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Music like Paul Elliott's has a presence that sets it apart from other genres. It says something important about the world we live in, and shows us how we, as individuals, can make a difference.
Sometimes though, for music like this to be effective, the artist has to live what he sings about. With The Chosen One, there are no half measures, and no compromises, because the man is as real as he sounds.
Paul Elliott's expressive vocals and growing catalogue of reality songs make him a natural successor to seventies' reggae greats such as Marley, Tosh, and Burning Spear. These are artists whose music has lasting relevance, is grounded in the Rastafari tradition, and speaks to people from all walks of life.
The Chosen One was born and raised in the West Kingston ghetto of Waterhouse, an area rich in musical tradition, but where everyday life involved a constant struggle against poverty and the threat of violence. He and his family were spared neither. His mother was left to fend for her family of ten children alone and unsurprisingly, he grew up among considerable hardship. You can still hear the sufferation in his voice today, along with compassion, and a stirring dose of rebel philosophy.
Growing up in Waterhouse, he was surrounded by singers like Half Pint, Dennis Brown, and Black Uhuru, who rehearsed in a nearby gully. He took the name of Culture Paul when recording his debut for US producer Jah Life, and then served his musical apprenticeship at King Jammy's, competing for attention with the likes of Shabba, Admiral Bailey, and Chaka Demus. It was at Black Scorpio he learnt to produce his own sessions. Then, tragedy struck; twice. Two of his brothers were shot and killed on the same day. A few days later, gunmen brutally murdered his mother.
With anger and emptiness in his heart, Elliott was determined to avenge his mother's and brothers' deaths. However, with the help of positive influences in his life, he realized that music was his only salvation. This lead to songs that not only established his reputation, but were also designed to make the killers "feel the vibration" of the music. Two of them - Vipers and Fat Belly Rats - are among the most heartfelt reggae songs of the modern era. A steady flow of other singles followed, culminating in his debut album, Save Me Oh Jah, containing hits like Import Corruption and Seek Jah Blessing.
A second album, Meaning Of Life, arrived in 2001, with Songs like True Love, Psychological Warfare, and How Does It Feel. This demonstrated how his music had broadened in scope, whilst remaining true to its roots reggae foundations.