Reggae singer Conkarah, gets inspiration randomly. Once he has his guitar to play the notes, he will create a rhythm, record it, then begin jotting down lyrics. But in addition to creating music that has afforded him the opportunity to travel the world, the idea of doing covers is integral to how he gets the attention of the public.
Conkarah believes that doing reggae renditions of pop songs, or other genres, introduces reggae to listeners of other genres, and adds value to the singer’s already captivating catalogue. “Reggae music has been embraced by millions of people worldwide, and when I go to different countries, I enjoy working with local bands to share and experience their take on reggae music,” he told The Gleaner.
One particular video that has racked up the numbers on YouTube is his reggae version of Adele’s Hello – a 2016 collaboration with Solomon Islands Rodesha ‘Rosie’ Delmah.
International media had actually reported that Delmah was Conkarah’s sister, which he explains was a misinterpretation of the word ‘sistren’.” Rosie is not my sister, we only met in 2015 when I travelled to the Solomon Islands to perform with UK-born musician Craig David,” Conkarah explained.
“A friend of mine played a recording of Rosie. I was speechless but recorded my part right away then met her two days later at the video shoot for the song. In the intro of the video, I say, ‘My likkle sistren,’ so of course, non-Jamaicans assumed that meant sister,” he continued.
RECEPTION to ‘HELLO’
Although Hello was not the first cover for the reggae acoustic artiste, the official music video has received 90 million views and has held a spot in the top 100 on the iTunes UK Reggae Chart over the past two years (it was at No. 29 in June). Since his recording with Delmah,
He says the challenge Delmah (now signed to Ultra Records, an entity of Ultra Music, which owns Empire Artist Management) faces is that she is still a teenager in school and is unable to go on tour with him, but he has taken an interest in assisting her to advance her music career. “I know how difficult it can be navigating the industry, to gain exposure, and at times it can be very discouraging; I have a great platform, so why not take an interest?”
He added, “I love her harmonies – they are so unique and different, not the typical harmonies you expect to hear on melodies. She is inspiring, to say the least.”
He is currently in discussions with his booking team to have her join him on an upcoming concert in Tahiti in November, but as an alternative, he has requested in the that promoters run a short competition to find a Hello ‘cover girl’ to fill Delmah’s spot on stage. This he says, “gives young, talented artistes an opportunity to showcase their talent”, and he has done so in approximately 20 countries throughout his tours.
Conkarah’s catalogue of reggae covers includes; Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, As Long As You Love Me by the Backstreet Boys, Shawn Mendes’ Treat You Better, and Charlie Puth’s See You Again – featuring another local talent, model and singer Crystal Porter-Jackson.
His musical approach has given birth to the Reggae Covers Volume One album (released in March) and several collaborations with acts such as Jah Boy, also from the Solomon Islands, and Toke from Indonesia.