Sunny reggae vibes will be available aplenty this weekend as part of the Caribbean Beach Festival at Yas Beach in Abu Dhabi. Headlining the event, alongside pop singer Sean Kingston, is his Jamaican compatriot Jah Cure. The show will mark his return to the UAE after seven years, a time which saw the genre make big gains in popularity and sales. Armed with tunes from The Cure, his 2015 Grammy-nominated album, Jah Cure says he is pumped for his Abu Dhabi show. “I am seriously looking forward to coming back,” he says. “It’s been a while since I saw the good people of the UAE. I was there before to shoot a video for a song in Dubai – since then there has been a development in the reggae scene and it is good to be part of that.”
How good is it be a reggae artist right now?
AIt has always been good, since Bob Marley. There have been ups and downs, but now it is an excellent time. You can see it. You see it in the popularity of the songs, the different artist and how they are all performing.
Do you feel that reggae music has become a major flavour of pop music?
I don’t think that part is true actually. Because that reggae influence has always been there. First there was the international reggae artists such as UB40 from England and Gentleman from Germany, but now you are seeing it in American pop music today with people such as Snoop Dogg, Drake and Jay-Z. Reggae has always been there with pop music.
Mentioning Drake, he sampled one of your songs for his early hit Under Ground Kings. What did you think of that?
Oh yes. That is an example in what I am saying in that reggae influence in popular music is not anything new. How do I feel about it? Well, that song also got me a nice big cheque, which I am happy about.
In a previous interview with The National, Sean Paul lamented how artists today are not giving credit to reggae artists who influenced their songs. Do you share that concern?
I do believe that some artists should talk about the background to their music and to spread the word on the original sound. But then again, we live in this world now of online and social media where you can find anything about any song. That depends also if people have the desire to make that research.
You will be performing songs from latest album The Cure. That album has been praised as great comeback. Are you satisfied with the reception?
I am extremely happy with the album. Yes, it got nominated for a Grammy, but for it was more personal because I really invested myself in this album. I wanted to create something that represented where I am in my life. So I took my time in making it right. I feel there is more maturity and growth to it.
Are you working on new material at the moment?
I am recording the new one as we speak. After this call, I will be heading back to the studio to finish this track that I have been working on for two days. I don’t really go into the studio with any plans. The only goal is to make beautiful music and then and see what kind of songs come out.
The Caribbean Beach Festival is at Yas Beach, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi on Friday, from 4pm to 3am. Tickets cost Dh120 from www.ticket-line.ae or Dh150 on the door