Since Reggae music - in its earliest form - emerged in the late '60s it has been blessed with many a talented artist who have passed away prematurely and Garnet Silk definitely is one such artist. Garnet Damion Smith, born 2nd of April 1966 to Etaga Grey, affectionately known as Tega, and Bolas Smith, emerged in the early '90s as an original and distinctive singer, after having done a few recordings as a deejay in the mid 80's under the inexplicable name of Bimbo.
His first official recording as a singer was done with producer Delroy "Callo" Collins. This track was entitled "Problems Everywhere". It was shortly after this that he met his lovely wife "Lovie", as he affectionately called her. Garnet was committed to his career in music; realizing this he and his long time friend Tony Rebel visited Kingston. There it became evident that without moving to Kingston he would not realize his life long dream of being a recording artist. So he and Lovie then moved to Kingston. Early days at Melrose Avenue were not an easy road for this young artist. Studio hopping, being rejected, no money, were just a few obstacles Garnet faced. He recalled having to use empty album jackets as bedding and expressing Lovie's commitment and dedication to his ability to eventually make it in his musical career. Sugar Minott, Penthouse, and Anchor Recording Studio were visited regularly. Roof International recorded a few singles with him, but eventually it was Bobby "Digital" Dixon who recorded the track "It’s Growing", which was to bring Garnet the recognition he needed.
Click HERE to read more about Garnet Silk's musical career.
When Garnet Silk started to appear on dozens of 7" singles released in 1993-94, Jamaican dancehall music was witnessing gun talk and slackness. However, it was Garnet, together with Kulcha Knox, Everton Blender, Tony Rebel and Yasus Afari, who was the voice of roots and culture. The release of his debut album "It's Growing" marked a turning point to cultural and romantic lyrics in dancehall. In the aftermath of his death, the cultural current that he played a major role in re-establishing has, if anything, grown stronger. The legacy of the late Garnet Silk can be heard most clearly in the vocal stylings of such contemporary roots acts as Morgan Heritage, Ras Shiloh and Rolex.
We have collected some comments about Garnet and his music :
Comment 1: Garnet Silk is the kind of reggae singer that most Americans can't stomach, most likely because his singing voice does not sound "Jamaican" enough for them. Let them sleep. He is one of reggae music's greatest all-time singers, undoubtedly destined for international fame before his accidental death in 1994. Yes his voice is "silky" smooth and may take some getting used to, but listen to the emotion and lyrics of tracks like this and you will feel no pain. -Unknown
Comment 2: Garnet Silk, man. Simply put, Garnet Silk was one of the best singers ever. Dead too soon, any song he touched is a classic. He transcended reggae. He transcended music really… I am not a spiritual person at all, but Garnet's voice always seemed to come from some other place; some place of perfect grace, perfect harmony. I dunno, whatever it is, when I hear Garnet the hair on my arms stand up and "Hello Mama Africa" is one of his best. It's just a brilliant roots tune – happy, positive and uplifting. This is a must-have reggae record – it will never grow old and will always sound amazing. –Scratch Famous
Comment 3: The king of the dancehall lovers genre, Garnet Silk is one of those rare artists that crosses all the reggae lines- you drop something like "Oh Me Oh My" in the dance and the ruffest hardknocks will still be giving you forwards (as well as everybody else). The reason is pretty simple; Garnet had such a vocal talent that his tunes are able to cut past all the bullshit and hit you straight in the gut. –Unknown
Comment 4: I like Reggae music. I like Shaggy, Beenie Man, Patra, and others whose names I forget at the moment or just cannot pronounce. I have CDs with the best reggae hits and I have listened to some downloads of great reggae songs from my friends' personal Napster collection. Just never let me near a Garnet Silk CD or anyone people compare him to. His CD "The Definitive Collection" was not my cup of tea, and while I would normally say it sucked, I will not, because there are many people who follow his religious beliefs and thereby enjoy this type of reggae music. I heard a lot about this guy and I was really looking forward to this two CD set. He was compared to Bob Marley, but Marley never sounded like this. I like many of Marley's songs, and I liked none of Silk's songs. He had two CDs to get me to enjoy his music and I did more fast forwarding than listening. Love Is The Answer was his best song, but even that was not that good. I guess I just can't hang with Rasta music. The music here is too slow, has no catchy lyrics, and does not make me want to do anything with any girl at all. In fact, the normal sexiness associated with Reggae is thrown right out the window, and replaced with a burning desire to stay impotent for the rest of my life. This music is too slow, too religious and not upbeat enough to be in my collection of reggae songs. One Love was a great slow reggae song, but the songs on these two CDs do not even come close to that timeless reggae classic. I do not get the comparisons, nor do I get the enthusiasm for this star. Maybe his premature death has led people to believe he is better than he really is, but my opinion has not swayed at all. –Jon Minners
Comment 5: Growing up in Brooklyn, I got interested in reggae at a young age. As much as I loved Bob Marley and appreciated his universal message, he certainly was not the voice of my generation (after all, he was my mom's age!). But as I got older, the singers seemed to get younger (it was mostly me getting older, I know) and when I first heard Garnet's tenor, with that brilliant Horace Andy vibrato, I could relate. His style was thoroughly contemporay, yet grounded in the music that emanated from Jamaica during the '70s.. music I've loved for more than half my life. Garnet was 61 days older than me. He sang of love, peace, faith and freedom. He sang of his rewards to come, in a better place. He saw Zion in a vision and it's like a family reunion. Seated at the right hand of the Father, Garnet has taken his place alongside Hugh Mundell, Prince Far I, Don Drummond, Slim Smith and other musical saints of Jamaica. –Bobby Tanzilo (The Beat Vol. 14 No.1 1995)