While growing up in Downs District, Manchester, SumeRR learned a lot about love and family. Those experiences form the basis of her debut album, aptly titled Downs District, which was released last Friday by Bass Kulcha Productions, a Spanish company.
Produced by Ras Kuko, the 12-track set features Spanish musicians including Jonay G. Mesa (bass guitar), Pablo Galang (drums), Felipe Hernandez and Juan Naranjo (keyboards) and Marco Vavassori (guitar).
“The album is inspired by the community [where] I grew up. My family and my surroundings are what influenced the tracks,” the singer explained in an interview with the Jamaica Observer.
SumeRR’s first experience with music came while attendingthe all-girls Bishop Gibson High and Hampton schools.
“During my high school years I was a part of the choir where I participated in various competitions. I even won a few medals when I entered the JCDC [Jamaica Cultural Development Commission] festival competitions,” she said.
Since relocating to Tenerife, Spain, three years ago, SumeRR has been busy trying to make a name for herself on the live music circuit there.
“The reggae scene here in Spain is alive and vibrant. The people are so appreciative of our music, fashion and overall culture,” she said.
Among the better-known reggae acts from Spain are singer Morodo, the Canaman band and Swan Fyahbwoy, all of whom are from Madrid, the country’s capital.
Spain also has a massive reggae festival circuit. The Rototom Sunsplash show, held annually in the municipality of Benicassim, is one of the largest of its kind.
SumeRR, whose real name is Tressan Michelle Barnett, worked briefly in media after completing her studies at The University of the West Indies’ Caribbean School of Media and Communication (CARIMAC). She also collaborated with producers Krish Genius, Asha D, Andy Holness and Damion Keezy.
As of May 4, Spain recorded more than 218,000 COVID-19 cases with 25,428 deaths. SumeRR’s ability to promote Downs District has been stalled by the deadly pandemic.
“The COVID-19 has really affected me. All my shows are now cancelled which means financially, it will be difficult in the upcoming months. However, I am very grateful that I am still able to promote my music via the Internet. I am still able to sing and connect with my amazing fans,” she said.