FREDDIE MCGREGOR – HEADLINING REGGAE IN THE DESERT IN LAS VEGAS - TOURING NORTH AMERICA - JUNE / JULY 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Peter Wardle
King's Music International
This last February 2011, Freddie McGregor was a top performer on the Raggamuffin Festivals in Long Beach and San Diego CA. McGregor is a classic reggae vocalist who travels with his own 5-piece band, three background vocalists and an engineer from Jamaica. This June / July, 2011 he is slated to tour North America with his full entourage.
McGregor continues to headline international festivals and club dates all over the world, including Poland's Blue Note, Japan's Jumping Splash, Reggae Sunsplash (Clapham Common), the Cartegena Festival (Colombia), Midem (France), the Jamaican Expo (performing for Nelson Mandela and Prince Charles), the London Hammersmith Apollo - performing with John Holt and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Annual Caribbean Tourism Week (NYC) and many others.
One of reggae’s long-serving and most respected artists, Freddie McGregor is back with a new (ish) album. 'Freddie McGregor Sings Jamaican Classics' was originally released in the early 1990s, but this new two-disc compilation features digital versions of many historic Jamaican hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s, such as Love Has Found It’s Way and Let Him Try.
Never a man to sit still for too long, McGregor has also started work on another album that is due for release next year.
“Now this is going to be a very interesting album,” McGregor says enthusiastically. I’m going to re-record 20 of my own tracks but with a semi-a-cappella, acoustic vibe, and with collaborations too. Artists like Mavado, Kartel and Beenie Man will all be on the album. Stephen has the responsibility of programming it musically.”
Stephen is, of course, McGregor’s son who - at just 18 - has blown the dancehall industry away with his innovative and exciting style of production. Fusing a variety of genres, Stephen has produced riddims for the likes of Sean Paul, Mavado and Elephant Man, and his style has been regarded by many as, quite simply, the future of dancehall.
“From early childhood, he had shown musical ability, both as a singer and musician,” McGregor proudly states of his son. “In fact, Stephen has perfect pitch as a singer. He's very talented like that. At the moment, he's also the top engineer in the country, which is outstanding. He’s learnt from me but I learn a lot from him too. With the type of riddim tracks Stephen is creating, that really encourages me to consider doing something on one of those riddims.”
Now that would be an obvious move, father and son working together. But what would McGregor - who’s known for traditional reggae songs like Just Don't Want To Be Lonely and I Was Born a Winner - say to his long-standing fans who might be dubious about hearing him voicing on one of his son’s new-school riddims?
“If I were to do someone one of Stephen's riddims, it would be something that my fans would love. That's the Freddie McGregor magic. I know how to make my songs my own. Being on a riddim tracks is not an issue. It's what you do with that track. I think people respect what I have built over the years. But I'm also very flexible and I'm not afraid to venture into new territories. When the dancehall genre broke through in the early 80s, Punanny was one of the biggest tunes. I was challenged to do something on that riddim and I came up with a song called Fever. That went on to be a very popular dancehall song. So I'm really up for a challenge.”
With his career having begun in the ‘60s, McGregor has been around to see the various phases in the ever-changing reggae industry. He is hopeful that “with the new breed of artists coming through right now, there is no doubt in my mind that reggae can enjoy international success.” On this upcoming US summer tour, Freddie McGregor is moving with his whole Jamaican entourage. Reggae enthusiasts in North America are in for a special treat.
BIOGRAPHY: FREDDIE MCGREGOR
Internationally acclaimed, Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and producer, Freddie McGregor, has been moving people with his conscious lyrics for over 40 years. Equally at home in lovers rock or roots and culture, this unstoppable wonder boasts many hits like Push Come to Shove, Africa Here I Come, Just Don't Want to Be Lonely, I Was Born A Winner, Guantanamera, his signature Big Ship and Lock Dem’ Down and Bangarang, both chart topping #1 hits from his latest album - Comin' in Tough.
Influenced by the sounds of Stevie Wonder, the legendary Bob Marley, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Bob Andy and many others, Freddie finessed his talent with early tracks like Why Did You Do It and Do Good and Good Will Follow You. In the mid-sixties he teamed up with Ernest "Fitzroy" Wilson to form the duo Freddie and Fitzroy while he continued to develop his craft. In 1975, Freddie's musical and lyrical content changed with a strong slant towards lyrics of social consciousness with tunes like Mark of the Beast, I Am A Rasta and reggae classic Bobby Babylon. In 1977 Freddie released his long awaited album Mr. McGregor, which contained reggae mainstays such as Zion Chant, Rastaman Chant and Walls of Jericho. This album marked a major milestone in his stellar career and in 1981 his tune Big Ship became one of reggae's biggest hits, earning him a permanent place in reggae music history.
In 1989, Freddie launched his own record label, Big Ship, featuring Jamaica Classics Volume One as the first major release. Part of this compilation included popular tunes like Little Roy's Prophecy and Derrick Harriot's The Loser. Today, Big Ship is the largest and most recognized reggae label in Japan handling its own production, manufacturing, distribution and promotions. To date, Big Ship has produced several reggae artists including General Degree, Cutty Ranks, Mikey Spice, Benjy Myaz and Freddie’s daughter Yeshemabeth. His album entitled Anything For You featuring the songs Uncle Sam, I See It In You and Anything for You, was nominated for a Grammy. Recently Freddie produced the historic Super Stars Extravaganza DVD, highlighting rare concert footage from the 1989 Denbigh Show Ground (May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica). The DVD features live performances by the great Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Cocoa Tea, Barrington Levy, Frankie Paul, Carlene Davis and the legendary Tamlins.
Over the years, Freddie has consistently “given back” to the community in many ways. He produces his own concert entitled RockSteady Meets Reggae, which promotes unity within the reggae fraternity. He also donates to charities throughout the world and manages his own US and England based children's organizations; Big Ship Foundation Inc. and the Freddie McGregor Children’s Fund, both of which provide services and funding to renovate schools.
Freddie McGregor continues to please reggae fans and music lovers throughout the world headlining international concerts and venues including Poland's Blue Note, Japan's Jumping Splash, Reggae Sunsplash (Clapham Common), the Cartegena Festival (Colombia), Midem (France), the Jamaican Expo (performing for Nelson Mandela and Prince Charles), the London Hammersmith Apollo - performing with John Holt and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Annual Caribbean Tourism Week (NYC) and many others. On August 8, 2003, Jamaica's Prime Minister, P.J. Patterson, honored Freddie with the prestigious Jamaican Order of Distinction in recognition of his contribution to Jamaica’s music and culture. His popular tune, Lovers Rock, was featured in the critically acclaimed HBO exclusive Disappearing Acts and Harlem’s famous Apollo Theater saluted Freddie with the honor of being an Apollo Living Legend.
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