Steven Wright is a natural band leader through his uniqueness as a singer, songwriter and lead guitarist. His unique brand of guitarmanship has led him to be compared to pop guitar heros Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton, although his main influences are Hendrix, Santana, B.B. King and Al Anderson. He grew up in the south of Jamaica, where nature was his musical mentor. The first band he played with were "The Creators", an apt name as they themselves made 95% of their instruments. After this initiation, he entered into the club and cabaret circuit in Jamaica. His musical talent and spiritual awareness earned him the nickname 'Marley' amongst the Jamaican Reggae fraternity. In 1985, he embarked on a European tour with Ijahman Levi, after he decided to settle in England. Through numerous collaborations, Steven is now a familiar face on the European Reggae circuit.

Steven and his band The Rite Vibe have played alongside many of the legends of contemporary reggae, such as Freddie McGregor, Culture, Big Youth, Beres Hammond, Steel Pulse and Pablo Moses. Their work has taken them literally to the four corners of the world. They performed in Zimbabwe in 1989 at the invitation of President Mugabe as part of its independence celebrations. In August 1992, they played to an audience of 10,000 people in Bilboa, Spain, as part of its international music festival.

Such experience has proven invaluable in the development and maturity of the band, it has also harnessed a determination to uphold the standards which have made reggae such a force on the international music scene. He released his first solo single "International Change" in the autumn of 1990. It was reviewed by Reggae World magazine thus "This must be Ziggy Marley's younger brother". Whoever Steven "Marley" Wright is, this is essential stuff! Conscious lyrics, firm singing, a solid rhythm and production, even the dub version is crucial. Check it out! Steven's single "Vision of Jah", released in May 1993, is still enjoying considerable popularity on the roots reggae scene in England. The CD titled "Vision" (1994) is also well known in Europe especially. This also includes five soul filling tracks. He has since emerged to complete and release on CD and Vinyl "International Change" album, featuring twelve songs of his own composition. These are as the title suggests "internationally" acclaimed and loved.

Steven Wright and his own backing band The Right Vibe performed at the Reggae Sundance Festival in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, which took place in August 2000. After Steven and the band have treated the audience to a great live experience, the main question is... "Why do we never see any albums in the record shops?"

Can you explain why your records are so rare to find in Belgium and Holland?

"I've been working with some people yu'know, but the business wasn't running smooth, and since then nobody has been communicating with me towards the product. I've done the "International Change" album and after that I started working on a new album. But it takes a year and a half to really seriously work and get it together. But since then nothing has been released... Yu'know, there has been a certain tribulation within reggae music in England. Things that can overcome... I cannot explain it."

A few songs appeared on compilation LP's from the Lion label, distributed by Roots Music. Do you still work with them?

"No... Not that there any bad vibes, I'm just doing other things now, working on our music with the help of the Father."

Reggae music is a full-time job for you?

"Yes, since I was a youth I knew that music was the thing I love, yu'know. This thing is real to me. The music reflects the life the people live. Good music and lyrics can uplift and correct a man's life. I can show people that there is something better. It's the message of reggae."

You grew up in Jamaica. How did you get involved in the music?

"It was a natural thing. My parents went to England and lived there since the fifties, and that's when they had two children, and then there was me. When I was one year old we went back to Jamaica and lived there until I was 23 years old."

Do you think there is a different approach in reggae music in Jamaica and the U.K.?

"No, not really. To me it's a mission, the music is a form of communicating with people."

How is the situation on the reggaefront in the U.K. nowadays, 'cause it is said and written that the good years are over?

"Yes, there are things going on... I don't know... Record companies are not really taking on reggae music. But people are doing private things, yu'know. But to get things of the ground is not easy. And some radio stations are playing reggae music, as Kiss FM, JLR and independent stations... More could be going on."

How would you explain the fact that in the eighties there were some great roots band in England as Aswad, Matumbi, The Regulars, Steel Pulse, and that this has ended?

"I don't know... All that time I was in Jamaica. I was playing guitar and doing vocals, but I wasn't recording my own songs, so I cannot compare."

Do you think there's still an audience and a market for roots reggae in Jamaica?

"There's always a market for good music. Marketing is what you put in front. In Jamaica it is a mental and political thing, yu'know. People can get confused. Some music has a bad influence, guntalk and slackness, the violence in the lyrics... Some people don't realise that they are throwing away things."

Do you agree that the computerisation, the digitalisation of the music is a bad thing for players of instruments, for composers and musicians?

"Yes, It afflicts the music. But on the other hand, they are starting from the studio now and they can say "Well... we have a nice machine here, so we don't need a bassman, a hornsman or a drummer." But still there has always be the man who is operating the machine. The inspiration has to be there. And when everything is finished they will still need a guitarplayer (laughs). The machine just registers the things you put in, and that can also be traditional instruments. It depends on what the engineer and mixing man is making of it, if he respects the feeling that the player of the instrument puts in it. But I don't worry too much about these things."

Do you have any future recording plans?

"Yes, I have just finished a new album entitled "Let's Do Something For The World". It has thirteen tracks on it. Until now I don't know on which label it will be put out."

Thank you for the interview.

"Give thanks and praises yu'know. Give thanks to Rastafari for all things fresh and clean, life is much simpler than all the complication and madness yu'know. So hold on tight and do good. Rastafari... One love."

By now Steven Wright has completed his new album, "Letís Do Something For The World", which is due for release later in the Spring. "The songs on this set are taken from a meditation," says Steven "an observation of the world we live in, a world of so many problems and complications, of twists and turns and illusions. These songs are, to me, a very special gift from the Almighty to you. With the title "Letís Do Something For The World", it is the message of life -preservation in an unhealthy atmosphere. Itís all about the victory of good over evil. Rastafari love reigns forever." The album contains thirteen tracks, all original compositions by Steven and produced by Patrick Donegan, Carl Gentles and Steven Wright along with top-ranking performances by his band The Rite Vibe and guest spots by the late Victor Cross, Sister Aisha and Frederica Tibbs. Refreshingly good to hear is that Steven and his production team have rejected what is fast becoming too common, namely the keyboard horn section and have gone for the real thing with Winchester Samuels on trombone and Urban Breezeís Winston ĎSaxtoní Rose on sax and Niles Hailstones on trumpet, giving it that real original Reggae vibe. Proper things. There is also a bonus track with Steven alone on acoustic guitar and vocals. The Reggae Vibes crew, in association with Earshot! Productions, offers you a mix of all tracks from this forthcoming album... take a listen and enjoy Steven Wright & The Right Vibe's music!



Steven Wright's new album mix includes the following tunes : "Foolish Fighting", "Give To Receive", "Crisis", "Rwanda", "Let's Do Something For The World", "Revolution Can't Stop", "Glowing Light", "Fools Games", "Awake", "Keeper Of My Life", "Lion Cage", "Quarter Mile" and "Crying In The Ghetto".


Article : Teacher & Mr. T. Photo : An Bellen, Belgium 2000.
Sources : Earshot! Productions / Reggae Ambassadors Worldwide
Interview part : Matty Haazen.




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