While he made a name for himself as a member of dancehall-reggae quartet TOK, Craig ‘Craigy T’ Thompson believes not every individual can benefit from the environment and that originally being from a group, did impact on the process of making his solo career.
“It can be explained from the perspective of a person’s character; if you are a strong-willed person that feels like you have a lot to share or express, a group will not be the best option,” Craigy T told THE STAR.
He continued: “I don’t advise anybody (especially of this era) to be in a group. Yes, there are those like TOK, Ward 21, and Voicemail that have done amazing work but it is too easy for personal expression to be hidden.”
And for Craigy T, that expression was buried deep that he had to dig it up when he decided to take the next step towards a solo career.
The artiste transitioned from “badness” then electronic-dance-music (EDM) and then returned to the classic roots-reggae sound which he explains: “Is part of the introspection that was needed especially as a singer, deejay and someone that writes for other artistes; I tend to get carried away at times.”
He had major success from his exploration in the EDM sphere with the Put It On collaboration with dEVOLVE, which recently hit more than five million streams.
But his latest album 1 is heavily influenced by roots-reggae.
“It was right after the group split that I touched the gangster-type of lyrics and even though I can still do the various genres, it does not feel like the root and to discover the root of reggae, I had to go back to move forward,” he said. “I had to prepare myself mentally and musically; it took a lot of introspection because while I knew where I fit into the group, and where the group fit into the world, I had to find where I fit into the music world. The dancehall-reggae audience has to hear me go through the refining process.”
He noted that 1 is titled for that very reason; it represents for several different influences and routes travelled to find a signature sound and mold the artiste people hear today.
Craigy T said: “The number one represents the beginning and as a reintroduction to the target audience. The biggest challenge – not sounding one way – is to make sure the project captured diverse moods.”
The first track Issa Jamaican Ting is already available for streaming on all major digital platforms, and speaks to Jamaica’s culture and is heavily influenced by sound system culture.
The full project will be released officially on Friday, November 29.