Toppa Top 20: LargeUp’s Artists to Watch For 2016


Micah Shemaiah (Jamaica)
Micah Shemaiah 2

Though he’s been steadily working in the roots/reggae space for several years— releasing his self-produced debut album Rastaman Meditation in 2009, mashing up shows at home and touring extensively in Europe  he’s in very high demand in Europe) — Micah Shemaiah has kept a low profile. In fact, many argue that only true reggae fans, insiders even, are privy to his brilliance, but we had to go there… after all, good music deserves to be shared. The former paralegal writes his lyrics, plays the guitar and is actively involved in the overall production of his music. Impressive, yes, but even more so is his voice. Think of the unique potency and passion identifiable with such greats as Bob Marley, Dennis Brown or Barrington Levy, add some Rasta-conscious lyrics, on-point production and boom: Micah Shemaiah. His reggae/soul fusion and raw, soulful messages are uniquely spiced, yet nostalgic, causing one to reflect, reminisce, even get up and dance (can you say Eezy Breezy?) After listening to his killer Original Dread album dropped late last year, we are convinced he’s set for bigger things. —Tami Tsansai

How would you describe your sound?

I don’t really have a description for my sound really, I have been influenced by all the good sounds of music. Growing up. I tried my very best not to sing other people’s songs so that I would not be directly influenced by their own sound. My sound is original, I think.

Tell us a little bit about the place you come from.

The place where I come from I am yet to find, still trodding…

Tell us about the moment where you knew you had broken through as an artist.

I am not really an artiste, I just love music and good vibrations. I know what the standard is and I strive to be at that standard in music, so as the standard rises, so does the response from the people. Music is but a tool to achieve the goals of the Father. I use my gifts at his will.

What were your highlights in 2015?

The birth of my son, Zion.

What should we expect to see and hear from you in 2016?

This year I should be greeted by the troubles that await the rise of a musical vessel, but within this I still work to maintain my spirituality thus providing good music – as I should be – for the people.

Which artists are you watching in 2016?

I don’t really watch the artistes, I listen to the sounds and the message enuh. From what I hear there are many ones both locally and abroad that are coming with powerful sounds. I just pray the good messages we sing is the trod we strive for, and if the media focuses more on the message than the artistes, then the people will be engulfed with the powerful messages and not ‘star’ personas. Artistes can’t handle being lauded everyday of their lives, trust me. They will act like they can, but they eventually end up with a complex which normally leads to self destruction.

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