Reggae Crooner Gyptian plays 19 Broadway
by Elisa Forsgren
19 Broadway presents an exciting live music evening,
Friday, August 8, a full band accompanies the dancehall-reggae styles from Gyptian.
Gyptian’s music in just a few chords instantly whisks one away to the island of Jamaica. Taste the frozen cocktails served with little paper umbrellas. Smell the fresh cut coconuts. Soft sea breezes the skin and the infectious music creeps inside the body and hijacks the natural heartbeat into a relaxing groove.
“It’s a calm, relaxing reggae vibe that Gyptian throws out,” says Amber Johnson, first time listener. “Makes me feel like I’m on a vacation, ready to light up a fatty and get into the beats Gyptian lays down. It’s like hanging out with the homies but very sexy and relaxing.”
Gyptian’s tour promotes his forth album Sex, Love and Reggae was released late 2013. At the base the music is reggae then filtered with dancehall and mixed in American pop. All Gyptian’s influences lend to the distinctive meld heard throughout his recent body of work.
No doubt, Gyptian is one multifaceted musician. Just listen to one of his songs and within find a rich tapestry of roots reggae ancestors, as well as his influential upbringing, and his own style woven into a wonderful combination.
Born Windel Beneto Edwards to a Seventh Day Adventist mother and Rastafarian father. Edwards was seven when he answered the music calling. He split his time singing in his mother’s church as well as reggae dancehall sessions with his father. “I didn’t grow up where I’m limited,” he adds, “It’s all about bringing two things to the table, take which ever you want.”
In Edwards’ youth, a shirt wrapped his head while hanging out with his friends that led to his name. “There I sat twisting my beard and someone said ‘he looks like an Egyptian,’ we took the ‘E’ off and you get Gyptian,” the warbler says.
His parents knew their son was talented and when Gyptian turned twenty-two years old, his life changed dramatically. “My family moved to Portmore, just outside of Kingston and that’s where I met Ravin Wong,” Gyptian says.
“Wong had a little studio where artists would hand out and record, cook and sleep, like a little family, and that’s where it all started for me,” Gyptian explains. It was at Wong’s studio where he was introduced to Earl “Chinna” Smith, the legendary guitarist known for his work with Lee “Scratch” Perry and Bob Marley.
After his guidance and influence from Smith, Gyptian’s music career took off. “Ravin has helped a lot of Jamaican artists get their start in music and he is what really start it all off for me too,” Gyptian adds.
A man of many personas, one being the conscious reggae singer, Gyptian broke through with 2005 hit ‘Serious Times.’
Very powerful and political song was the first Jamaican breakout since Damian “Junior Gong” Marley’s ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ in 2005.
Next Gyptian turned champion lover, who captivates women held breathless in his serenade, the sultry island pop smash, “Hold You.”
The tinkle keyboard sound mixed in faintly summons steel drums and lends a distinctive Caribbean vibe. The hot song, produced by Ricky Blaze, hit charted globally in 2010 and topped Billboard Hot 100 list at 77.
Nearly three years after its release by VP Records, Gyptian’s hit song, ‘Hold Yuh,’ went gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for sales of 500,000 downloads. The success spread to Europe where it has been a sizable hit earning several awards such as Music of Black Origin or MOBO Award for best reggae act; Soul Train Music Award for best reggae artiste.
“This is the Gyptian album I want people to hear,” says Gyptian. “Each album advances my career but this one is Gyptian to the next level.”
Since Gyptian is an international act, many have not been lucky enough to experience a show first hand, the reggae crooner expects his shows will get you laid. Yes, it’s true as he often remarks that his music is made for the ladies and essentially the sexiest reggae show around. “The shows are packed, people screaming – they love this Gyptian wine – I make the ladies’ bodies feel nice, they go home and make love,” Gyptian insists. “You never know if it’s going to outbreak tonight because different crowd, different feel, different performance, just freestyle as it goes.”
Speaking of freestyle that reminds me of another identity rarely seen in Gyptian: here he is freestylin with Snoop “Lion” formerly known as Dogg.
Sex, Love and Reggae features guest appearances from R&B divas Estelle and Melanie Fiona and Soca starts Bunji Garlin and Kes the Band. Global dancehall ambassadors Major Lazer also lend a hand with co-production on the track. The dutty wine-inducing singles “Nonstop” and “Vixen,” an anthem for independent women with a classic dancehall sample from legends Fuzzy Jones and Reggie Stepper along with a big-room club feel. “Vixen is a song for the really strong women, who like to be in control,” Gyptian says. “It’s for all the boss ladies.”
Gyptian’s album Sex, Love and Reggae is certainly getting airplay and hopes to bring a revival back to dancehall in the future. “It’s all about being versatile,” Gyptian says of the album. With his multilayered musical influences, Gyptian has a unique perspective on music overall. “For me, there’s no boundaries in music, pick one, there is a Gyptian song in that category for you.”
Don’t miss out on catching Gyptian in an intimate setting such as 19 Broadway… one of those ‘once in a lifetime moments’ that you don’t want to pass up.
Tickets on sale now online or at the bar $25.00 until Saturday, August 8, day of the show $30.00 at the door. (Show has cancelled.) Now if you recall he claims the women like his Gyptian Wine and if you gleaned anything from the above that’s important, understand this: if you are at his show, you’re gonna get laid.
I’ll leave you with another infectious Gyptian music video, ‘Wine Slow.’ See ya at the show.