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The inner-city slums of Jamaica have produced many great artistes and performers over the years. Names such as Bob Marley and the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Shabba Ranks and Buju Banton come to mind. The hardships and the determination to survive spur the youth of the inner-city to be great, and new artiste Shamari is seeking to follow the trail blazed by these great artistes.
Born Kemar Shamari Fray, the young singjay has faced trials and tribulations from the outset. Having lost his father at the tender age of three to the gun, he was forced to recognize from early that survival was a necessity and only his talent could help him extricate himself from the situation he was born in. The twenty-five year old artiste from the rough community of Tawes Pen in Spanish Town, St Catherine, is bursting with motivation, talent, vocal ability and a back story that would inspire anyone. Spurred on by his mother, who supported the family by selling goods in the Spanish Town Market, Shamari stands proud of his struggles and experiences and credits her as his main inspiration.
The past student of Old Harbour High School has been honing his talent since the 1990s and remembers bobbing to the lyrics and melody of greats such as Garnet Silk, Bounty Killer and Louis Culture. Shamari has used his experiences to craft a small but robust lyrical catalogue that boasts a level of credibility envied by most established artistes.
His first taste of the stage came at Old harbor High School when he was egged on to perform at school concerts and class parties by friends and teachers. Shamari credits those incidents with instilling the confidence within him to move forward with the music. He says encouragement from the teachers and students of Old Harbour High was invaluable in convincing him that the path he chose through the music was the right one.
Pledging to always stay on the positive side, Shamari believes that he brings something special and unique to the music industry. His first major release, Gangster’s Paradise, has been welcomed by many radio DJs in Jamaica and has blown a breath of fresh air into the playlists of those who’ve decided to give it a listen.
The song is an autobiography of Shamari’s life and he digs deep to unearth painful memories and lessons learnt; from the murder of his father to the constant struggles of his mother who raised him without help. It is an honest appraisal of the life of a ghetto man and Shamari is best placed to tell that story. The artiste pledges not to stop there and has teamed up with Out-A-Road Records to continue his positive journey.
Out-A-Road Records, an outfit based in Kingston Jamaica and Canada, has been known for resurrecting the careers of artistes such as Merciless, Queen Paula and Macka Diamond but now has switched focus and is interested in fresh new talent such as
The artiste is happy for the collaboration and sees it as an opportunity to continue to put out positive music. He says: “Life was rough growing up and I am happy that now I can see the hope and possibilities of giving to the people my gift of music. I want to remain positive and through Out-A-Road records I believe that this is possible.”
Shamari has a different sound, different approach and different thinking. Not only that but the young Sing Jay is lyrically competent and knows how to hold a note; skills that will help him to break into the mainstream of Jamaican music.