By Maliika Waker
“Open up your heart and your mind,
Am telling you it’s time to realize,
The jah love is real.”
From Try Jah Love by Jemere Morgan feat, Gramps Morgan
Some people are born with unique gifts that should be shared with the world. Jemere Morgan was gifted with a beautiful voice, thanks in part to his lineage, the Morgan family. The Morgan family stands as one of the royal families of reggae music from the patriarch Denroy Morgan, to the Grammy winning group Morgan Heritage. The Grammy winners took home the prize for the first time in 2016 for their critically acclaimed album, Strictly Roots. Morgan Heritage includes Jemere’s father, Gramps Morgan, who also released a solo album in 2012 entitled Reggae Music Lives. His aunt and uncles make up the rest of the group. He’s watched his family tour the globe and shared stages with them on occasion as well.
Well now is the time for Jemere to step out on his own, and he does it in grand style on his debut album, Transition. Jemere has been releasing a single here and there since 2011 but this 3rd generation Morgan felt it was time for him to present an album to the people. This is Jemere’s statement as he clearly displays that he is no longer a boy, but a man, blazing his own path in the world. The album not only features some songs you may have heard before but are perfect inclusions on the album including She’s Gone, Try Jah Love (feat. Gramps Morgan), and Anything You Want but gems such as Good Ole Roots and the remix of Neighborhood Girl featuring Agent Sasco better known as Assassin. Including Assassin on the remix to Neighborhood Girl gives the song a fresh and current feel that can be heard on regular rotation on any radio station. Good Ole Roots is the traditional reggae roots music done the Morgan family way. This song is an excellent addition to the Morgan’s style of presenting reggae music to the masses. The album includes a number of songs for the ladies, one of which features another third generation artist from a reggae royal family, Jo Mersa Marley, on Shouldn’t Have. It’s nice to see here two third generation stars continue their family’s legacy in music together. I love Try Jah Love because it features the talents of a father and son sharing their gift of song with the world. Transition features a second duet between father and son on a song called Celebrate Life. This song fills me up with nothing but positive feelings about our collective futures.
Despite all that’s going on in the world we should continue to celebrate life. I highly recommend checking out Transition. Jemere is starting off 2017 with a uplifting debut album filled with messages of love for Jah, positivity, and each other. I recently got to ask Jemere Morgan a few questions about the new album and new tour with J Boog and Jo Mersa Marley. Here is our conversation.
Maliika: The singles you released so far are on the new album. You have been releasing singles for a little while now. Why is now the time to release Transition?
Jemere: The process of recording this album took a while. This album represents what I’ve been working on the last few years and I feel now is the time to give the world my music. I contemplated putting out an EP over the last two years and ended up with fifty songs. It was then decided that it was time to compile a project and give it to the world, and now we have Transition. The songs I picked represented me transitioning from a boy to a man. It’s basically a chapter of my life I’m going thru. The album pretty much matches this theme. Not every song is an exact match to that but the album as a whole does represent my transition from a boy to the man I am today.
Maliika: I love that you have two songs with your father. One of which is Try Jah Love, which you performed tonight. What was it like for you to record a song with your father?
Jemere: It was like being with them during a Morgan Heritage recording session. I’m always around them doing music. I’m around them when their eating, sleeping, they are my family. Collaborating with my father was a learning process for me as well. To see my father, discover new harmonies and structure the song. Try Jah Love had a faster melody at first but my father slowed it down and gave it a Lover’s Rock feel.
Maliika: You are a third generation Morgan, like Stephen’s son Jo Mersa, is a 3rd generation Marley. You collaborated with him for a track on his EP, Comfortable, and he now returns the favor by appearing on a track for Transition. What was it like recording with him?
Jemere: Jo Mersa is like a big brother to me, he’s family. Both of our families grew up together. The recording process felt natural because we usually hang out together anyway. Just like with my family, recording with him was a learning experience. We learned something from each other. That’s how it goes with recording. Mersa may say you I want to learn how to sing that note like that or I may say I want to get that freestyle down. Learning is natural part of the process.
Maliika: Who are some of the producers on the Transitions album?
Jemere: Markus Myrie (Buju Banton’s son), Riff Raff (keyboardist for Stephen Marley), Junior Blender (Major Lazer Productions), Rellee from NYC
Maliika: Did you write any of the songs on the album?
Jemere: I wrote 90% of the album. A few were collaborations with Sheila Atkins, background singer for Morgan Heritage. I also collaborated with Tasha Williams (favorite girl)
Maliika: You are about to go on tour with J Boog and Jo Mersa. Is this your first tour on your own?
Jemere: This is my first tour by myself. I toured with the family for six years now but it’s time for Transition. It’s part of the transition in not just my life but career as well. I have a big tour in front of me to support this new project. J Boog is family, Jo Mersa is family. J Boog comes from the same camp as me. It’s going to feel like another family tour, like the Catch a Fire tour from a few summers ago.
Maliika: Do you have a favorite track on the album and don’t give me the I don’t have a favorite line.
Jemere: I have a few favorites. Good Ole Roots is one of my favorites. The song featuring Jo Mersa is one of my favorites, Forever Girl, Neighborhood Girl feat. Agent Sasco is one of my favorites as well. I’ve been a fan of Agent Sasco for years so it was great to get him on this remix. To me he’s a legend so it was honor to get him on the remix.
Make sure you check out Jemere Morgan on tour now with J Boog and Jo Mersa Marley. His new, Transition, is available everywhere digitally.
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