When I sat down to record songs for my 1st EP – Dubb Play-It Volume 1: The Reggae-Soul EP – I was very excited. Truth be told, I was not sure what to expect. I only knew I wanted to achieve two things: dabble in a new sound that was my own, and have my first record under my belt. So, I set out to do just that.
With the exception of Keep On (which served as the bonus track), none of the songs for this EP were yet recorded. Beautiful, the lead track was already demoed and the lead vocals were to be redone (read that story here). That aside, everything else were freshly written and recorded tracks
How Island Loving became Let Love Take Over
All the instrumentals for Dubb Play-It Volume 1 (excluding bonus tracks) were preexisting tracks. As such, the songs Beautiful, Friends Forever, and Sacré Cœur were all written for instrumental TerryVibes already had that resonated with me. The forth instrumental, which would turn out to be Let Love Take Over, was originally built for an a’ capella demo I had sent Terry for Island Loving which was written in 2009 while sitting on the floor of my apartment in Montpellier, France.
Fast forward from 2009 to 2013, I had performed Island Loving in concert and was getting ready to record it to complete my EP. Problem was, when time came for recording, it just was not working out vocally. I could not, for the life of me get the tone and notes right. Add to that the fact that I was god-awful at recording and it was a disaster. Frustrated, I asked JProjek and Kazz, my engineers at the time to give me a few minutes to refocus.
Frustrated, I asked JProjek and Kazz, my engineers at the time to give me a few minutes to refocus.
With that, I sat and started listening to the instrumental again. As it got to the chorus, something clicked and the words and melody “if you’ll be my lover, I will be your Cinderella, a perfect fairytale, a love that will last forever, yeah” literally popped into my head and I quickly grabbed a pen bland paper and wrote that down. From there, I completed the chorus and started the second verse. The bridge came next.
For the bridge, the lyrics (quite unusual for me) came first, stemming from a conversation with my then male best friend living in the UK. He often described his personality as a quiet storm and based on where the rest of the song lyrics were going, it seemed like a perfect fit. It was.
The last first to be written was the first and by this time Jprojek had come back into the room. Jazz went elsewhere. He was surprised that I had a new song and called me “crazy” and laughed. I asked him if I could record it the following day and he said “yes.” I finished the first verse that night, solidified the melody for the bridge and return the next morning to complete the song. By afternoon when Kazz (who is also my original bass player) returned to the studio I was recording the bridge and he just laughed. “Kei, isn’t this a new song?” He asked. I laughed too and said “Yup, there are more than one ways to skin a cat.” He gave a few dramatic and funny pointers about a particular note and the recording was soon completed.
In loving memory of Kadeem “Kazz” Sterling
Kazz loved this track. He said it was very easy to listen to and smooth. He even kept the demo/unmixed version.
I later went on to perform Let Love Take Over with Kazz and a band of musicians in audition for the Jamaica Jazz and Blues Art of Music talent stage. Kazz was murdered a few weeks later in February 2014 – two days before we were to have a studio session to work on a new track. While Let Love Take Over went on to be a crowd pleaser, it has always been difficult and bittersweet to perform this song ever since. It also took me a long time to get back in the studio for my second EP as Kazz would be spearheading this project and he was so excited to tell about his acceptance into The Edna Manley School of Music and the plans he had for my upcoming records. He never got to tell me himself. Still, knowing he had such high hopes for my second record has forced me to take my time with it. Kazz’s memory has been a big driving force behind the direction of Dubb Play-It Volume 2. He was only 21 years old.
RIP Kazz. I love you forever.