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  • Writer's pictureKobe K. Bryan

Richie Spice Talks About New Album, Cyber Age, Social Media, and More

Interview: Richie Spice Marks Milestone with 10th Album, Inspires Youth, and Declares No Retirement in Sight: "There's always more to achieve as a musician"

Richie Spice, A significant milestone in his career (Photo: Jamar Cleary)

Reggae crooner Richie Spice released his 10th studio album, 'Black Man Time,' on September 8th, which also marked his 52nd year orbiting the sun.

Richie Spice, whose birth name is Richell Bonner, hails from the St. Andrew community of Rock Hall. He is the brother of Snatcha Lion, Spanner Banner, and Pliers. Dennis 'Star' Hayes was responsible for 'Killing a Soundtrack,' Richie's debut Jamaican hit.

Next came the Clive Hunt production, 'Shine.' For his debut album on the Island Jamaica label, which produced his first major hit, 'Grooving My Girl,' Bonner collaborated with Hunt.

He later solidified his position as one of Reggae's leading acts with memorable songs such as 'Brown Skin,' 'Earth A Run Red,' 'Black Woman,' and 'Youths Dem Cold.' With his latest project, Richie has not only showcased his familiar strengths but has also delved into new flows and subject matter that may be less familiar to his fans. We caught up with him to discuss his new project and his ongoing commitment to creating exceptional music.

Releasing ten albums is a significant milestone for any artist. The level of dedication and consistency required to persevere through the highs and lows of a career is commendable. Richie describes it as "a great achievement" and expresses gratitude to the people who have supported him over the years, enabling him to keep moving forward.

Much has changed since he released his first body of work and began his journey as an artist in Jamaica's music scene. However, he emphasizes that reggae music continues to play an integral role in Jamaican culture and remains the foundation of their identity. For Richie, maintaining authenticity and staying true to himself in this project is paramount. He explains, "My main objective is to provide the right kind of music that keeps people on a positive vibe."

"Social Media It's a powerful platform to showcase what you're doing"

Earth A Run Red' is one of Richie Spice’s most noticeable songs, not just for its message. Released in 1998, Richie delivers a euphonic ballad emphasizing the need for unity and societal change. Despite the song's powerful message and infectious groove, listeners often find themselves puzzled by the lyrics of the hook - "Ten-year-old a look dem owna tea bread." With Richie's strong emphasis, passion, and high pitch, some have created their own interpretations of this line.

It was a deliberate decision for Richie Spice to rework the song under the title 'Tea Bread'. "People continued to ask me to remake the song," the veteran artist explained. "Audiences would sing along at major stage shows, but sometimes they didn't understand certain lines, especially given the faster beat of the original. So, I slowed it down to make it more comprehensible," he added.

The album was produced by Richie Spice himself, under his record label 'Richie Spice Music,' and distributed by VPAL Music, a subsidiary of VP Records. Reflecting on the experience, he said, "Creating the album was a great vibe; collaborating with veteran artists and producers felt natural, and we went with the flow."

On the second track, 'Cyber World,' Richie questions the impact and control that the internet has on us, from children playing outside less to the deceptions of online communication. "Social media, in Jamaica and worldwide, can be a force for good," he noted. "Some misuse it, but others use it to share their music with a global audience. It's a powerful platform to showcase what you're doing," he added.

He continued, "On 'Cyber World,' I'm highlighting how times have changed due to social media. People hardly visit libraries anymore, and dictionaries are less frequently used because Siri is always available. Social media has many facets, but we should view it as a platform to promote ourselves, which is our primary focus."

In the era of streaming music, Richie emphasized its relevance for artistes, especially those transitioning from a more traditional music landscape. He believes it's his responsibility to keep releasing music and keep his audience engaged, as it helps him remain relevant in the music industry.

Despite his long and illustrious career, Richie Spice has no plans to retire his microphone. "There's always more to achieve as a musician," he explained. "My responsibility is to convey messages through my music and keep my fans focused on the songs' messages. That's something I need to accomplish every time, every day, every minute, every moment," he passionately added.

The seasoned performer has an abundance to deliver on stage (Photo: Jamar Cleary)

The reggae powerhouse is set to perform live in Treasure Beach, St. Elizabeth, on November 10th. He is eager to share this album with his fans and has plans for touring outside of Jamaica."

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