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Earl Sixteen

When did Earl Sixteen start in the music business?

"Basically I start out under the street light outside my home on Oakland Road in Kingston. at the age of 13 I listen to a lot of American music guys like The Chillies Chuck Jackson James Brown Jackson 5 even the Beatles were big stars of my early days. In 1971 the radio was all there was to play with while doing the chores on Saturday mornings. I used to sing along to one particular song "People Makes The World Go Round" that was one that I new every width and breathe of so we use to gather on the avenue and compete to see who could sing the highest falsetto. I was encouraged by a friend to enter the talent contest at the Bohemia nightclub, which I did in my school uniform behind my parents back. At the finals after weeks of audition and practice I met Michael Rose my class-mate at high school The Tamlins and a few influential people in the business at that time.

After winning with the Chilite song I bought home my $25 and told my mum about the buzz I got from all the cheer that I got .I had to complete High school and while attending St Andrew Tech I joined a vocal singing group with guys like Winston McAnuff Paul Pollack Kenneth Hamilton and Franklyn Waul.During mid-terms and holidays we went to Duke Rieds, Joe Gibbs Aquarius and Studio One, eventually recording our one and only track for Herman Chinloy, The song was called "Hey Baby" By The Flaming Phonics. That was the name of group we had formed. We started doing school barbecues and small concerts all over the Island. We even went on Television to promote the song. I was 15 years old when we played in The Spanish Town auditorium along side people like Big Youth, Mighty Diamonds Tyrone Taylor Burning Spear and Boris Gardiner Happening Band."

"I was asked to join the band as lead singer by Boris because Tinga Stewart had just won the annual Festival song contest and had to leave the band for overseas tour. My first sols recording was penned by Maccnuff titled Malcolm X for Joe Gibbs at this point I had to drop out of school to pursue my career, I went with Boris to Canada in 1975 and when we came back we went to Lee Perry studios where I did "Freedom", after that I went with Winston again to Derrick Harriot to do "Dreadlocks Unite", and Charmaine. I started to become confident and gathered a lot of experience from the band as we played in every ballroom in Jamaica at the time. Over the years I met a whole lot of people in the business like Mikey Dread At The Control Campbell Augustos Pablo and the enigmatic Clement Dodd."

When did you start working with Studio One (Coxsone Dodd)?

"It was about 1978 when most artist wanted to be on the Studio One label as he had the biggest hits at the time songs like "Fight it to the top" the Heptanes, Bob Marley "Stir It Up", Bob Andys "Young, Gifted, and Black" and a host of number one. I even had a chance to meet Alton Ellis and Ken Booth who were the biggest guys in thebusiness at the time. After spending weeks on the steps of the studio I finally got a chance to audition for the man himself. He told me to take some of his records and practice on the Bside as much as I could and the next time I went back I did the monstrous Love Is A Feeling on the Heptones rythme track fight it to the top. That is one of my most popular songs up to date. I went on to do an Album Titled Earl Sixteen Showcase. We still remain great friends and comrades in the business."

So when and how did you come to England ?

"As I was first invited to the UK by Michael Campbell as a part of the Dread At The Controls tour he was Invited by David Rodigan so I arrived in 1985. I spent a small time meeting people like Carl Palmer Mad Professor, Bert Douglas and Mafia-Tone Records who were putting out some great hits at that time. Shortly after returning to Jamaica I met (Wambesi) Roy Cousins and did an album for him as he said I had a little name in England because of the Studio One releases. I returned in 1987 and immediately started to work with Neil Fraser and he told me one day that Paul Daley was looking for me to over dub my voice from an old track I had done at King Tubbys which was then released as Release The Pressure, That was on of the first Auk underground collaboration with a Jamaican artist and it did reallywell for us. I then went on to acquire a manager who was working with Little Roy and Danny Red at the time and he introduced me to BMG publishing, His name is Martin Poole, so from moving with Martin I met Greg Roberts who has a band called Dread-Zone which I am still working with at this time."
"Well up to the time I am currently working on my label Merge Productionz which has a few 10" released and about 8 seven inch 45s plus were are in the studio with a brand new album for the new year, it will be featuring a selected amount of producers etc, Mad Professor, Gussie P, Ritchie Stevens, (Drumhead). Benji Zepheniah. Just to name a few, so We keeping the oil in the lamp over the years and for any further info please contact the web site.  It has been a pleasure talking to you and I wish you all the best in the future. Have Faith In Jah Rastafari. One Love To All. Guide Them Jah."

Earl Sixteen Links:

The Music Of Earl Sixteen - Track List


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