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

Racquel Jones (Jamaica)

racquel-jones

At first glance, you might take the arresting presence of Racquel Jones as that of a model or actress… and you’d be right. She’s made significant strides in both disciplines over the years. The first runner-up in the 2012 Miss Universe Jamaica competition, she was featured in the New Caribbean Cinema anthology film Ring Di Alarm and starred in a video for The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games” directed by Storm Saulter. Recently, Racquel has added recording artiste to her repertoire, hitting the studio in Jamaica and the U.S. with fiery and equally interesting music, which is already being quite well received. —Tami Tsansai

How would you describe your sound?

My sound is an unprecedented, eclectic fusion of poetry, dancehall, “bongo natty” dub reggae, hip-hop and intricate lyricism.

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

I’m from the lush, rainy, beautiful, exclusive parish of Portland. Growing up there crafted the core balance of who I am. Mainly because of the people’s ability to understand humility through living with limited resources while still understanding how rich, special and priceless they are — an example set by the place that gave birth to them. Portland is unbelievable.

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

I am humble enough to know I haven’t fully broken through as an artist. But things like having Rory from Stone Love as my producer, having my music played on BBC 1Xtra by David Rodigan; the respect of the inimitable Mutabaruka (reflected in his constant air play of my songs) and being in Washington DC right now recording with the world-renowned Thievery Corporation makes me cognizant of the fact that I’m well on my way.

What were your highlights in 2015?  

Meeting Rory Stone Love and Kamron Winge, who is currently my manager; having Thievery Corporation reach out to me to do a record; and finally figuring out what my sound is.

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

I have no conditions or limits on my expectations for myself and I would hope that you have none of me as well. I just want to make art.

Which artists are you watching in 2016?

Every single young, emerging, revolutionary mind.