I was thrilled to meet internationally renowned and incredibly humble Reggae Artist Nesbeth who kindly agreed to an interview with Its Braap. I was very struck by the extent to which Nesbeth empathises with people’s situations worldwide. He really deserves his status as one who gives and keeps on giving without the aim of fame or fortune. And I believe we have captured this in our in-depth interview.
Summing up your bio I would say that you’re a whirlwind of musical inspiration instilling the power of positive and joyful beliefs into different global communities. Do you think that’s an accurate reflection of you?
Yes, I’m a man who uses my Reggae platform to spread peace and love across the globe.
When you were very young you used music to comfort yourself and take yourself forwards, what actually led to that?
There is a style of music which is Trenchtown and this music is embedded in you. If you’re in a bad mood or a good mood there’s a song to fit that mood. I’m from humble beginnings and we never necessarily have we want, we just have what we can afford and sometimes it’s nothing at all- other than a drink of water going to bed. Music was always there in the midst of it, keeping the soul calm, while we’re hoping and praying that one day it will be what we want it to be and not just continue.
Were your parents and your family very positive people?
Yes, they had their differences but I would definitely say positive up to the T and down to the dot. They have their times when they’re at each other and when they tell you this is right and this is wrong, which is human.
Was it easy for you to steer away from the bad side of life in Kingston?
No it wasn’t easy- as you know people live what they learn and you will automatically be a part of your environment if you’re not that strong: so the next question would be: what is it that steers me away from participating in such things? I would definitely say the Most High because I couldn’t have done it by myself, there’s too many temptations available and to see me navigate through all that the Most High was in the midst.
You have had quite a long musical journey as opposed to an overnight success. How have you managed the slow growing pace and have you ever felt like giving up, or just kept on target?
I have always been a focused person and known what I want: so tunnel vision to get where I want. But there are times when it gets rough and times when it gets tough. There are moments when you really want what you want but it’s just not there. During those times, what really kept Nesbeth going was definitely the passion for music- and then I started to think about music in the same way one looked on farming. You have to take the time to till the soil and make sure it is properly prepared so you can plant the seed. When I look on it from that angle I am focused but if I look on it from another angle I’d be miserable. (Laughs)
You created a festival-‘A Nuh Suh Mi Waan Live,’- how did you come by the idea for it?
‘A Nuh Suh Mi Waan Live,’ is the title of one of my songs and as you hear it’s a Patois, Jamaican. In your language it says, ‘I don’t want to live like this.’ This song is really saying I deserve more, I’m human like anyone else and I know my worth. With the concert I was thinking of the kids in the region I live in and I know for a fact that most of the kids don’t want to live like that. They grow seeing a particular life thinking that’s the only way. I am privileged enough to get my knowledge and understanding to know that there’s more instead of just myself where that’s concerned. So I’m keeping this concert not just representing Nesbeth but representing the community. I know a lot of them just gravitate towards seeing the artist on the stage but don’t know the in-depth reason for the name: but I came up with that name.
|With Nesbeth post interview|
Most definitely. I really wanted it to be an annual concert but I just got busier than before. My team now- we’re in the process of putting together the Nesbeth Foundation, and it won’t just be a Nesbeth thing; so it will be active whether I am in the island or not so it will definitely be the Nesbeth charity.
What’s the aim of the charity?
The aim of the charity is to be there for the less fortunate in whatever way possible. If there’s music I will do whatever I can do where music is concerned, and with education, I will definitely do it. It’s just to better the lives of the people from the inner city from the kids to the elderly folks.
You clearly have younger artists looking up to you now as you have travelled round the world and had a lot of success with your music and on-line videos. Do you get feedback from younger artists?
Yes most definitely because I hear them say time after time. Ah Nesbeth, I really want to be like you. I admire your words they’re inspirational. You have sung certain songs that touch us to the point of pushing us to be like you. I’ve always encouraged them-don’t try to be like me, be you and be the best of you. I understand that they’re just emulating me based on what they’re seeing and it’s a good feeling, so I will continue to do what I can do to empower the minds of the less fortunate and hopeless people because once you have hope you have a lot.
I’m very impressed with the honorary award you won- ‘Music Industry Achievers Award. ‘How did that come about?
It’s the result of a number of things put together because I’ve always been doing stuff for the community even though the organisation wasn’t properly formed. I have done countless charity events to help the blind, the sick, the homeless you name it, across the board- local and international. I have done so much it’s a part of Nesbeth, so they decided I’m the man for the award.
