Tribute News and Events
Ritchie Stevens: Salutes Dennis Brown, "The Crown Prince of Reggae"
By Stan Evan Smith
Ritchie Stevens is one of the premier vocalists in Jamaican music; he along with Sanchez, Luciano, Frankie Paul, and Maxi Priest to name a few are disciples of the late Dennis Brown "The Crown Prince of Reggae, vocal style. In this interview Ritchie talks about how important Brown is to Jamaican music and his impact on his career.
SS: What does Dennis Brown mean to you?
RS: Dennis Brown is the main inspiration for my career. Growing up I saw Dennis Brown as the standard for reggae music. Many of us listened and patterned Dennis. He was the soulful reggae singer � his attitude, charisma and vibe was special.
SS: Beside Bob Marley Dennis Brown is the second most important person in reggae music his vocal style has been the most successful and defines reggae singing.
RS: I don't know of I would say second to Bob Marley, D Brown was Bob's favorite singer. I would give them parallel respect and honor despite the fact that Bob internationalized reggae. Dennis was an influence to Bob.
SS: Why do you think he hasn't been given a national honor in Jamaica?
RS: Sometimes it takes us to lobby for what we feel deserves for great artist like Dennis Brown.
SS: Mickey Bennett refers to Dennis Brown as the "reggae singer's singer" do you agree?
RS: Without a doubt, about half the music industry grew up patterning Dennis Brown's style. That alone tells you the kind of impact he made on reggae.
SS: If his contribution were removed from Jamaican music what would we be left with?
RS: Certainly not the impact or development we get from Dennis Brown. He was not only a singer, but he helped carve out that corner stone of Jamaican music. We have to celebrate him now that he is no longer here.
Freddie McGregor: Talk About Dennis Brown, "The Crown Prince of Reggae"
By Stan Evan Smith
There was special friendship between Dennis Brown and Freddie McGregor both personal and processional. At the time of Dennis' passing, McGregor was very instrumental ensuring Dennis Brown was buried in Jamaica's National Heroes Park alongside Jamaica's national heroes including Marcus Garvey, Nanny, and Paul Bogle. The mark of a great man is judge by the how he is respected by his peers, read what Freddie has to say about his peer and friend.
SS: How would describe Dennis Brown in terms of Jamaican music?
FM: A true icon of Jamaican music. There is no single artist out of Jamaica who has more # 1 singles than Dennis Brown including Bob Marley. Dennis plays probably the most important role other than Bob in Jamaican music. He is Jamaica's first child star; we could compare him to Michael Jackson, which is big deal as part of our music heritage where Dennis Brown is concern.
SS: Many singers who came after Brown took a page out of his vocal style book.
FM: Most certainly, if you were a youth coming up, your influence would be Dennis Brown, he was the influence you would gravitate to, every one tried to sing like Dennis Brown. You almost couldn't help but try to sound like D. Brown. I personally had a great problem trying to find my own identity in terms of sound. It took me years of work when I realized the only way to establish my identity was to constantly record, which is what established my identity. If I didn't I would want to sound like Dennis Brown.
SS: If Dennis Brown' contribution were to taken out of Jamaican music what would we have left?
FM: There would be void. The amount of babies created from Dennis Brown's
songs take up a good percentage of Jamaican population, which says it all. A lot of the youths born today in their 20's were, as a result of Dennis Brown's music.
SS: You and have talked over the years about the fact that he hasn't received a national award, why do you think this is so?
FM: When I received my OD (Order of Distinction), I said that my OD belongs to me and Dennis Brown until Dennis Brown gets his. Dennis Brown is more than deserving of an OD. Personally, I going to fight to ensure Dennis Brown get an OD. Dennis Brown play such an important role in Jamaican music, that nothing can erase the work he has done. The work that you have done is important because that is what people remember you for. Dennis has to be credited for the work he has done. Dennis is the only Jamaican artist to be buried at the National Heroes Park.
SS: You had a very close relationship to Dennis talk about what his not being here has meant to you?
FM: It left a void in the music and made me have to step up my game and work harder. Now it is like I am working for me and Dennis in one. If you notice my shows are getting hotter than before and getting better than before. I realize that Dennis is not here so I have to raise the bar. It has been left to me and Beres. I am about putting on the pressure and I ain't stopping.
These interviews with Freddie McGregor and Ritchie Stevens is available online at westindiantimes.net
McGregor, Tommy Cowan To Get Dennis Brown Memorial Awards
YORK, January 16, 2007--Dennis Emmanuel Brown’s sterling contribution
to the development and showcasing of Jamaica’s popular culture,
will be recognized again this year at the second staging of a scholarship
and awards dinner in his honour here in New York City.
event is being staged by the Dennis Brown Memorial Organization
(DBMO) of New York, a registered not-for-profit entity dedicated
to the preservation and promotion of the late singer’s outstanding
legacy since 2000.
scholarship and awards dinner, first held last year, will take place
this year on Saturday, February 03, 2007 at 9:00 pm at the Ramada
Adria Hotel & Conference Center at 220-33 Northern Boulevard,
Bayside (Queens), NY.
year’s event will recognize some of the personalities that
helped to shape Jamaica’s reggae music into a world power
as well as the music career of the late ‘Prince of Reggae’
Dennis Emmanuel Brown as a first rate reggae singer for nearly three
‘ever ready’ Freddie McGregor, one of Brown’s
best known contemporaries will be presented with the organization’s
highest honour, the Dennis Emmanuel Brown Lifetime Achievement Award
and for his work with the late singer on and off the stage.
and Son, a son's tribute to Reggae's Crown Prince
Emmanuel Brown lives forever in our hearts as the Crown Prince of
Reggae. His smooth voice and dynamic personality resonated throughout
the world of Reggae for many years before his untimely demise in 1999.
The Crown Prince can never be replaced but thanks to modern technology,
what is certainly the best effort at immortalising the work of one
of Jamaica's most popular singers, is now in progress at the famous
Studio One. [read
up on the final interview of the Crown Prince:
Emmanuel Brown interviewed by Carter Van Pelt
I post this interview, I am uncertain whether this was the last
or the second to last interview done by Dennis Brown. His brother,
Leroy Clarke, and son, Daniel Brown, were certain he didn't do any
after this. However, I understand he did a radio interview in Miami
around the time he spoke to me. Under any circumstances, this is
the last substantial interview given by the Crown Prince. [read
PRINCE OF REGGAE' DENNIS BROWN DEAD AT AGE 42
Reggae legend Dennis Brown, who recorded over 60
albums and 300 singles over his 30-year career, died July 1 of pneumonia.
He was 42.
According to the newspaper The Jamaica Gleaner, Brown began his
career at the age of 9, performing in West Kingston. At age 12,
he was a featured member of reggae producer Byron Lee's famous group,
was considered a child prodigy of the reggae scene, at times compared
with Stevie Wonder because of his early rise to fame as a popular
his lengthy career, he worked with many famed reggae producers,
including Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd, Mikey Bennett, Derrick
Harriott and Sly & Robbie. [read