You will always remember your first, because, well, it’s your first right. Live ‘n’ Revive, a Monday Night Jazz Concert series held at The Macau in Kingston, Jamaica, was exactly that for me. I had heard about the concert from a dear friend of mine and decided to take the initiative and contact the producer/promoter of the event. Being a relatively unknown act on the Jamaican music scene, I was invited to open for a more established singer (Brina, Jamaican-born reggae singer based in Scotland). With a 25-minute set, and a cheque in tow, I was down. Plus, I really wanted to see if I could pull off a band set in Jamaica (toughest crowd in the world – all be it would be a mildly uptown demographic for this event lol) when no one knew my name or music.
How We Made It Happen
I had three days to make this set happen and I would need the help of a few good friends. It being an acoustic set, I kept it light, and called on my girl Birdz-I (vocalist), my friend Jay Edge (keyboardist, vocalist, guitarist) and Jay called on Robert Malcolm (percussionist). With the team in place, we went on to have all of two rehearsals before it was showtime.
Much of the first rehearsal featured organising the flow of the show and Jay Edge and Birdz-I learning the original music. The five-song set would feature three original records – Island Loving (not yet recorded), Beautiful, and Move Along – and two covers (Lauryn Hill’s The Ex-Factor and Bob Marley’s Three Litte Birds). By the second rehearsal, Robert was brought on board and we were good to go. I hired a band bus (truth be told he was my driver since my high school days) and off we went to Live ‘n’ Revive at the Macau.
Well, on the Monday of the big event, there was a 12:00 pm (or 2:00 pm… #memory lol) soundcheck which all but my keys player was able to attend. I know, not ideal, but we made it work. Showtime was 7:00 pm and we were all back there a little after 6:00 pm in time for that. I was the last to get there (go figure) but my supporting musicians were there on time thanks to my awesome (and reliable) driver Trevor. My mom came and stayed backstage with me as she often did back then and then it was time to perform.
My set, as is custom, began with a vamp. I entered the stage and got a lacklustre greeting – “good night” – from the crowd to which I replied with a big smile and “you really don’t have to sound that hungry, food is sold here…and some of it is free with your ticket… so let’s try that again.” Thankfully, they laughed, relaxed, started interacting with me, and the rest – as they say – is history. The set was well-received and led to many other firsts – including my first media headline.
The Gleaner Called
A few weeks after my performance at Live ‘n’ Revive, I got a call from a Gleaner newspaper reporter to do an interview about my music, my live performances, and the inspiration behind what I do – thanks t my appearance at Live ‘n’ Revive. The interview was done via email Q&A and within a day I heard it would be in the following morning’s paper. Well, anyone who knows me know that I go to bed at 5:00 am (thereabout) as I work better at nights. Well, when I went to bed the morning of the publication I could not sleep. My phone kept going off (no I don’t turn off my phone at nights as there could be an emergency I have to respond to) and I could not understand why, until I received an MMS with the photo to the left of your screen attach (sans black and white).
Seeing that picture literally made me jumped out of my seat. Not only had I made the paper (as expected), baby I was a headliner *Whoopi Goldberg Sister Act 2 voice*. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world. So many artistes call the media, and even when they are featured, never make the headline. That was a great day. It was thereafter that people would begin recognising me in the streets of Jamaica. Hearing someone cry out “singa” became second nature. Yes, in Jamaica we greet people by their profession LOL.
Anyways, enjoy highlights from the show that started below. One of my very best friends came and filmed it for me! Remember to subscribe to my YouTube channel and the Team Kei Dubb YouTube Channel. Thanks!
Here ya go:
Here are a few photos from the night: