by Howard Campbell
SOUTH FLORIDA – Most non-Jamaican reggae artists are eager to make an impact in Jamaica, considered by music pundits the toughest market to conquer. Kevens had that feeling for some time, and he has finally made his mark there.
Legal Dreamers, his song about undocumented migrants in the United States, is currently number three on the Jamaica Music Countdown Reggae Chart, compiled by Disc Jockey, Richard “Richie B” Burgess.
It is a major achievement for the Los Angeles-based Kevens, who spent his formative years in South Florida, and has Guadeloupe, French-Canadian and Haitian heritage.
“At first, when I got the news, it felt like I was hearing things, (it) took 24 hours for me to partly embody what it means to be in the Jamaican charts. Being in the company of those reggae legends gave me a whole new level of self-confidence,” he said. “I was told by several of my Jamaican friends living in Jamaica that I am the first artist with a reggae-EDM song they’ve seen on that chart. It feels really good every time I hear that.”
Burgess, who hosts the Up & Go With Richie show on Bridge 99 FM in Jamaica, said Legal Dreamer’s blend of genres, appeals to him.
“The first thing that struck me when I heard this song, was the two distinctive sounds that are very pronounced in the track — EDM and reggae’s drum and bass stylings. Obviously, it’s quite unique and very catchy,” he said. “Secondly, I was drawn to the lyrics and the issues being explored. It’s a topic that is always current – immigration, as there are always citizens of smaller, developing nations, seeking a ‘better life’ in other/First World countries and as we know, that often brings with it, many challenges. Legal Dreamers is a timely and powerful song, both lyrically and instrumentally.”
Look A Girl by brothers Chino McGregor and Di Genius is number one on the Jamaica Music Countdown Reggae Chart. My Sweet Lord by Damian “Junior Gong” Marley is number two.