“Junior” Reid (born 6 June 1963) is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall musician, best known for the songs “One Blood” and “This Is Why I’m Hot”, as well as being the lead vocalist for Black Uhuru on three albums Brutal, Positive and Black Uhuru Live in New York.
Reid was born in the Kingston, Jamaica, and had a tough upbringing in the city’s Waterhouse district, notorious for being one of the most dangerous places in Jamaica. It was there in the politically turbulent late ’70s that he recorded his first-ever single “Speak the Truth” at the age of 13 for the late Hugh Mundell, released in Jamaica on Augustus Pablo’s Rockers International label, and popular as an import single in the United Kingdom. UK label Greensleeves Records followed this with “Know Myself” in 1981. He then went on to form his own band, the Voice of Progress, and after a local hit with “Mini-Bus Driver” the group scored local success with an album of the same name.
By the early ’80s, commissioned by the great Sugar Minott to record a number of tunes on Minott’s Youth Promotion label, enjoying considerable popularity with tracks such as “Human Nature” (produced by Junior Reid), “A1 Lover” (produced by Sugar Minnott), and the evergreen “Foreign Mind”, an uplifting and proud statement which became an anthem to the ghetto youth whom Reid increasingly championed. Junior Reid transferred his talents to King Jammy’s studio on St. Lucia Road where his fast-growing success rose yet another notch. “Boom Shacka Lacka” was his first UK hit and led to another exceptional album. After a number of fine singles – which included “Youthman”, “Bank Clerk”, “Sufferation”, “Give Thanks and Praises” and “Higgler Move”. Reid then launched his label “Jr Productions” with his first single “Settle Down” by Barrington Levy. His opportunity to then reach a wider international audience came with the offer to be the lead singer in Black Uhuru. Always a strong follower of Black Uhuru, and with a similar vocal style, Reid took the group to another level. Three of the singles he did with Black Uhuru “Pain”, “Nah Get Rich and Switch”, and “Let us Pray” were released on Junior Reid’s label JR Productions. The collaboration on his first Black Uhuru album, the Grammy-nominated Brutal, in 1986, was well received by all and during the time he was with Black Uhuru they toured Europe, the UK, The USA, Canada and Bermuda. Two years and three albums later, Junior’s interest to produce material for himself, and desire to regain his domestic popularity, drove him into the solo arena and into his own studio (One Blood Recording Studio), as well as focusing on his own label JR Productions. Reid had a number 21 hit in the UK in 1988 with the collaboration with Coldcut, “Stop This Crazy Thing”. He had an even bigger hit in 1990, with “I’m Free”, recorded with The Soup Dragons, reaching number 5. Meanwhile, 1989’s “One Blood” saw him re-established at the forefront of the reggae scene. “One Blood” became an anthem for unity in America and around the world. According to Rolling Stone magazine (May 7, 2013),
WHERE ARE YOU FROM? WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am from Kingston, Jamaica. A city named Water House.
WHAT’S YOUR STRONGEST MEMORY OF YOUR CHILDHOOD?
Living the ghetto life and hearing myself on the radio while I attended school that was the greatest feeling to me. My music made me who I am today. My music helps me connect with the people. I am a people person who loves to connect with the people. (sings One Bloooood!)
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR PROFESSION?
I love my profession! I enjoy the good and bad because I turn the bad into good!
PROFESSIONALLY, WHAT’S YOUR GOALS?
Setting up my own, being more connected to the world with myself, my son, and my other artists. I want to help build careers for others.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE ARTIST HAVE IN SOCIETY?
An artist role in society is to be mindful of what he distributes to the people. It is a big responsibility to lead the people to the Most High and not the Devil! (bumbaclot!)
WHAT OTHER JOBS OR BUSINESSES DO YOU HAVE GOING ON?
I own rental properties, I have other music ventures that I am involved in, I also run my own night club Club View with my own recording studio attached!
ARE YOU MORE OF A HUNTER OR A GATHERER?
I am both.
WHAT WOULDN’T YOU DO WITHOUT?
My son. My son is very close to me. He is me and I am him I & I.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE IN THE MUSIC NOW THAN 10 YEARS AGO?
I think music is easier to get into because of social media. I also think the machines used today takes away the soul-essence of live music. I say this because live instruments bring forth the deeper connection with the audience and with the artist. Reggae is the music for the soul and spirit. It is original soul music that will live forever. Soul music is the type of music that you can gather around with all and connect with the Most High! (understand)
WHAT IS YOUR FINAL GOAL IN LIFE?
To see the world living in one love. one harmony, no captivity, no hunger, FREEDOM FOR ALL, freedom of war, freedom of starvation, peace for all children one blood!
WHAT PUTS A S.M.I.L.E. ON YOUR FACE?
The sky and the sea, the beauty of life on Earth, the natural force of the Most High, & the beauty of the woman!
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