By Shelah Moody
Photos by Lee Abel
“Music is service, so we live in service continually,” said conscious reggae singer Jesse Royal.
On Oct. 5, the “Modern Day Judas” singer, his dynamic Jamaican band and his younger brother DJ Justus, of the Ft. Lauderdale based group Firm Music, brought positive vibes to the Independent nightclub in San Francisco.
Compared to the pre Covid era, when reggae acts such as Damian Marley and Toots and the Maytals packed the Independent, Royal drew a small, vaccinated crowd of about 100 people.
The Independent, like many venues in San Francisco, now requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination upon entry. This seems to be the new protocol for indoor live shows. But it didn’t spoil Royal’s vibe at all. He sang his heart out, jumped off the stage, danced and chanted Rastafari in the middle of crowd. After the show, he signed CDs and vinyl at the merch booth and even hugged his fans deeply and without reservations.
In 2020 in the midst of the pandemic; even Madonna took note of Royal’s style and charisma and called on him to perform at her private 62nd birthday party in Jamaica.
“For us, despite everything that’s going on, it’s important to get the message out to the people; to touch the people; to heal the people,” said Royal. “Music was not just a gift that was given to us; It’s a gift that was given to us to give.”