Chezidek is one of the top reggae artists and has recently released the acclaimed album Judgement Time. After his concert at Swedish reggae festival Öland Roots, Reggaemani had a chat with him about his new album and the reggae scene of today.
Chezidek released his first album Harvest Time in 2002 and has since delivered several strong efforts. He has worked with producers from Jamaica, the U.S. and Europe.
He has a unique delivery and fragile voice that may not suit everyone. But he has managed to become one of the brightest stars among the new generation of cultural singers and is currently in the forefront of the international reggae scene.
Chezidek performing at Öland Roots. Photo by Anna Thunander
I meet him about 20 minutes after his performance at Öland Roots. He is noticeably calm and in a cheery mood where he’s sitting backstage with a spliff in his hand.
This is his third festival gig in Sweden. The first two were at the Uppsala Reggae Festival.
− I remember the first time I was in Sweden. It was in 2005 at the festival in Uppsala. A very special occasion. I sat on my knees on the stage praying and suddenly rain came streaming down, says Chezidek philosophically and takes a puff.
His last two albums were recorded in collaboration with European producers. At last year’s I Grade, he worked with Guillaume Bougard from France and on this year’s Judgement Time Dutch Not Easy At All Productions was behind the controls. Both records have been praised by critics around the world.
− Judgement Time has very natural vibes. The producers have a clean energy and they really love the music. It’s not about money for them, Chezidek says and continues:
− It’s a deep roots album and it’s very special for me. Easy and natural.
He believes that his latest album is substantially different from its predecessors, especially Inna di Road from 2007.
− Inna di Road was a serious album. I wanted to reach the people, to move and connect, he says and starts singing Dem A Fight We.
Chezidek has also made several notable songs with French production team Irie Ites, including Bun di Ganja and Mr. Officer, a duet with Lorenzo.
− Irie Ites take music back to the roots and they really love reggae. I’ve known them for a long time. I used to sing with Lorenzo when I met them in Jamaica in 2002. He followed them to Europe. I was supposed to come along, but stayed and recorded Harvest Time with producer Phillip “Fatis” Burrell, he says.
Chezidek explains that Europe has better vibes than Jamaica and that is why he works extensively with European producers. In Jamaica, he says, it’s all about dancehall and hip-hop rhythms.
− There is no reggae scene in Jamaica today. Everything revolves around money, money, money. The more expensive it is, the better. I sing about life and that type of music is not played on the radio or on sound systems. It’s like climbing a mountain backwards, he says, and continues:
− People want to hear the music, but no one plays it in Jamaica. It’s all about the negative sounds. Bad people claim the space and spread negative energy, while the good ones are in the dark.