Rochelle grew up surrounded by music. The great Burning Spear used to rehearse in her living room. She joined her first band when she was 13 years old, and still continues to share her gift with the world. Rochelle is currently the lead singer of Rochelle Bradshaw & Hypnotion. When she is not performing, rehearsing and recording with her band she is singing background for Grammy winner Stephen Marley. Stephen Marley provided his band with the opportunity of performing their own material on his last tour supporting his latest release, The Fruit of Life. The tour swept the country over the summer so audiences were gifted with hearing Rochelle’s voice perform each night. We had the pleasure of hearing Rochelle perform the group’s new single, Works Must Be Done, in front of pack audiences in New York and New Jersey. Reggae music has a heartbeat that can pump positive energy into anyone that hears it. Allow Rochelle Bradshaw & Hynotion to hypnotize you with the vibrant & pulsing sound of their music. Their lyrics are filled with nothing but positive energy that is sure to leave you wanting to hear more. We are eagerly anticipating the release of the band’s upcoming album
Maliika Walker got a chance to speak with Rochelle about Burning Spear rehearsing in her living room, performing music with her family, and starting her own band. Here is their conversation.
Maliika: What was the inspiration around the forming of the band?
Rochelle: Well who doesn’t want their own band? I love performing and the idea of a group of people making music together and sharing their talents to bring joy or whatever emotion is invoked individually.
At first having my own band seemed a little distant because the musicians I knew were so far from me. It so happens that my brother-in-law actually studied reggae music (drummer) in Jamaica. So when he moved back to Arkansas in 2013 I knew I had my band. I was already working with a guitarist named Matt Smith. We had our eye on a few drummers but once Lawrence Newmark came back I knew we had the right fit. Soon we had Jason Ward, Jake Cranston & Evan Alvarado.
Maliika: How long have you been recording music, with or without the band?
Rochelle: Well I have been recording music for over twelve years. I’ve had a few songs play on the radio. I have also recorded songs with Luciano, Anthony B, and Sizzla. My song with Sizzla, Touch Me, was included on one of his most popular albums The Real Thing. So, yes, I’ve been around.
Maliika: You also sang backup for Garnett Silk correct?
Rochelle: That was actually my first gig. My family band ( Axx of Jahpostles) was his backing band and when he needed a backup singer my uncle recommended me. That is how my backup vocal career began. I however only worked with him only for a year before his untimely death.
I’m from a musical family so music’s always surrounded me. Both my father and uncle recorded and toured with the great Burning Spear until the late 80’s. In fact I had a total of three family members that played in Burning Spear’s band and rehearsals were held at our home, then 20 years later I was blessed with opportunity of singing harmonies on several of Burning Spear’s Albums including his Grammy winning album Calling Rastafari.
Maliika: Do you recall when you started to feel confident about your voice?
Rochelle: I never saw myself as a singer but I sang because everyone in my family did including my sisters and my cousins. We were in the church choir and sung for the family band, it was just something we did. I joined my first band when I was thirteen years old, I was shy. I’d sing thru clenched teeth most times. Truth is I saw myself being a computer analyst but singing & performing became my world, my reality, so I increased my focus there. Feelings of confidence only came after years of singing in hotels in Ocho Rios six nights a week. I also started doing harmonies and solo recordings at Grove Studios by Irie FM radio station. It was nonstop music and I soaked it all in happily.
I don’t know if one is ever truly confident though. For me it’s getting to that place where I feel a total embrace of the moment, when all elements connect and I feel safe to explore the flowing energy.
Maliika: So you didn’t believe you could earn a living in music until you performed at the hotels in Ocho Rios?
Rochelle: Yes, music was always something I loved but I didn’t think I would be earning a living from it. I’d grown up with music been surrounded by it my entire life but I never took it seriously as a career until then.
Maliika: How long has your band been performing in Arkansas and do you guys perform outside of the state?
Rochelle: The band is pretty new, recently formed in 2013. We’ve performed solely in Arkansas but that will soon change after releasing our debut album. We are constantly working on our sound through a lot of practice and performing so can’t wait to present ourselves to the world.
Maliika: As you guys work on your sound do you have a time table on when you will release music to the public. I know you just released a single.
Rochelle: Yes, our single Works Must Be Done (mixed & mastered by the legendary Errol Brown) is available on iTunes, CDbaby, Spotify, Amazon and other outlets. We’re currently in the studio working on our debut album hoping to be released in late spring. We’ve been discussing releasing a second single in a few months also.
Maliika: What is the vision for the band?
Rochelle: We just want to explore all areas of the music we are doing with the core being roots reggae. We just want to be true to the music we are doing. We want to take it as far as performing good music can take us. The type of music anyone can appreciate. Not just the beat but the lyrics also. We are hoping people walk away feeling good with some positive thoughts.