Naomi Cowan goes solo

 Naomi Cowan

AS the daughter of impresario Tommy Cowan and singer Carlene Davis, Naomi Cowan has been around music all her life.

Recently, the Toronto-based singer/guitarist got off the mark as a solo artiste with the release of the songs, Naked and Prepare (Ye The Way).

Cowan is no stranger to the recording booth, having done backing vocals for her mother, as well as ‘voicing’ several of her ideas.

In an interview with the Sunday Observer from Ontario, she spoke about Naked and Prepare (Ye The Way), her biggest projects to date.

“It is a very freeing feeling. More than an accomplishment, almost like a new birth,” she said.

Cowan wrote Naked while Prepare (Ye The Way) was originally done by contemporary Christian artiste Michael W Smith. She co-produced the former with Phillip Myers and shares production credits on the latter with her father.

Both are released by the family’s Glory Music company.

Typical of the modern Christian performer, religion does not limit her sound or musical tastes.

“At this stage, my songs can be described as inspirational, contemporary R&B or pop rock. However, this sound is influenced by my instrument because I’ve been writing on my guitar,” she explained.

Her mother, who has enjoyed success as a secular and religious artiste, is among Cowan’s biggest influences. She also tunes into the folk strains of Corrine Bailey Rae, and the neo-soul of Alicia Keys and Robin Thicke.

Making music, Cowan noted, should have no boundaries.

“Contemporary Christian music isn’t a new trend. Many Christian artistes have been recording contemporary music for years, it’s just that now it’s getting more attention,” she said. “I think it’s important and relevant that music with a Christian message is created for people who like a certain sound. Everyone’s ear and taste is different; we respond to different sounds in our own unique way.”

Most of Cowan’s recording has been on Davis’ albums which include Vessel, Rock me Jesus and Dripping Blood.

A former host of Television Jamaica’s financial programme, Wealth Magazine, she is studying for a master’s degree in digital media at Ryerson University in Toronto.

— Howard Campbell

TANYA STEPHENS – GUILTY (SANCTUM ENTERTAINMENT/VPAL)

2/20/2014
created by Jah Rebel

With ‘Guilty’ Tanya Stephens seems to have found her mojo again. After brilliant albums like ‘Gangsta Blues’ (2005) and ‘Rebelution’ (2006), the self-published ‘Infallible’ (Tarantula Records, 2010) didn’t cause much of a stir: somewhat disillusioned with the music industry, Tanya offered the album to her fans for free and, despite the title, musically it wasn’t really her best effort either.

Stephens turns the corner with ‘Guilty’, an album that was first released by Sanctum Entertainment at the end of last year, but is now reissued in cooperation with VP Records. Tanya’s long time accomplice Andrew Henton is no longer part of the game, but Andre Gordon fills his shoes with gusto. The track list of ‘Guilty’ once again offers that mix of tongue-in-cheek songs about relationships and sex (‘Too Real Fi You’, ‘Unapologetic’, which reminded yours truly somewhat of ‘Boom Wuk’, ‘Wine Up On Me’) and socially critical tracks like ‘Bible Or Gun’ or ‘Broken People’. Just the once Tanya decides on recycling a classic riddim, as for ‘140 LBS Of Love’  she used the I’ll Be Lonely/Those Guys riddim (but the Red Tam riddim, used for ‘Wine Up On Me’, is actually no more than a reworking of the classic Please Be True riddim as well). Our personal favorite from the track list and classic Tanya is ‘More Music’, in which Stephens gives her colleagues in the music industry a stern talking to for continuing to put out tunes that are mostly bland uninspired copies of well-known songs from the past. The queen of Jamaican lyricism is back!

LUCIANO – ZION AWAKE (JAMSTYLE RECORDS/VPAL)

12/25/2014
created by Jah Rebel

For ‘Zion Awake’ Luciano rekindled his relationship with Homer Harris, the man who gave him his stage name and more or less put The Messenger on the musical path he’s still walking to this day.

Stylistically ‘Zion Awake’ is similar to albums like ‘One Way Ticket’ or ‘Where There Is Life’, from the early days of Luciano’s career, but the track list contains just a little too few highlights to make it an instant Luciano-classic. The fact opener ‘Come Alive’ already couldn’t convince yours truly didn’t bode well for the rest of the album (‘Melody’, a song with lyrics that are a mix of Barry Manilow’s ‘Mandy’ and The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’, is another stinker), but with ‘Slavery’ Lucy is back on the right track. Together with Lutan Fyah, Luciano gives the Abysinnians’ classic ‘Satta-Mass-Gana’ a successful update, but The Messenger really hits home with ‘Prophecy’, an instant-classic as only Luciano can deliver. All in all, ‘Zion Awake’ remains a more mediocre release in Luciano’s discography.

Time’s right for Stevie Face

Stevie_Face-Alt-Pic-1

IT has been five years since singer Stevie Face hit the mark with his cover of Aaron Neville’s Tell it Like it Is and the album of the same name. He’s back in the hunt with My Time, which will be officially launched in Kingston Wednesday on compact disc.

Like Tell it Like it Is, My Time is produced by Paul ‘Computer Paul’ Henton. Face spoke to Splash this week about his third album and why there was such a big gap between his previous set.

“We went back in the studio after the last album an’ did about 40 songs from which we chose 15. The album was competed in March but we wanted the right time to put it out,” he said.

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Tanya Stephens is ‘Guilty’ – New VPAL Album out this Week

Published By : Reggae Movement on Thu, 12/04/2014

Tanya Stephens – the revered Jamaican singer-songwriter known for her smart thoughtful lyrics and soulful voice – joins forces with VPAL Music(VP Records’ subsidiary label and distribution arm) to release her latest album Guilty produced primarily by Andre Gordon. The versatile artist, who brought us iconic hits like “Yuh Nuh Ready Fi Dis Yet,” “It’s a Pity” and “These Streets,” marks almost 20 years in the business with this collection.

The 17-track set was previously released digitally only in 2013 on Stephen’s label Tarantula Records and is available through VPAL Music starting this Tuesday (Dec. 2). Stephens touches on a variety of topics on Guilty while effortlessly blending pop, soul, roots reggae and dancehall. She tackles relevant social issues like domestic violence on “Corners of My Mind” featuring Sanjay, spices up her relationship on her new single “Pon Di Side,” celebrates human imperfections on “Broken People” and holds no regrets on “Unapologetic.” Her lyrics are relatable to all walks of life, giving Guilty worldwide appeal.

Track listing:
1.     Guilty
2.     Pon Di Side [Watch Video]
3.     Hit And Run
4.     Too Real Fi You
5.     You Can’t Be A Baller
6.     Bible Or The Hun
7.     Broken People [Watch Video]
8.     One Time
9.     140 LBS Of Love
10.  More Music
11.  Crazy
12.  Never Let You Go
13.  Corners Of My Mind feat. Sanjay [Watch Video]
14.  Get Up And Dance
15.  Unapologetic [Watch Video]
16.  The Beat Goes On
17.  Wine Up Pon Mi