ArtistImage

TARRUS RILEY


Artist


REGGAE

Awarded Best Male Vocalist and Best Song at the 2008 International Reggae and World Music Awards, Tarrus Riley is the most promising of the second generation of Jamaica roots reggae singers. With an August 4, 2009 release of his much-anticipated third set CONTAGIOUS on Cannon Productions, distributed by VP Records, Tarrus Riley reaffirms that he is one of finest singer/songwriters of his generation, irrespective of musical genre. Rileys songs retain ties to the Jamaican roots tradition while still managing to sound distinctly contemporary. In addition, his strong stage presence gives him crossover appeal and marks him as a coming force on the international reggae scene.

Tarrus is the son of Jimmy Riley – who has had a long career as a solo artist as well as being a former member of the Uniques and the Techniques. Like his father, Tarrus has a sweet, nuanced tenor vocal style, he taught himself to play keyboards and several percussion instruments and began writing his own songs, many of which had strong Rastafarian and consciousness-leaning themes. His 2004 debut album Challenges was an impressive introduction to the Jamaican market deserving of a much wider audience. The essential blueprint for what would become a key characteristic of Tarrus Riley albums was made. It is a love of roots reggae combined with a flair for combining broad musical influences from soul to pop that characterised Challenges and to some meant disapproval from the purists. His sophomore effort Parables featured the most popular reggae song of 2007 “Shes Royal”, which won critical praise throughout the Caribbean Diaspora and almost single handedly heralded a roots reggae renaissance, as well as winning award after award including a clean sweep in the inaugural Reggae Academy Awards in Jamaica in 2008. Riley is confident that his third album justifies its title, Contagious.

Contagious is grounded in a roots reggae tradition that is recast with a gleaming 21st century sheen courtesy of the albums primary producer, venerable saxophonist Dean Fraser. The stellar musician lineup includes Sly and Robbie on drum and bass, guitarists Mitchum “Khan” Chin and Cat Coore, and keyboardist Robbie Lyn, and of course Tarrus himself. The album remarkably shifts between smoothly crooned lovers rock and artful Rastafarian declarations, provocative commentaries and dancehalls combustible edge, its cohesion provided by Tarruss spectacularly emotive vocals and reliably inspiring words. As its title indicates, this highly infectious collection of 18 songs is characterized by symptoms of melodiousness, rapturous roots rhythms and hard hitting lyrical realities that are transmitted through repeated spins, resulting in a high grade musical fever from which you will not want to recover. “The reason why I called it Contagious is because I would love for everyone to catch it,” says Tarrus. “I dont want my music to have boundaries of race, age, nationality or religion; I represent reggae, live music, and I want everyone to catch on to its positive, good vibes.”

Standout tracks are spread throughout. Tarrus returns to the rapid-fire deejaying of his Taurus days on “Good Girl Gone Bad” (featuring rising dancehall star Konshens) produced by Tarik “Russian” Johnston. On “Dont Judge”, Tarrus cautions harsh judgments often times leads to reckless actions. Random brutality, war and an array of social injustices prompts the contemplative “Why So Much Wickedness?” A simple yet stirring invocation to His Majesty is expressed on “King Selassie” and the title track “Contagious” reworks the majestic one-drop rhythm from Bob Marleys immortal “Coming in From the Cold”.

Tarrus forthrightly addresses the wicked act of violence against women in “Start A New” (produced by Shane Brown), urging the songs female protagonist to leave her abusive man. Its obvious and very laudable the positive promotion of womens self respect is an important subject close to the heart of Tarrus. Further to that, as a man of action as well as words, Tarrus has established an anti domestic violence campaign, BLAKSOIL (standing for Bredren Living According to King Selassie I Overstanding and Iritical Livity) in which he, Majah , the Area Yutes Foundation, Miss Jamaica 2007 Yendi Phillips and an assortment of artists regularly visit schools and speak to children from some of the islands most troubled communities about the violence which many of them are exposed each day. “We put on plays, perform and talk to the kids about things that touch their lives and violence is a part of that,” he explains, “and they really appreciate that we would take the time to do that.”

Tarrus Riley as a songwriter is obviously a man of words, but with the courage of his convictions Tarrus is also a man of action, who should remain at the front line representing reggae to the world for years to come. If Contagious released on August 4th 2009 has similar impact as his previous album Parables, and every indicator is that the impact of Parables will be far surpassed, then that representation will be far reaching and the genre and geographical boundaries of reggae will be truly transcended.

DISCOGRAPHY

ALBUMS

Title: Parables
Label: VP Records
Release date: 2011

Title: Contagious
Label: VP Records
Release date: 2009

Title: Challenges
Label: Ya Man Music
Release date: 2004

SINGLES

Title: Dub Incorporation Feat. Tarrus Riley / Pressure - No Doubt
Label: Dub Inc.
Release date: 2011

Title: Tarrus Riley / Wayne Marshall - Wildfire / Work Hard Don
Label: Corleon Records
Release date: 2011

Title: Tarus Riley / Franz Job - Warriors (La La) / What's It Gonna Be Necessary
Label: Mayhem
Release date: 2011

Title: Tarus Riley / Stars Players - Stress Silent
Label: Murderer Stars
Release date: 2011

Title: Assassin / Tarrus Riley - Boopsie / Children A Pree Wi
Label: Juke Boxx Productions
Release date: 2010

Title: Tarrus Riley / Elephant Man - Mi Homeland / Man Yuh Nah Deal Wid Love
Label: Juke Boxx Productions
Release date: 2010

Title: Young Heart Reminiscing Peckings Records 2009
Label: Corleon Records
Release date: 2009

Title: Gaza Kim & Lisa Hype / Tarrus Riley & Aidonia - Bills / Di Tress
Label: Tad`s International
Release date: 2009

Title: Chalice feat. Taurus Riley* - Good To Be There
Label: Cannon Production
Release date: 2008

Title: Guessing Game
Label: Road Dog Productions
Release date: 2008