Interview with Ginjah at Reggae Geel 2004
Ginjah is a very talented cultural singer, who is very passionate about his music. He’s really a growing force in reggae music, with an ever expanding catalogue and we can look forward to more quality tunes from him. After his performance at Reggae Geel 2004 we did a short interview with Ginjah.
“A GROWING FORCE IN REGGAE MUSIC”
Ginjah, please introduce yourself to those reggae fans who don’t know you.
Well, I was born in Hanover, Jamaica, in 1978. As a youth I moved a lot, from parish to parish. I grew up in St. James, then at the age of ten moved to St. Catharine, to a place called Central Village, where I spent my teenage years. Central Village is a ghetto, a very violent area. I lived in a place where it was gun war. Many of my friends died by the gun and I had a real tough life. But on the other hand it gave me more positive outlooks in life as I not wanted to take the hard road in life. I started to witness things happening in human leadings (?), which made that the concept to sing came up.
When did you get involved in the music?
I was already into music from the time I was born. It was always there. The music is a calling to me.
Many Jamaican artists have started their career with a sound system. Did you perform with a sound system?
Yeah, with a local sound called… Ghetto Rock. Was with that sound as a little boy.
Do you remember the first time you went into the recording studio?
Actually the first time I entered a studio was in my school uniform. I did an audition at King Jammy’s studio, passed the audition and voiced a song. However this song was never released. One year after that I did over that very same song…. “Ink Out Of The Pen”. It was my debut single released on an independent record label called ‘TNTA2ANA’. But the single didn’t get much attention.
I went to Sugar Minott’s Youthman Promotion. I wanted to gain knowledge about the music business and that was the right place to do so. I jobbed there and learnt quite a few things.
How did you link op with Beres Hammond?
Through a bredren of mine who owns a block (?) factory. He sells sand, stones etc. One of his customers linked me to Beres.
And then you recorded your first tune for Beres’ ‘Harmony House’ label.
“War Inna Di City” in 2000. It’s a reality song about what I saw happening in Central Village.
That song has put your name on the reggae map, didn’t it?
Yeah mon, it did very well in Jamaica and then also in the U.S. and Europe. “War Inna Di City” was my international breakthrough… (starts singing a part of that tune).
And then you went on tour with Beres, showing your talent to the people outside Jamaica?
That was in 2001. We went to the Virgin Islands where I did my first show outside Jamaica.
What happened after “War Inna Di City”? What was the next single?
My next single for ‘Harmony House’ label was “Responsibilities”.
A song about…
Speaking about the fathers that don’t support their children… don’t take their responsibility for the baby mothers. This is a huge problem in Jamaica.
And what came next?
A combination song with Beres Hammond…”Rise Above”… and then “People Need Love”, both for ‘Harmony House’.
Must be an album for ‘Harmony House’ in the pipe-line by now…
Yeah mon, the album is ready. All songs are done… just waiting for the right moment to release it.
What kind of tunes are featured on the album? A mixture of reality and lovers?
No, pure reality songs… dealing with all kinda issues.
You’re now under the wings of Beres Hammond and ‘Harmony House’ for quite a long time, but that seemingly doesn’t imply that you’re not allowed to record for others like for example recently for Lion Vibes.
Aaah, you’re talking about “Love & Unity”…(starts singing)… yeah mon, great tune!! You see… we’re working together on a base of respect and don’t deal with a strict contract. So… I can record for others as well… like also for Silly Walks Movement (from Germany)… For them I did “Songs Of Melody”, a big tune on that album. It did very well in Europe. And now there’s “Love & Unity” on ‘Lion Vibes’ label… hope this one’s gonna do well too.
What are you going to do after this European tour?
We will be touring Europe till the end of September… last show is at September 27… and then we go back to Jamaica… Maybe I’m gonna do some new recordings.
Then it’s time for Ginjah to join his bredren, who have already started to eat some real tasty Jamaican food cooked by the lovely Mama Suzie.
So let’s round off with the last question… What’s your device in music and life?
(Sings)… “All I want to see is love & unity. Same blood a run thru you, it a run thru me. Oh heights of partiality, don’t neglect me because of my colour.” …. All I want to see is love & unity… that’s Ginjah’s device.
[After his perfomance at Reggae Geel 2004, Ginjah has etched a place for himself in the music business by releasing the full length albums “Never Lost My Way’ (2010), “Urge To Love” (2014) and “Roots” (2017), and scoring a string of hits including “Never Lost My Way”, “Music Alone” and “Sweet Killer”.]