode, we didn’t get to go into this segment at all. As a result, there were a few things that I wanted to make sure that we mentioned.
Firstly, the Dré Island album, a debut album that features Popcaan on the “We Pray” single. The name of the album is “Now I Rise.” I bumped it or a good little while when it first came out. He’s doing press for the album right now. Go look for “Now I Rise” from Dre Island. Very good music.
If you’re a fan of Chronixx or Damian Marley, you’ll definitely love Dre Island. He’s very talented in his own right. He has a song out with Tory Lanez. So he has crossover songs as well.
Secondly, there’s an awesome release from Grammy nominee, Etana. An album entitled “Gemini,” which debuted on June 19th, distributed by Kojak WorldWide. That album is official. Very good production. “Gemini” brings a strong balance of dancehall, reggae, and lovers’ rock. There is some roots reggae flavor as well.
Kabaka Pyramid has a feature on there. Nomadz has a feature on there along with an artist known as Yhasha. This may be her best album to date. It’s definitely one of my favorites. Every song has a good vibe. I would add the whole album to my quarantine playlist. Take my recommendation. This is good, solid music.
Thirdly, we have to talk about Koffee. Her new single entitled “Pressure” is an inspirational song for the times. She speaks to the ghetto youths, but she’s also talking to every man. Every one of us is under pressure, if not now, at some point. It’s that type of message that can help to pull you through that kind of a situation. So I love it. She’s singing. She’s deejaying. It’s message music. A music video for that is also out.
In addition, Koffee is on “Bigger Love,” John Legend’s new album, released June 19. The song that features coffee is “Don’t Walk Away.” This song a breakup love song duet between the two of them. The curious thing is, so far, Koffee’s material hasn’t been love songs. There’s Justin Bieber’s, “I don’t care” remix where she appears alongside Chronixx. That would be the first but is more pop dance.
“Don’t Walk Away” is more of an R&B style song. Definitely check that out. And of course, if you’re a John Legend fan, we talked about him earlier with this feature on the budget album. He’s got a big project out right now.
Finally, we’ve got a new song from Anthony B entitled “Black and Proud.” This is not a protest or a revolutionary song a la “Fire Pon Rome.” He’s not telling you who needs to get burnt up in the fire. It’s a revolutionary song along the lines of just making this simple statement. I’m black and I’m proud.
If you follow the news you know that saying “Black Lives Matter” is offensive to many people. So saying things like “black power” or “black and proud” is also going against the grain. These are the messages that we want to hear from our reggae artists, especially our cultural artists. And Anthony B is known for being that guy.
This one is on the new World Rebirth rhythm produced by Reggae Vibes Music. It’s a brand new song released on July 8th. Anthony B’s “Black and Proud.” Please check it out. It’s awesome. Good reggae music. Good for the heart, the soul, and the brain.
Sound System Update and Wrap up
We also gave a very concise recap of some recent sound system, soundclash live online events. In conclusion, we announced next week’s special guest will be Walshy Fire of Major Lazor.
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