Everton Hardweare, better known to the reggae world as Singing Melody, is preparing to drop his brand new studio album called “They Call Me Mr Melody” on January 17th (order it at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).
Before jetting off on a mini-tour of Japan, Singing Melody kindly gave us some of his time to chat about his long career, and talked about starting out with the legendary King Tubby, all the way up to the present day and revealing what fans can expect from his latest album.
Q: Your first track (Tie Mi) was cut with King Tubby – in fact you are probably one of the few artists that are still going strong today who recorded with Tubby. How did you link up with King Tubby to get your first recording opportunity? It must have been pretty daunting for a young singer to record his first single for a reggae legend?
Singing Melody: I got introduced to King Tubby’s Studio by Junior Ranking who was a DJ in Kingston. Junior took me to the studio but it was really hard getting through to King Tubby.
I spent a lot of time just trying to get on the grounds of the studio in hopes of being recorded. I offered my services as a gofer just so I would be permitted on the premises to deliver whatever I was asked to get. On one occasion when the legendary King Tubby was away his engineer recorded me without permission. Needless to say he got in serious trouble with his boss. After much consideration and time, King Tubby cooled off and gave me one copy of the song. That single copy went to every dance and was used for every promotion, it was the start of all that has happened thus far in my career.
Q: You have a versatile back catalogue that spans reggae, soul, cover-versions, RnB etc…what other artists do you currently admire or draw inspiration from at the moment
Singing Melody: There are several artists that I admire including, Duane Stephenson, Tarus Riley and my own group L.U.S.T. For inspiration I look to the artists who have stood the test of time and delivered quality year after year like Beres Hammond, Dennis Brown, the late Gregory Isaacs, Ken Boothe and some other incredible artists who have carried reggae music all over the world. The late Bob Marley remains one of my greatest sources of inspiration because his reach and impact on Jamaica goes far beyond music.
Q: It has been a long time since we’ve had a new Singing Melody album. What can fans expect from the new album you are currently working on (They Call Me Mr. Melody), and when is it due?
Singing Melody: My album “They Call Me Mr. Melody” will be in stores and Online on January 17, 2012. It has thirteen tracks one of which is of course an inspirational/spiritual song as I put one on every album. Twelve of the thirteen tracks are original music – most of which was done by live in-studio musicians.
This is some of the best music I’ve ever done, we took almost two years to record the album and it reflects a total commitment to quality and excellence. It has something for everyone, its really is Jamaican music more so than reggae. The record spans Ska, Lover Rock, Roots & Culture, Dancehall, Love & Inspiration and R&B with the song “No More (TA Da)” produced by Grammy Award winging Tony “CD” Kelly.
I wanted to do something different with this album so I used some different tactics. This included a listening session in Kingston before we Mastered the album – there were about 40 persons in attendance. The audience included people from the media, music fraternity and my fans from Facebook who have been a part of the album from the beginning. I wanted to ensure that I delivered an album with more than just two good songs so I asked them to rip the album apart (in writing, without putting their names on the questionnaires) and vote off the less impressive songs. Two songs were removed and 7 of the remaining 13 were voted 5 out of 5. What is left is an album that has been reviewed positively by every single music critic that has heard it to date.
Q: You have a skill of taking an existing song and putting your own unique spin on it to create another hit – “Want You Back” was a monster reggae hit – have you got any huge cover versions in the works that we can expect on the new album?
Singing Melody: For this album I did not want to put do a cover song. In the end I gave in and did “Collide” as a gift to the fans that could be downloaded free from my website for a limited time. Already “Collide” has replaced Marc Anthony/Pitbull at number one on Aruba’s Top 20 charts after passing Lady Gaga and Christina Aguilera some weeks ago. The song is now on most reggae charts and the video is being requested from as far away as Africa and Poland.
Check out the official video for Collide below:
What riddims or tracks have you heard this year that have made you sit up and take notice?
Singing Melody: Rasta Got Soul, Live My Life- Richie Stephens and Collide.
Q: Dancehall has had a controversial year with ongoing ups and downs, what do you make of the current dancehall scene at the moment?
Singing Melody: Well the current dancehall scene has its good and its bad, especially with negative vibes that surround the music now, but we still have good artists who are doing good work still, and for that we give thanks. We have to give credit to positive dancehall artists and take some focus off the negative ones.
Q: You formed the ‘super-group’ L.U.S.T with Tony Curtis, Thrilla U, Lukie D (and later Ricardo Durante). Any plans do something like that again?
Singing Melody: L.U.S.T has had an amazing run and is still going strong. Lukie, Trilla, Tony and I are more like brothers now. We all work brilliantly together so we wont change that. At this time I’m putting a lot of focus on my solo career but I still have in a lot of shows planned with L.U.S.T up to May of next year.
Q: Finally, any up-coming artists that you think we should keep our eyes and ears out for?
Singing Melody: There are a couple great artists both here in Jamaica and in the US that I think will make major impact if given half a chance. In the US is a Jamaican artist called Gregory Cole who is a great writer, musician and performer. In Jamaica some of our truly talented artists are not the ones getting all the praise like Lymie Murray.
Check out a preview of the forthcoming Singing Melody album here: