Anthony Que is one of a new generation of Jamaican singers continuing in the tradition of such acclaimed international reggae acts as Beres Hammond and Freddie McGregor. Like them, his songs are distinguished by peerless vocal expression and quality of production and material, leading some listeners to believe he's actually older than his twenty-six years. It's the maturity in his voice and songs that feeds this impression, but that's just a combination of good grooming and precocious ability. In every other respect Anthony Que is a new star on the rise, and one now heavily tipped to play a crucial role in reggae's future development.
Photo & Text courtesy of Crispin Green.
Born in Kingston to a family of eleven children, he spent most of his childhood in Golden Springs, located several miles north of the city in the parish of St. Andrew's. He's been singing since he was nine years old, and first honed his rapport with live audiences by bringing the house down at school concerts. By fourteen his friends were calling him Singing Q - itself an abbreviation of Singing Quality, and a sure indication of his promise. With Beres Hammond, Luciano, Ducky Simpson of Black Uhuru and George Nooks all living nearby, Anthony never lacked for musical inspiration, although there's a gospel purity to his voice that could only come from the church.
This said, his first steps into the music profession were with a gospel group called the Missionary Band, whom he'd joined after high school. Combining his musical ambitions with a local factory job, he then began touring the Kingston studios, recording his debut single, "Early Morning", in 1997 for Sugar Minott's Youth Promotion label. That same year he
visited Germany, France, Poland and England. On his return to JA he joined his old friend Beres Hammond's Harmony House stable, recording his second single, "Spreading Jah Love", and other as yet unreleased gems, including "Same Road", duetted with Jah Cure. Harmony House had reintroduced the sound of live instruments to reggae, and many say this studio is now the best in Jamaica. Que credits Beres with helping to develop his vocal technique, but with the reggae superstar's role as producer limited by busy touring schedules, Anthony returned to the UK for a while, where he recorded songs for Mike Brooks'Team label ("Lonely Children Cry"), Riverside ("So Many Years Of Pain" and "Revolution") and Tony Neuville of Notorious, who produced Anthony's breakthrough tune in the UK, "No More Crying".
In the meantime he was busy working on his debut album, "A Brighter Day", co-produced by Crispin Green and Lewis M. Anthony wants his songs to provide an alternative to the drug and gangster culture so prevalent in much of today's urban music. "Artists have a lot of influence over the younger generation. It's a responsible position, and you have to live by what you sing, therefore you can't sell them fantasy, like so many artists do," he continues. His plan is to get his career established first, then voice his opinions and make a difference. Such aims take time, although he's made serious progress already, as anyone listening to the
album "A Brighter Day" will tell you.