March 23, 2013
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4/5||Backing : 4/5||Production : 4/5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Although born in London, singer Donovan Kingjay aka Singjay spent his formative years in Lucea, Hanover JA, before he returned to the UK, where he finished his schooling and began his musical education. Then known as Singjay he served his apprenticeship on Youth sound Lord Creation before becoming a regular on East London's King Original and North London's King Josiah, but also appearing on Unity and UK Youth Promotion. Encouraged by King Original's Wazir alongside Robert and Michael Palmer (Negus Roots), Philip 'Fatis' Burrell and Sugar Minott, early development as an artist gave him his first recording opportunities.
Singjay's first release was the self penned "State Of Mind", which was followed by other releases on King Original records including a collaboration effort with Steve Harper (now called Shalom), "Shake You Down" and a cover of "Let's Stay Together". His long stints with King Original, exposed him to a great many artists, producers and musicians in the Reggae music family including Sugar Minott for whom he recorded "Never Too Late" at Blacker Dread studio, released in Jamaica on the Youth Promotion label in 1998.
During the mid to late 90's there were a number of recordings for Daddy Noddy's Yush Records, including songs like "Reach For The Sky" "Stop Messing Around" "Always And Forever". Peter Richards gets a mention with two recordings, "Fortify My Love" and "No More Heartaches", and there's also a track for Mikey 'Robinhood' Vaughn entitled "Nanny & Cudjoe". Again linking up with Wazir, Timeless and Ras Elroy Bailey's Studio 55 label led to releases such as "Half Never Told", "Mamma Africa", "A Change", and "Praise Without Raise". Further releases and recordings swiftly followed including "Survivor" and "Ten Out Of Ten" for General Culture's Stockade record label, for Tommo Ranks' Silver Tone record label "Jailhouse", "Unconditional Love", and "Gnashing Of Teeth", for artists/producers Sistas "No Weapons", and for producer Jah Screw and Wayne Lyrics' Reggaewave record label tracks entitled "Self confidence" and "War Tanka". So it's obvious that Donovan Kingjay is no newcomer.
Donovan Kingjay's debut album "Higher Meditation", partly produced by himself and artist/musician/producer Nereus Joseph at the same studio and time as King Lorenzo's recently released "Stronger" album, features some of those aforementioned songs including "Jailhouse", "Unconditional Love", "Survivor", "No Weapons", and "Ten Out Of Ten". The remaining tracks, with the exception of the Orville Thomas produced "Reggae International" and "Wings Of An Angel", are the result of Donovan Kingjay's collaboration with Sirius Records' Kenny Edgehill and Nereus Joseph.
That the singer has been influenced by Dennis Brown, Bushman and Luciano, can be heard when listening to songs such as "Jailhouse", the title track "Higher Meditation", "Afrikan Pride", "Self Confidence" and "Trial And Crosses". The latter comes across a relick of The Royals' "Pick Up The Pieces" riddim (also known from Dennis Brown's "Whip Them Jah"). Other tracks that are underpinned by revitalized classic riddims are "Reggae International" (Wailing Souls' "Things And Time" riddim), "Jailhouse" (Sound Dimension's "Darker Shade Of Black"), "Self Confidence" and "Unconditional Love".
Donovan Kingjay is a real fine singer, as he demonstrates throughout "Higher Meditation", and several tracks here make for compelling listening. The outstanding tracks feature the powerful sung cautionary single "Jailhouse", the beautiful "Trial And Crosses", the awesome reality tune "Compromising Done", and the uplifting "Self Confidence". Among the other highlights are the herb tune "Higher Meditation", "Afrikan Pride", the moving "Wings Of An Angel", and "Revelation Time". The only song where his lyrics let him down is "Reggae International", making this one a rather weak effort even though the riddim sounds real nice.
Overall opinion is that Donovan Kingjay's "Higher Meditation" is a solid collection of tunes. Withouth any doubt worthwhile hearing!