Zamunda speak on his upcoming album and a new song with Skillibeng.
There is hope for dancehall musicians even as the world continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic. That’s according to renowned artist Zamunda, who appeared on Onstage on July 3. While speaking with host Winford Williams, he explained that if it weren’t for the pandemic, he would not have been able to focus on making more music. He added that his collaboration with Popcaan and Dre Island, a remake of his 2009 classic, “Jah Love Surrounds Me,” may not have happened under normal circumstances.
He explained that this is because many artists are often touring around the world, and it’s difficult to get everyone together at any time. The track, which debuted on YouTube in February, already has over three million views. It’s a testament to how collaborations can help, as the original song has just over 380,000 views.
Since the start of the pandemic, he’s been able to record so much music that he revealed he would be releasing a live studio album soon. It has already been finished and was produced by him. In addition to this, he’s continuing on the road to unity and has a track out with up-and-coming dancehall artist, Skillibeng.
“Wi a drop couple collabs, couple singles… I have a thing now a come out wid Skilli and we have di album now weh finish and complete yah now; a live studio album produced by me,” he shared.
He also explained a bit more about how the collaboration with Popcaan and Dre Island came to be. It was actually born out of a clash that he and Popcaan were having at the time. As they were going tune-for-tune, he said Popcaan said he would play one more to end the clash, and that track was “Jah Love Surround Me”. Zamunda, real name Christopher Gayle said the crowd they were playing for, went crazy, and this inspired Popcaan.
“Was just an energy, and it was just a vibe and it really wasn’t a planned thing either, we just decide that the song is a classic and we gonna remake it.” Having the three well-known artists collaborate on the same song showed the “strength, power and unity” that is needed in dancehall.
He further explained that after returning home, he called Popcaan at 5 am and said they should remake the song and the “Unruly Boss” agreed. From there, Dre Island fell in. That happened while they started recording and Popcaan got the idea at 3 am.
The song has inspired many people since its release. He shared a story where a man walked up to him crying and let him know that the song had given him the courage to go on. “I even get emotional sometimes when you know … the way how people relate to the song.”
When it comes to unity in dancehall, the change is not always the right one, but in this case, it’s heading in the right direction, he believes.
“Honestly, I think we as Jamaica artiste we need to put di ego aside because is like I see more ego dan music, and we have to bow to di music and know seh is what give us everything and di music is what done every given thing for us, so at no given time, wi caan feel wi more dan di music,” he said.
For dancehall to truly move forward, artists must continue to put their egos aside.
“Like for instance yuh reach out to a artiste and seh: ‘I am doing an album; I would like you on it, and a artiste a guh seh: ‘yow him bigga dan you, or him have a bigger fan base dan you. It doesn’t matter. Everybody have a fan base no matter how big or how small it is…,” he said.
He added: “Wi need more collaboration, more unity inna di music and since di Jah Love Surround Me remake forward out wid me, Popcaan and Dre Island I even see more Jamaican artiste doing collabs right now, all three artiste on songs.”
Unity is the only way forward, even if that means artists like Drake, Rihanna, and Justin Beiber have to come together in the studio and work on the same song, he went on to say.