Fri | Aug 7, 2020

Message of hope, unity on ‘Stronger Remix’

Published:Wednesday | July 1, 2020 | 12:00 AMYasmine Peru/Senior Gleaner Writer
Tessanne Chin
Richie Stephens
Jessica Yap
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Some of the biggest names in reggae, dancehall and classical music have united to let their voices be heard, clear and strong, on an inspiring remix of gospel singer Kevin Downswell’s 2012 hit, Stronger. Jessica Yap, Bounty Killer, Wayne Marshall, Sherieta Lewis, Tessanne Chin, Beenie Man, Christopher Martin, Singer J, Richie Stephens, Kemar Highcon, DJ Bambino and, of course, Downswell are all featured on the project. An initiative by fast-food chain KFC, in partnership with Kevin Downswell Records and Bambino Muzik, the remix is said to be “a collaborative effort to bring hope, strength and inspiration”.

Downswell told The Gleaner that the collab had its genesis in a conversation he and his wife had with marketing director of KFC Tina Matalon.

Birth of Remix

“During the conversation, she said very plainly that she felt the burden of what people were going through, and that she wanted to do something that could be used to bring inspiration to everyone during these challenging times. Stronger Remix was born, right there and then. It just felt like the perfect song to revisit, because it’s loved by so many,” he said.

DJ Bambino was chosen as the producer, and he also helped to decide on the artistes and to make contact. “It was a great experience writing and producing this remix for this already-amazing song, Stronger, especially working with this group of super talented artistes who were all excited to work on the project. Maximum respect to Kevin Downswell and KFC for including me. This song will definitely bring hope, confidence and pride to our already-strong nation and people,” he told The Gleaner.

Downswell says he’s elated with the outcome of both the song and the powerful visuals, and from the comments posted by viewers, the Stronger Remix has struck the right note. Among the comments on the video, which was uploaded to music-sharing platform, YouTube, on Sunday are: “Big up, big up. Unity, this is what we need in Jamaica. I love this, I love this. We shall overcome!”

“I love this. It brings tears to my eyes. I love the unity. If someone did tell me about this happening I would not believe. Proud till mi buck!”

The music video opens with a spine-chilling violin solo from Jessica Yap and from there, each artiste takes centre stage to deliver his or her lines, which all pierce the heart of the matter, ‘stronger together’. Additionally, Bounty Killer, proudly wearing a ‘Black Lives Matter’ T-shirt, also shines the spotlight on the current movement sweeping the world, as black people march for human rights and justice.

Downswell mentioned that on the set, there was “an atmosphere of unity and oneness” that was definitely special. “There were absolutely no tense moments. All the artistes did their part as if it really meant something to them. It was genuine, it was real.”

According to him, the original goal was for the song to be beacon of hope and inspiration. “When the track was completed, I prayed a prayer over it and said, ‘God, I dedicate this to you. Do whatever you wanna do with it, for your glory.’ So, while we do our part in pushing and promoting it, it’s really something I’ve dedicated to God for Him to use whatever way He likes. No limits, no boundaries.”

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com