With material from a media release:
I Wayne at Harbourfront Toronto
August 3, 2013
TORONTO - I checked out I-Wayne at Harbourfront last night - along with a packed crowd that seemed to know most of the words to his songs.
From his official bio:
In the summer of 2004 a new and powerfully distinct voice emerged on the reggae music scene. With a fresh timbre, substantive lyrics, and a passionate performance, this singer almost single handedly led a new wave of roots and culture reggae music that swept the island of Jamaica.
I Wayne, born Cliffroy Taylor in the working class Kingston suburb of Portmore, Jamaica, officially hit the international scene with his #1 hit “Can’t Satisfy Her,” the first track by a cultural reggae artist to be added to Hot 97 in New York, a station noted for its hip hop preference. The tune then caught on in several markets and spent over 22 weeks on the Billboard Hip Hop/R&B Hot 100 chart. I Wayne followed up that fiery description of a desperate Jamaican reality comprised of prostitution, poverty, and sexually transmitted diseases with “Living in Love” on the Stephen Gibbs and Errol Thompson-produced Hard Times riddim.
It may seem as if I Wayne suddenly burst onto the scene, but the 28 year old has been refining his craft since age 7. Coming from a musical family, it’s not surprising that I Wayne’s first performance venture with local group Vibes Machine took place when he was a student at Greater Portmore High School.
His distinctively fluid yet controlled vocals won him a record deal with VP Records in 2004, and his debut album, “Lava Ground,” hit stores in the summer of 2005. It yielded two hit singles, “Can’t Satisfy Her” and “Living in Love,” as well as the critically praised title track. I Wayne’s meteroic rise and his lyrical gift for piercing the veils that cloak Babylonian hypocrisies sparked a new wave of enthusiasm among the industry for this young generation of roots and culture singers and songwriters and eager anticipation for his second set, The Book of Life (releasing November 6).
This time around, a set of spare, light-as-air roots instrumentals, produced by the finest of Jamaica’s young mixing board talents, provides an elegant showcase for I Wayne’s even more dazzling singing/chanting, richer melodies, and more penetrating lyrics. Says Neil Edwards, the project’s executive producer, “For the past year, a lot of artists have been glorifying death and destruction, so I Wayne flipped that and focused on life.”
Where many are didactic and full of condemnation, this time around, I Wayne simply wants to remind listeners of an essential truth—that life is a gift for which we can be grateful. “I just praise life, just deal with it naturally,” says I Wayne. “There’s nothing wrong with praising the sun, moon and stars and the wind, and all that create balance. Life is love and love is life.”