Who forms your personal support network- being an artist you have a lot to face?
Mankind as a whole keeps me going because sometimes I come across people I don’t know and I’m inspired by what they’re saying so I can’t really list them. It’s just mankind because when I see you in a sick position I will see how I can assist you in whatever way. If I can’t assist you, sometimes I will feel bad within myself but I understand that if I can’t do it in this moment there will be some day when it will come about. I’m inspired by people and it doesn’t matter where they’re from, it just gives me the drive to go forwards as much as is possible in this life.
|Nesbeth with Eccentrik|
I was very interested to see you have signed up to a London record company, how did that come about?
That was a day in Jamaica when I got a phone call for me to do an interview. My manager Eccentrik was working for a London based television programme called Reggae Showcase on Sky TV. She was actually doing interviews in Jamaica and I was one of the artists on her list; in fact the first artist- it was mystical. When I met Eccentrik she said she had never come across my name before. When we were reasoning she was touched and was wondering how she had never come across an artist like me. She was moved by a couple of the songs I was singing in the interview and told me she was going to do as much as she could possibly do to make the world know about me. I smiled when I was hearing that because I said, ‘you know what, I have always been the type of person who connects with people from a natural spiritual vibe and it is beyond Nesbeth that they are seeing; it is more spiritual. She flew back to England and gave me a call a month or two down the line and the rest is history.
You’ve done a lot of touring now. Are there any countries that you really want to take your music to and haven’t yet?
I want to take my music to the four corners of the earth. I want to take my music to countries that I don’t even know the name of. I want to take my music to places that have people that are living the life. I really want to connect the world in one word which is ‘Peace.’
Do you think it’s fair to say that although everywhere has its problems we all have the same kinds of people?
Problems spell problems whichever language you come across and we do understand the dynamics of life. We have certain problems that will always be an on-going thing whether it’s from the East, the West, the North or the South- domestic affairs and poverty are always about everywhere; people deceiving people everywhere. It might be higher in some regions but it’s going on. It’s the basics of life that Nesbeth sing about so I definitely can spread the message throughout the world. You asked before and I said the four corners meaning that I’m not crossing out any country. I’ve been to America, about 13 states, I’ve been to Canada- probably about four provinces and 6-7 Caribbean islands. I definitely want the world to be my workshop.
You’ve had a lot of success with your EP, what’s the next recording project?
The next recording project is actually in the studio at the present moment and we have so much good material to choose from we’re very confused. I’m not trying to toot my own horn but the type of album and production that Entertainment Soul is putting out there is something I definitely know that the world is going to love. It’s not far off!
I love the fact that you’re putting out serious messages on joyful riddims – a great concept. Where do you get your riddims- are they built for you or do you use existing ones?
Some of the riddims are built for me like the EP where the Riddim is built around the songs, but some of the songs like ‘Joy in the Morning,’ are on a Riddim that was handed to me- it’s an NBR production and you just feel that natural vibration from the Riddim and put whatever you’re feeling on it.
What’s good right now?
I can tell you I have a song, ‘Ole Ganga Lee’ that is doing tremendously well climbing charts and has been well received by the people. My Victory EP is distributed by Zojak Worldwide and I am feeling victorious as my EP is named Victory because there’s no such thing as one feeling sad and putting out a Victory EP! It is about what is actually happening in Nesbeth life at the present moment. I am really and truly happy encouraging people that really love reggae and can’t find that much reggae to help them. I will ask them if they can just go online and find my 5 track EP. It’s a CD that if you love reggae that much you will have it in your collection. I’m feeling that victorious and really good feeling- it helps me remember my experience in Europe- my first really good festival in Germany and my second one Reggae Geel in Belgium; and I have been to Hamburg. The people are musically connected and I am really happy to have played my part in keeping them together. My part at first was planting the seed and whenever they call me I will go and water the seed to make sure that the tree of love keeps flourishing.
Any final comments?
Yes, I’ve come across so many journalists and their personalities so I must take the time out to say a big thank you to all of you because, as you know, you’re opening doors that artists and management may not be able to. We all have a responsibility, it’s a collective unit and we definitely put what is needed out there-out there. Whatever time you have taken out of your busy schedule I am honoured and I am thankful that you select Nesbeth as an artist to spend such a time with, and I will always remember this moment in London, England 20th August 2015.
One Love to every race, creed and colour- Selassie-I.~ Nesbeth
A huge thank you to Nesbeth and manager Eccentrik for blessing us with this wonderful interview.
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