Just last night in New York City Shaggy and Rayvon performed at the RockHouse Foundation benefit to raise funds for the education of Jamaica’s youth. They’ve been doing their thing since the late Eighties in good ol’ Brooklyn, where Rayvon and Shaggy first linked as the ultimate dancehall duo, dropping hit after hit after hit along with the rest of the ‘Ruff Entry Crew.’ For decades since, Shaggy & Rayvon have been instrumental in showcasing dancehall across the globe. From their early hits, including the classic “Big Up“—which as far as we can tell was the first tune to popularize that universally recognized slang term—to the smooted-out jam ‘In The Summertime‘ to the history-making international chart topper ‘Angel,’ these two have a natural chemistry. But Rayvon is also a solo star in his own right who shows no signs of slowing down. Why should he? We caught up with Rayvon recently and spoke about how he’s been stepping out on his own. From managing his very own production company, to touring and recording, Rayvon is focused and poised for even more success. After all, to whom much is given, much is required—don’t it? Interview after the jump.
Shilo: What’s up Rayvon? Long time
Rayvon: Thanks for the interview Shi. I’m blessed, and you?
I am blessed as well. Let me get straight to the point. You’ve been in this industry for decades…how does it feel to wake up daily and do what you love?
It feels great to wake up and do music…but it didn’t happen overnight. A lot of work, blood, sweat and tears so to speak
I know that to be so true. Name a memorable moment in your career…there must be dozens of those
One moment for me was on stage singing “We Are The World” at Madison Square Garden with Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Also Kenny Rogers, Beyonce, James Ingram, Usher, to name a few. Quincy Jones directing, and Ray Charles on the piano, Elizabeth Taylor front row…maddddd
Yeah, I remember that night at the Garden. So…you recently made history in Cuba. Tell us about that
Going to Cuba was an excellent experience. I played a free show for the US troops, their families and the staff at Guantanamo Bay. It was a full house..the crowd enjoyed over an hour of some good reggae music. For me it was a blessing, a career milestone. I have performed for troops in South Korea and Germany, but going to Gitmo was historical because no reggae artist had ever performed there before.
That’s wassup. So, what are you currently working on? Any albums? Singles?
I am currently pushing a few projects. The single “Wedding Song”off the Rayvon CD is out now with the remix feat Shaggy. The single “One N Only” is also doing well-check the dance on YouTube, the kids have it lock! I’m also pushing the single “Selecta” on the ‘Kingston 13’ riddim..check out the video on YouTube, it maddd. I also have a brand new single on the ‘Calabash’ riddim called “One More Shot”. It’s a madd club tune, so yeah, we’re working hard
I can see that. So how about touring. Are you still touring with Shaggy, or are you on your own?
Well I’m doing shows on my own as well as shows with Shaggy. We just came off a European tour which went very well. I currently have my own label which is independent. It’s called G.T.C Entertainment which stands for “Get That Cheddar.” I released my last CD Rayvon on that label which is available on all online sites.
Dweet big yes. How do you view the state of Reggae/dancehall right now?
The music business on a whole is in a state of struggle. The state of dancehall is also caught in the struggle. Free downloads, airplay, stage shows, artist, production, marketing, are all issues that can be discussed on how to improve the business. One thing I know is, there are some very hard working people in the business who keep it going even though times get rough
A me fi tell you. Big up to hard working folks like Rob Kenner and many more holding it down for the culture. Serious ting. What does your schedule look like for the remainder of 2012?
Well, for the rest of 2012, I’m going to stay busy giving it to them lol. In October I will be heading to Mexico City, then on to Colombia, Chili, and many more countries after. Busy!