As 19-year-old reggae sensation Koffee revels in her history-making Grammy win – the first female solo act to cop the award in the Best Reggae Album category – there are a slew of other young and vibrant entertainers taking heed.
Since earning the accolade after her first nomination, with an EP consisting of five songs, Koffee now stands as an example and motivator for her peers.
“I am extremely proud of Koffee and what she is doing for our entire culture and industry. I am so much more inspired and driven – and basically feeling invincible right now,” vocalist Lila Ike told THE STAR.
Lila is not the only one who could potentially grow into wider international appeal in 2020.
Ellen Koehlings, an editor of Germany-based RIDDIM Magazine, offered a gamut of acts to look out for as the year continues to unfold.
“There are so many artistes to watch out, the island is blessed with a never-ending source of talent,” she said. First up, Mortimer covers the current issue (#99) of the magazine.
“He is an artiste that will definitely get more attention in 2020. This also applies to Jaz Elise, who has the leading track on Protoje’s Rock & Groove riddim,” she said.
Giving strength to the young women of reggae, Koehlings then mentions Lila, Sevana and Aza Lineage.
“Jane McGizmo is another woman to look out for as is the beautiful Shanique Marie of the Equiknoxx camp, as well as Nadia Harris McAnuff, daughter of Electric Dread Winston McAnuff. Then you have acts that are still underrated like Micah Shemaiah, or the English singer with Jamaican roots Randy Valentine. They both come with new material,” she told THE STAR.
The list carries on, with acts like Eesah, Hector Lewis (roots percussionist), Alexx A-Game, Blvk H3ro, Ras-I, Giark and Lotosh.
“Then there are Runkus and Royal Blu, who, hopefully, come with full-length projects this year. Then you have T’Jean, Mikey Bennett’s son, who came with a great EP called Testimony in 2019, conscious lyrics on trap dancehall. I could go on and on,” the editor added.
Certain to keep dancehall in the loop, Squash, Khxos, Jada Kingdom, I Waata, Intence and Govana are high on Koehlings radar.
She continued: “Govana will make a serious impact because of his strong release Humans and Monsters are not the Same. These are all names which are already out there, but they all deserve more attention.”
But Koffee is not ready to share any of the limelight just yet. Fresh off her Grammy win, with the backing of high-profile record label Colombia UK, she continues to impress and expand her audience by gracing a range of international platforms.
The day after she copped the Grammy, NPR Music released Koffee’s edition of its Tiny Desk Concerts video series. Artistes such as Grammy winners Lizzo and H.E.R, and John Legend have previously graced the series.
“It’s been a fairly short musical journey and we have seen fairly much success, so I give thanks,” Koffee said, after opening her four-song set with Ragamuffin.
She continued with Rapture, Toast and wrapped up with W.