The Royal family of Reggae, Morgan Heritage, comprises of five offspring of reggae veteran Denroy Morgan, namely Una (vocalist/keyboardist), Peter (vocalist), Roy "Gramps" (keyboardist/vocalist), Nakhamyah "Lukes" (rhythm guitarist) and Memmalatel "Mr.Mojo" (vocalist/MC/percussionist). They were born in Brooklyn's tough Bushwick neighborhood, but raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. The band signed to MCA Records in 1992. In a dozen years, the band has racked up several hits in Jamaica and abroad, thanks in part to collaborations with such lauded Jamaican producers as Lloyd "King Jammy" James and Bobby Digital. Described as one of music's most influential reggae acts around today, the members of Morgan Heritage have returned with their 10th album, "Mission in Progress". To promote the latter they are on an European Sound System tour, which already took them to Rome, Florence, Berlin, Vienna, and Zürich to name a few places. Meanwhile they also did several interviews including this one which took place at the Walboomers office -- the distributing company for VP Records in Europe -- in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on Thursday 10th April 2008. After waiting for about 2 hours 'cause the plane had a delay, they came in and sat down to do the interview.

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Q: Who came up with the idea for the great backing for "Nothing To Smile About"?

A: We just get it from the producers, you know, for us it is like an everyday thing. It's more on songs like "12 Shotz" that is harder for us 'cause of the new style.

When I tell them that it's #1 on the Official Dutch Reggae & Dancehall Chart, Peter acts surprised and smiles.

Q: You still have the unique style of blending production values with upful messages, why did you choose to use new styles on the new album?

A: You know Morgan Heritage is always using new styles, we just keep on using new and different styles. If we stick to the same style we will also end up in the vintage box.

Q: To continue with the new styles... Don't you think you will lose 'the early fans'?

A: We will probably lose some of the hardcore roots fans, but our styles appeal to a large audience. You know we could play an hour jazz show or 1,5 hour rock show. We play songs for everyone.

Q: Your doing a tour at the moment, will there be a dvd release of the tour?

A: No, we are not shooting a dvd for this promo tour.


Peter Morgan

Roy "Gramps" Morgan

Q: What is the "Mission"?

A: It's for the youngsters, we try to deliver the message to the youth. You know the youth is getting so many different messages at them. So that's our mission.

Q: From your early days in the music business you're busy improving the image of Jamaica and convincing people to go there. Do you think the situation has become better, let's say, the last 10 years?

A: Depending on what kind of situation you mean. The economy is getting worse, but there is a lot of new technology in Jamaica. So there are some better thing but also worse.

Q: I know you have all these different styles, do you play other songs on big non-reggae festivals than on your own concert?

A: Ya man, we auto adjust. We create a special list if we go to a non-reggae festival than for personal concerts. So on the festivals we adjust to the crowd. We are able to do this cause we make music for everyone.

Q: Who thought of working with Laza on the new album?

A: You know Laza is a Morgan Family member. We put him in the spotlight on this album so the world gets to know him a bit better. You will hear more from him in the future.

Q: Is there a chance that Morgan Heritage is extended in the future by an other relative?

A: Morgan Heritage is a five people band, there will never be a change in that.

Peter Morgan

Peter Morgan
Q: Will there be a tour in the Netherlands again soon?

A: In June we will start the "Mission In Progress" world tour, which will start in America and we will tour Europe after that. Of course we will also visit the Netherlands.

Q: What do you think about all the free music on the internet?

A: It's very bad for the music industry, you know, 'cause it's so easy to go online and download a song or album. That's why a lot of people don’t go to the store anymore, but just download. Or if I get an album from you then I will give it to him and he will give it to her. But it's not only negative, because there are also bands like The Grateful Dead... they almost have no sales but their shows are always very crowded. So it's good for getting known. There would also be a lot less Morgan fans if it wasn't for the internet.

Q: How would you describe the difference between the earlier music by Morgan Heritage and the new?

A: There are of lot of new styles in our music today. Which will hit a wider range of music lovers.

Q: I saw you were in Italy a few days ago and tomorrow you have another concert in Portugal. How come you came here?

A: We came here for you (laughs). No for a few promo interviews on radio stations and for interviews with people.


When I listened to the album I got some mixed feelings. There are, as we expect from Morgan Heritage, some killer tunes on the album. Also daring songs like "12 Shotz" show the wide range of styles that Morgan Heritage is able to use. This album has something for everyone, which like they say attracts a large range of people. But personally I think this is also the downside of the album. All these different styles mixed together on one album makes it harder for the fans to like/appreciate the whole album. My personal favorites are the fantastic "Nothin To Smile About" and the killer tune "Headline" with a great message in the lyrics.


Morgan Heritage

Interview by Rastafaria
(Please do not reproduce without permission)