Q: How did you first become interested in music, and what inspired you to become a professional musician?
A: I come from a musical family. I can say that my father was always playing guitar around the house and my mother was singing. My grandfathers were both singers.
Q: How did you get involved with The Wailers, and what was it like to join such an iconic band?
A: I was asked to join the band after their previous vocalist had left. The year before that, The Wailers had played a festival in Holland, and I had done a guest appearance with them. They had known about my audition in the voice that went viral worldwide, so they already knew about me. As you can imagine, being the new lead vocalist of such an iconic band means that I have large shoes to fill, but all I can do is sing from my heart and soul and enjoy this wonderful musical journey and become a part of the legacy.
Q: Can you tell us a little about the upcoming tour, and what fans can expect from your performances?
A: Well, we are going to bring Roots Rock Reggae as you know it and a taste of where it is going. Positive and uplifting vibes all the way! A guaranteed night of love and light!
Q: What was it like working with Emilio Estefan on your upcoming album, and how did he help shape the sound of the record?
A: What can you say about working with a legend like Emilio Estefan? It was intimidating and inspiring. I am sure he will make us sound amazing!
Q: How do you approach songwriting, and what inspires you to write new music?
A: There are many ways I can get to writing a song, either through something I’m going through, something that catches my attention, or someone close to me tells me about their life. But also, a melody in a new riddim can inspire a song.
Q: What do you think sets The Wailers apart from other reggae bands, and what makes their music so timeless?
A: To me, it is the pure honesty and sincerity of the songs. The great hits were written in a way that people everywhere in the world and in every layer of society can relate. These songs were the truth and nothing but the truth.
Q: How has your background and upbringing influenced your music, and do you incorporate any of your personal experiences into your lyrics?
A: Obviously, songs I write come from my heart and soul. So they are always about my life, my experiences, and my perspective.
Q: What are some of your favorite songs to perform live, and why?
A: I love singing Redemption Song because it has been such an influential song in my life. But the more up-tempo songs are always a joy to perform. I am always grateful to see people vibing with us and some reliving old times and even better getting to know Wailers songs they didn’t know yet.
Q: How do you stay grounded and maintain your focus amidst the demands of touring and recording?
A: A lot of sleep and rest. Work out when I can and eat as healthy as possible. I know it will be demanding to be on the road, so I adjust my mindset to being on the grind.
Q: Can you tell us about any particularly memorable experiences you’ve had while performing or recording with The Wailers?
A: The first time I went to Crescent Moon Studios and met Emilio was something special, but touring in Australia was another memorable experience.
Q: What can fans expect from your future projects, and are there any upcoming collaborations or performances you’re particularly excited about?
A: Fans can expect more of the same, but always trying to push boundaries and explore new sounds. As for collaborations, I am always open to working with other musicians and artists who share my passion for music and positive vibes. There are a few exciting performances in the works, but I can’t give away too much yet!
Q: How do you feel about the current state of the music industry, and what do you see as the biggest challenges facing musicians today?
A: I would say that the sheer volume of songs that are released. It is very hard and if not impossible for independent musicians to grab attention. In the end, it is still about how much money you are willing and capable to invest. Quality will prevail in the end of course.
Q: How do you balance your creative vision with the expectations of fans and the pressures of the industry?
A: I try not to write towards what i think people would want to hear, but instead try to keep my lyrics as true and honest to myself as possible.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring musicians who are just starting out in their careers?
A: Have fun and definitely have a plan B!
Q: As someone with Surinamese heritage who grew up in Holland, how do you draw upon your cultural background in your music? Additionally, what do you believe sets Jamaican music apart and makes it such a powerful influence in the world of music?
A: As someone with Surinamese heritage who grew up in Holland, I am inspired by the diversity and richness of my cultural background. I try to incorporate elements of Surinamese music, such as kaseko and kawina, into my music to create a unique blend of sounds. In addition, I believe Jamaican music’s distinct rhythm and energy, influenced by African and Caribbean traditions, sets it apart and makes it such a powerful force in the world of music. Its impact can be seen in many genres, from reggae and dancehall to hip-hop and electronic music.
Q: What are some of your favourite memories from your time working with other musicians and artists in the industry?
A: The fact that I have been privileged to travel the world and meet new people from different cultures and have their influence made me a more complete person.
Q: How do you see your music evolving in the future, and are there any particular collaborations or projects you’re excited to pursue?
A: I follow “the way of the leaf” and let the stream of life carry me to where I fit in. And if I touch one person, if I make one person’s life better of change one person’s life with music…that would be worth lifetime in music.
Q: Finally, what message do you have for your fans as you embark on this new chapter of your musical career with The Wailers?
A: Stay tuned and in tune!