At just 24-years old, Jamaican singer Jesse Royal has been performing music for almost his entire life. As a youth, Royal would sing in a church choir while his grandma played the organ. By his teenage years, Royal was regularly covering Ziggy Marley tunes with his long time friend Daniel (and son of Ziggy). Now, almost a decade later, Royal has become one of the top artists to watch amidst an exciting reggae revival that has taken over the island by storm, and reggae fans worldwide.
If you don't believe Royal is next in line for the throne, just ask Chronixx - currently the most well-known vocalist of this exciting movement. When making his US television debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon this summer, Chronixx shared his good fortune, incorporating verses of Jesse Royal's infectious roots-heavy hit "Modern Day Judas" into his live performance. The musical nod was in one sense acknowledging that it was Royal's track that originally found worldwide popularity over the Rootsman Riddim, which Chronixx later cut to "Here Comes Trouble" over his own hit. It was also a nod to Royal's talent and that there is more than one singer of this Jamaican reggae revival that deserves a spotlight.
Perennial tastemaker Diplo and his project Major Lazer also recognizes Royal's potential. In 2014, Major Lazer's Walshy Fire dropped a mixtape collaboration with the young artists fittingly titled Royally Speaking. Clocking in at just over an hour, the mixtape features Royal skillfully lending his vocals and conscious lyrics to classic riddims, reconstructed roots reggae, and even a J Dilla beat with fiery passion and flawless versatility. Over half-a-million listens in less than a month later, it's more than fair to say that Royal is a growing force that just might be an heir in waiting.