Protoje: bringing 'that something'

Since his emergence on the local music scene last summer, budding reggae artist Oje Ollivierre, otherwise known as Protoje, has made quite an impression on Caribbean music lovers as well as industry insiders.

Ollivierre was one of those persons who was born in the 1980s but wished he was born in the '60s because of his love for vintage reggae music.

The artiste who hails from St Elizabeth said he is happy with his music and thinks it is unique.

"It's not really a present-day sound but it offers me the opportunity to experiment with music while at the same time bringing a vintage sound to it. That's the type of music I grew up on and that's what I want to do, but it's just that it's not the norm right now," he said.

Protoje's music can be classified as dubstyle reggae.

"There's a bit of dub in the music, there's a rock guitarist in the band and my writing style represents the subtle hip-hop aspect so when all of them are fused you get a unique sound," he said.

The singer has been busy. He recently released two new music videos for his singles Dread and JA. Apart from that, he has been in the studio with his cousin, chart-topping producer Donovan 'Don Corleon' Bennett, working on his debut album, The Seven Year Itch. The album, he said, should be ready for release by the end of summer.

According to Protoje, the sky is the limit but he hopes to start travelling soon. "I want to start travelling and getting on the road, as well as working on other album concepts although it's more about getting on the road now," he said.

"The response of the people has been so good. I think it is time to take it to the streets. The most common thing that I have heard from people about my music is that it is different. Even established entertainers tell me that and it really means a lot because I am trying to be as different as possible while at the same time keeping the message positive."

Importance of online market

Although touring is important and he really wants to start that soon, Protoje shared with The Sunday Gleaner the importance of having an online market.

"I'm really trying to get an online presence, just in case I can't get to a place, the content is available. We make the music readily accessible so that they can artistically interpret the songs. Apart from that, though, the main focus is the live performances with my band, Indiggnation," said the reggae artiste.

Protoje is unlike every other artiste. The singer draws his experiences from the spirit and everything else around him. According to him, "As an artiste you can't draw from life experiences only, but you also have to be extremely observant because there are always things out there to inspire you. For me, the music (the rhythm) has to inspire me and if I don't get that from the music them I will not write any songs on that music. That is why I don't write on every piece of music," he explained.

"To be totally honest, I write on 30 per cent of the music that I get because it has to inspire me."

Protoje doesn't stake his claim on just being a singer but he hopes to produce for other artistes as well.

While he is working on his craft, he is asking for all to support live music.

article posted by:Jerome O Hamilton, Headline Entertainment