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?
R: I think people want to hear something new and fresh. Sure people take from their influences but it’s more important to be yourself and create your own unique sound. It’s always a challenge, but once you become comfortable with your own voice, the creativity gets going and anything is possible.
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?
R: Most of my favourite songs are the ones that step outside the genre. I think there is many different types of music that mesh well with Reggae. Reggae has always been the foundation of Rebelution’s music, but incorporating different genres is what keeps our sound fresh and a little different than the norm.
JAmusic: How do you think the album ‘Count Me In’ will impact your growing fan base as well as attract new listeners?
R: There’s a different song for everyone on Count Me In. If there are other listeners out there like me, they probably listen to a wide variety of music.
JAmusic: With every album that an artist releases they intend to tell a specific story. What is the tale being told on ‘Count Me In’?
R: There really isn’t an overall theme to this album. I suppose the reason we titled the album Count Me In is because we’re doing this for the love of creating music. Our motive is to have fun doing what we are doing.
JAmusic: What specific elements do you think characterises the band’s growth from ‘Courage to Grow’ to ‘Count Me In’ that we'll hear on the album?
R: I think we’re becoming more comfortable expressing ourselves. Coming from me personally, I used to be scared to sing in front of a crowd. I now feel at ease with music. It’s a great feeling.
JAmusic: When you look back on the journey it took in creating this album, what lessons were learnt along the way? Be it about individual members or musically (story telling/lyrical composition).
R: We had the option to work with big producers but instead we did things the way we always have…ourselves. I learned a lot from working with legendary recording engineer Errol Brown on Count Me In. He has so much experience and just his overall vibe in the studio was crucial to feeling comfortable recording the album. Big up Errol Brown!
JAmusic: What song(s) on the album does the band hold closest to the heart, that you guys simply can't wait for everyone to hear and why this particular song?
R: Everyone has a different favourite song but my overall favourite is Roots Reggae Music featuring Don Carlos. Don has always been my favourite artist so having him on a track that commemorates Roots Reggae is pretty special.
JAmusic: What do you hope listeners will take away from Count Me In?
R: I just hope people get inspired after listening to Count Me In. We want to motivate our listeners and encourage them to think positively.
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?
R: Probably batting the issues of gun control and our stance on cannabis here in the USA in our lyrics.
JAmusic: Who's the artist that keeps you on your toes? Pushes you to go harder?
R: There are so many but I would have to say all the bands that we have toured with over the years. I’ve learned so much from them.
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?
R: I just always have played music for the fun of it. Rebelution grows a little more every day and we owe it to our listeners for spreading the music. I always felt like my music would be heard someday by people but I never knew what it would take to get the music out there. I learned over the years that the best way is to play as much as you can and enjoy the ride!
JAmusic: What's the purpose on your musical journey? What's the message you're trying to give?
R: I just try to be myself when writing and performing. I really just want to uplift people the same way that music has uplifted me in my life.
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?
R: “They got money for war but can’t feed the poor” –Tupac
This line is so on point. It’s crazy how much we spend on weapons yet we can’t feed our citizens. The priorities are messed up in this country.
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?
R: We just produce music that comes to us naturally. We aren’t incredibly gifted musicians but we have a fresh sound when the band gets together. I think our style really engages the listener to sing along with us which is why our live show is a lot of fun.
JAmusic: With success comes a lot of negative feedback, how do you react or deal with negativity?
R: The haters only make us stronger. People need to understand there will be haters in life and it’s a test to the individual to keep keeping on. Usually when someone says a hateful comment it means something isn’t right in that persons life. A positive mindset can go far. Hatred just sinks that individual in a deeper ditch.
JAmusic: What kind of future plans have you set for yourself as an artiste (to accomplish and maintain)?
R: We just want to get to more places in the world.
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?
R: The greatest power is that it is a language. I can express myself through music better than any interview I give. I feel that music is in fact the most native language that exists in the world. It truly is amazing. I think everyone feels something different from our music so it’s hard to say it represents one particular thing. Music is an expression and it has a healing power. Anyone can do it.