Mykal Rose ADD

Interview with Mykal Rose

05/25/2016 by Larson Sutton

Interview with Mykal Rose

Even as he approaches his 59th birthday, and even at 2:30am after a two-hour performance at the Gaslamp in Long Beach, California, Mykal Rose radiates with positive energy. He is as fresh and engaged as the dawn of the new day, which is now only three hours away, in a conversation that felt more like sport; answers becoming questions, volleying back and forth. Minutes after the reggae legend’s stellar performance, Rose took some time to speak with Reggaeville about his new album, the on/off relationship with Black Uhuru, and his role as one of reggae’s torchbearers.

The new album, Sidewalk Steppa?
Yes. You like it?

I enjoyed it very much.
That’s very nice.

You must like it, too.
Yes, of course. Definitely.

You have been an influence on so many of the younger artists. Damian Marley comes to mind.

There was a song you were doing together? On Kingston 11?
That album is out. It wasn’t called Kingston 11 anymore. I can’t remember the name, but it is on ebay and all of them.

Back to your influence. How does it feel to be a kind of reggae Godfather at this point?
We just feel like we work continuously. Our spirit is there. I have that thing about me where I just have to move forward all the time.

In february Morgan Heritage won the Grammy for best reggae album, an award you won with Black Uhuru first in 1985. How does that make you feel, some thirty years later, to see what you started?
That’s very good. At least, Black Uhuru broke the ice, because breaking the ice is the hardest thing, I can tell you this. Bob Marley is ‘up there.’ No other man, no other guy can go ‘up there.’ But, Black Uhuru came and broke that ice and won that Grammy. After breaking the Grammy, the group fell apart. That happens to all major groups. You know how many times the Rolling Stones have broken up, and then get back together? When you are great, these things happen.

And a possible Black Uhuru reunion?
That’s what I’m saying. It keeps building and breaking.

Black Uhuru had a recent European tour scheduled that was cancelled because of visa issues.
No, no, no, no, no. That was kind of under the carpet. You know what happened? Duckie, he has a chest... like... this big. (Rose extends his arm out in front of himself.) He wanted to do his thing again. So, we do our thing again. It’s life. That’s how it goes. Stay tuned because there is something big coming with Black Uhuru.

With you and Black Uhuru?
Yes. In the pipeline. With Sly and Robbie. So, keep your ears listening. You ready to fly to Jamaica?

Get yourself together because we’re going to be playing Sumfest. So, that’s big news. Stay tuned.

What was it like to work with Sly and Robbie on Sidewalk Steppa?
It’s always good to work with the geniuses. I always have great fun working with the geniuses. Always a pleasure.

Do you come ready to…
I’m always ready! You know why?

Always ready for them? Are they always ready for you?
They are ready or I am ready. We always come ready for each other when it comes to work. I’m always ready doing stuff.

Do you see yourself as an artist that carries a torch for reggae music?
It’s up to you. You could say, Okay, Mykal, you’re carrying the torch because after so many years and da, da, da, da… But all I know is the work. You may term it another way.

But, you are just working.
Yeah. I’m just working because Jah work goes on.

On this tour, you have your daughter Angelique singing with you. What’s that like?
She just started going to FIU. It’s her second semester and she made the Dean’s List. She gets all A’s. She’s doing oncology. My other son passed all his exams for civil engineering.

You must be a proud father.
Yeah. Later on my wife and I can sit down and kick back. Watch the kids come and take us to dinner.

For Angelique this is just for fun?
We have a studio at home. She has some stuff coming out soon. But college is first. It’s never too late for music, but sometimes if you run off too early, you batter. You suffer.

I hear your voice as one that could just as easily have been successful in soul, R&B and many other genres of music. Why reggae?
Reggae is part of our heritage. Reggae is African music. You understand? The whole world is Africa. The rest is history. I don’t know what happened, but if you look at the globe you can see that (the world) was one. Then there was earthquake and all kinds of disaster, and mankind breeding greed, and Mother Earth shook up. The earth was one, but the people can’t live together. We have too much bad vibes, and Jah shake it up. We can’t be together all at once. That’s why people are so confused. That’s why the minority is rich and the majority is poor.

Where’s the balance for you between reflecting the world and recruiting to change it?
It’s everything. Open your eyes. Tell the youth to stop thieving. Do something else. Teach the youth. Help the youth so they can breed good energy, positively.
The new album has a lot of those types of messages in the lyrics.
Yeah, yeah. Sidewalk Steppa is out on the street. Good music for your soul.