Interview with The Original Dread
During Yaadcore’s recent sets in New York at Downtown Top Ranking with Deadly Dragon Sound at The Delancey and Sattama Sundays with Stateside Revolution at Bar 13, he played several Micah Shemaiah tunes that ignited the dance floor with skanking and flickering of lighters. Based on the audience response to his music, we interviewed The Original Dread and discovered that this artist has a breadth of experience which impacts his music and message. Interview After The Jump…
Charlene: Hail up Micah Shemaiah di Original Dread
Micah Shemaiah: Hail up! Yes I, Give Tanks
Charlene:I understand you and Yaadcore did a big show in Trinidad recently. How were the vibes similar and different from that in Jamaica?
Micah Shemaiah: The vibes were nice because I grew up as part of the 12 Tribes and there is a lot of 12 Tribes in Trinidad. The youts are really into conscious music in a way that is similar to Jamaica. The only difference is soca is the predominant music in Trinidad. Despite this there is the same Rastafarian spirit.
Charlene: How was your childhood and how did you come to realize that music was your passion?
Micah Shemaiah: I grew up with both of my parents being 12 Tribes in Jubilee, Kingston so I learned about roots and the bible at a young age. In 3rd form I was taking the most important exam of my school life and I realized I did not have to study because I remembered the words on pages and even the watermarks too. I realized I had like a photographic memory. I got into music singing with a boy band for school concerts and barbeques. We would sing Boyz II Men and other R&B songs. I learned to play guitar and played a lot of acoustic music. I got into song writing and I would listen to Sade, her lyrics resonated with me. Then I started to do roots reggae and gravitated back to my 12 Tribe roots.
Charlene: Let’s talk about your songs there are so many high quality songs from the new album Original Dread released on Wilty Descendant Music and the first album Shalalak released on your record label, We Generation Music. Of the former, the title track Original Dread was such an interesting tune– what was the inspiration behind this tune?
Micah Shemaiah: I was actually going through some personal trials when I wrote the Original Dread album. Original Dread was actually a song I wrote about my father and the sacrifices he made as a Rasta Man to take care of his children.
Charlene: I like the part when you speak of David slewing Goliath…such an interesting biblical reference, because based on his physical attributes he seemed to be the least likely of Jesse’s son to be selected to be King. Midnite highlighted ”Jesse’s number eight son” in the song “Credited’ too.
“ But the Lord said unto Samuel, look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on outward appearance but the Lord looketh on the heart”-I Samuel 16:7
and “so David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David.’-I Samuel 17:50
Micah Shemaiah: Exactly, His Majesty said David will slew Goliath in these times as well.
Charlene: We can trample the beast with a stone. I love the laid back vibe of the song Eezy Breezy featuring Exile Di Brave…almost thought I was listening to a Beres Hammond tune for a second with the soft pitch vocals over a swaying beat, and Exile Di Brave was sounding like Buju Banton. Tell us about this song
Micah Shemaiah – I’m a vocalist at heart you know, so give thanks. This is an inspirational song that focuses on the brightness of life and seeing the joy in life and living, despite whatever your going through.
Charlene: Gotta say that I love the song “Black, Black, ‘ this song is empowering for black woman because it provides an Afrocentric standard of beauty and promotes black love.
Micah Shemaiah: Most definitely, some suggested I change it and include Browning in the lyrics…but black includes all shades already. I just wanted to emphasize love who you are because they have a lot of people using skin lighting creams for bleaching in Jamaica.
“ She’s My Black Black
How I love that girl/
You make me feel like the best man in the world”
Charlene: “Talkative”- I like that this song emphasized having meaningfulness behind your words with actions. What does Shalalak mean by the way?
Micah Shemaiah: The title of that album comes from a studio session I had with Hempress Sativa and she was really feeling the vibes and she shouted “Shalalak,” which is an expression of joy. Yeah, the whole movement started with Little Joe – Jah Ova Evil Records (J.O.E) – and we were working with him and, Chronixx and the Twin, Gideon and Selah…we were doing the roots reggae together and then Joe died at 25 from a brain aneurysm and it was a lot more of us doing this type of music but there was a sort of seperation amongst the group when only some artists were highlighted as “Reggae Revival” artists so the song “Talkative” was a wake up call for how some of us were acting.
People never talk about things that they really want to say
Charlene: What about Reggae Rockit? I liked the production and futuristic visual, reggae up in space.
Micah Shemaiah: Yeah, Mathias is from Germany and he always produce with some different vibes. So Infinite and I were listening to one of his riddims and just came up with the lyrics. The lyrics describe The Rockers- the swag, walk, style and talk of Rockers.
Charlene: Tell us about the Cannabinoid driven tune, Ganja Farmer
Micah Shemiah: That song goes back yeah, this guy from England name Yush was a drug man but loved music and used to hear us vibing and he helped us build a home studio because he bought us 18 computers and studio equipment and guitars.
When I think about the humble beginnings. Jah know, it has been an amazing journey, to see where we are now.
Charlene: Seems like destiny. What was your first song?
Micah Shemaiah: Wow nobody ever asked me that in an interview before. My first song was called “Our Father,” a real inspirational tune. Just me and my guitar. I want to release that soon.
Charlene: The Lord’s Prayer, sounds like a big tune. What’s Next for Micah Shemaiah?
Micah Shemaiah: Definitely look out for some more videos and a record coming out in March 2016 on Evidence Records out of Switzerland highlighting the Simmons drums. It’s a digital record.
Charlene: Talented musician, vocalist and lyrcist. Thank you for sharing with Boomshots Magazine today, Micah Shemaiah.
Micah Shemaiah: It was my pleasure and I thank Boomshots for featuring my musical works.