Since the late 90s it’s been difficult to come across reggae music untainted from the shift in millennial openness, and the stimulus to ‘un-closet’ issues that were once tabooed. The new age dancehall (break away from reggae) music is rich with one-word/liner, senseless, sexually charged, meaningless lyrics. Inculpably, dance lovers without singing the lyrics enjoy the music because the rhythms are catchy and the melodies hit the spot. In the past reggae songs were the channel used to communicate political comments, social gossip and news; Beres Hammond, Jah Cure, Chronixx, Morgan Heritage and a few others still record new songs in an effort to retain the original intent of the music.
Then came Nesbeth!
In 2015, the emergence of Nesbeth to prominence saw his new hit ‘My Dream’ taking front stage on many fronts. For the first time in a long time we were able to observe an artiste revive the belief in reggae music. Several videos of Nesbeth turned viral on social media circles with him entertaining students, oops — students entertaining Nesbeth, as on several of the videos he didn’t sing a word, the children took the lead vocals. St. Andrew Technical High School band is seen on several videos performing this song. It’s an educator’s dream song, the anthem used to motivate and inspire students. I am reminded of the late 60s when Daddy U-Roy toasted over John Holt’s ‘Wear You to the Ball’, it was at that time the phrase ‘Chick-a-bow…’ stormed into the hearts and minds of Jamaicans; to date the phrase is still being used.
In an interview on Thursday April 28 with Nesbeth after the Press Launch of Best of the Best Concert 2016 at Cafe Iguana, Nesbeth admitted “Leo Bway! The song gawn lef me inuh iya. I cyaah ketch it back at all,” indicating that the song had its own life and had gone farther that he expected. Nesbeth laughed loudly as he said “Leo the highlight of my adult life was to perform at the Prime Minister’s Inauguration.” But it got better when the PM went on stage to perform the song alongside Nesbeth. The artiste said he was in awe when the PM not only joined him on stage but knew all the words of the song.
Nesbeth is from very humble beginnings where his mom assumed the role of both parents. Nesbeth said whenever he was asked about his dad’s influence on his life, his usual response is, “I didn’t have a dad in my life inuh sah, my mother is all I had, my mother always told me to live right”
The most compelling response I received from Nesbeth was his response to the question regarding the happiest moment he could remember as a child. I thought the question was a bit too difficult as he seemed deep in thoughts; I was about to move on to the next question when he interjected, “I am thinking about it, give me a minute,” then he said “I remember my mom who worked in the free zone made matching clothes for me and my younger brother after realizing the we were jealous of our sisters who had received matching dresses for their birthday gift.” I sat there looking at Nesbeth waiting for the punch line and was late realizing it had just passed. His simple response spoke volumes of his childhood.
Nesbeth says the world needs more love to make it a better place. He loves Bob Marley and adores Sizzler; his musical inspires. He also loves football.
In closing, he sang to me what he believes will be another hit song for him; he said, “Leo watch out fi it, it’s called “D.I.A.L” (Devil is a Liar)
Originally published at https://jamaicans.com on May 9, 2016.