BLACKasCOLE changing the ideology on Reggae's limits Image

by Biko Kennedy

In a musical climate that's ever shifting, BLACKasCOLE have visioned a clear path for themselves and is making no stops in attaining it. Changing the ideology of Reggae's limitations is by no means an easy task, but the band is headstrong in seeing their most-prized dream a reality. We caught up with them for an in-depth interview which encompassed everything from their homage to the past to their hopes of the future.

JAmusic: Music lovers globally will always be looking for that new, impeccable sound that can be looked upon as leaders of the new wave of vocalists. How would you define a musical genius that can eventually become a vocal leader?

BaC: A musical genius is one that is able to impart messages of love, truth, and upliftment to a wide cross-section of the world. One that creates a sound that will stand the test of time and minister to the people it touches.

JAmusic: Some of the most genius artistes have thrived when taking chances and innovating. How important/present is that on the Reggae soundscape today; from what you've seen and that might have help in composing your singles?

BaC: We realize that the world isn’t as “big and flat” as it used to be. Today the internet and social media has allowed for more cultural exchange and music has to adapt or embrace this. When we make music we think not only of whom but where we want it to reach and hence we employ a fusion that will appeal to our target market while still allowing us to be true to our art.

JAmusic: How do you think a single such as Hometown Glory (Reggae Cover) will impact your growing fan base as well as attract new listeners?

BaC: Hometown Glory was us paying homage to the progression of reggae while showing respect for the amazing talent of Adele. It will have an impact where fans of both genres may like the twist we put on it. This is just one of the ways we interpret or express music that moves us.

JAmusic: Lead singer, CeCile Black, style seems to be a blend between vocalists like Queen Ifrica, Etana and Morgan Heritage. Is this intentional and are these artistes persons you try to emulate?

BaC: Try to emulate? Yes and no. Yes in the sense that we respect their courage to step out and do something different, bringing to the table a strong work ethic, splendid art and consistency. No, in that, we would be cheating ourselves and the music if we tried to emulate exactly what they do, their style is perfect for them but we need to ensure that we are channeling the sounds that come from within us. This way we will be able to carve out a place in history much like these greats have.

JAmusic: What's the biggest risk you've taken artistically; one that went over surprisingly well and one that might've gone over people's heads?

BaC: Before we started the band we sat down and discussed what could be something that would make us special, aside from the music. We did some research and found out that there hadn’t ever been any successful female-led reggae bands in Jamaica. This was an astounding discovery as most of the Jamaican reggae music we loved was from bands like Bob Marley & The Wailers, Black Uhuru, Mystic Revealers and many more. Indeed, there are great female artists like Marcia Griffiths, Queen Ifrica and Etana but all of whom are single acts that perform with different backing bands. We wanted to make band-driven music but still have our lead singer be female. It’s risky of course, because of the nature of the reggae industry, but we are doing it anyway, if for nothing else than to give rise to confidence and empowerment. We don’t mind setting this trend and would be proud if others should follow.

“Just because I’m woman doesn’t mean I am weak

Just because I am woman doesnt mean I should not speak

Don’t make me a victim of this stereotypical system

Because I am woman, I am so much more”

Excerpt from “Because I Am Woman” by BLACK as COLE

JAmusic: Who's the artiste that keeps you on your toes? Pushes you to go harder?

BaC: Some of the artists that keep us headstrong at pushing the envelope are Bob Marley, Jill Scott, Coldplay and John Mayer. There are many others but these were/are consistent with their message and quality of sound.

JAmusic: When you got into the music business where did you think you'd be today or where did you see yourself fitting in at the moment?

BaC: The music business is not easy, but are any businesses easy? Today we can say that we’ve been able to perform on a number of shows including Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival and’s Earth Hour Concert, among others. We have singles out and are working on more music to be released. We’ve also been featured in magazines and contributed to charities. We did not know that in 2 years we would have accomplished this much, especially with limited financial resources, so we are grateful. These are flames that will keep us ignited.

JAmusic: What's the purpose on your musical journey? What's the message you're trying to give?

BaC: Our message is simply love, truth and positivity. Love of every kind is what we need in this world to survive, love will lead to tolerance, understanding and peace. Only truth can set us free and regardless of what these truths may be a positive perspective is always best to keep us on our feet.

JAmusic: What's one song that you hold close to you because of a particular line or better yet what's the most philosophical quote you've heard in a song that you hold close to your heart?

BaC: It is hard to select one quote from all the music that we consume. This though is a bit of philosophy that we hold dear:

“A nice definition of an awakened person: a person who no longer marches to the drums of society, a person who dances to the tune of the music that springs up from within” ~Anthony de Mello~

JAmusic: We live in an era where the average person's attention span is limited to what they want to see or hear. What are you doing differently that will hold their attention?

BaC: We are seeking to reach the ears of a society that somewhat lacks an appreciation for art or even anything too different from the norm. This is not new though, It has always been like this. It is for us to package the message in such a way that we can first get their attention after which we trust that it will hit home. If the music is something people can relate to then it will be accepted. Reggae was exactly what the world needed in a time of oppression and war. Now the world needs love, and that’s what we have to give. All the same, we aim to maintain high calibre artistry while being so different that we will spark interest.

JAmusic: With success comes a lot of negative feedback, how do you react or deal with negativity?

BaC: Mouth mek fi talk.” It is for us to find truth in everything said. If it applies act on it and otherwise let it be.

JAmusic: What kind of future plans have you set for yourself as an artiste (to accomplish and maintain)?

BaC: We want to leave a legacy in music like the greats before us, we want our music to be relevant for many generations to come. All our plans present and future will be the building blocks on this ultimate goal.

JAmusic: What insight can you give on the power of music and its ability to communicate certain messages verbally and non-verbally? And what do you think your music represent?

BaC: Music is universally understood the world over because is built on sound, which is so intertwined into every single aspect of life, from the beating of a heart to the rumble of thunder; and word, which is the closest humanity has come to expression and communication. This is the highest art form and we want to use it to bring love, peace, happiness, joy, reason and healing where it may.

Image A music aficionado redefining possibilities while pushing the limits of success...
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