Richie Stephens is a different kind of reggae star. Beginning as a Dennis Brown clone, he has since developed his own style. There are no rough edges to this smooth-as-silk singer/composer, whose rich voice is backed by a powerful stage presence.
Photo: Unknown. Text courtesy of Greensleeves Records.
Having decided by the age of ten that music and singing was going to be his life, Richie never missed an opportunity to display his talent at all school and community events. Anxious for more opportunities, he moved to live with his father in the old capital of Spanish Town, Jamaica. Here, Richie worked for several local bands gaining professional experience. He was fortunate to have band leader Neville Morris take an interest in him, making the developmental transition from amateur to professional singer a smooth one.
In 1986 he took a major step forward seeking steady employment as a musician on the hotel circuit of Jamaica's North Coast. He immediately started working with Rockers International, the resident band at the Coconut Grove Great House. Owned by Carl Young, founder of Irie FM, this is the leading reggae music radio station in Jamaica. Honing his stage skills and learning to relate to his audience in a small and intimate setting, he quickly developed the necessary confidence for a truly polished act. After a year and a half with Rockers International, Richie Stephens freelanced on the coast before settling with the prestigious hotel, Sandals, in Montego Bay with resident band, Elements. He spent three years as the lead vocalist and during this time exciting career opportunities opened for him.
Having been chosen to travel with the Jamaica Tourist Board's promotional team, he became, in effect, the singing ambassador for Jamaican tourism in South America, Europe and the USA. In 1989 he decided to make another career move which resulted in the recording of "So Amazing", a cover version of Luther Vandross' hit song. Having made a respectable impact on the local charts, more recording followed and his other skill, composing, came into its own. Other chart-topping recordings include "Buff Baff", "By Your Side", Trying To Get To You", "Legacy" recorded with Mad Cobra on the Columbia label, "Everytime You Are There" on Motown, "Forever" and "Joy" recorded with Soul II Soul, a huge hit in Europe. This recording put him into the international spotlight and landed him an invitation to perform on the "Miss Universe 1992" show in Holland where he appeared with Vanessa Williams, singer and former Miss USA. An appearance on the Arsenio Hall Show and tours in the USA and Europe followed. His first appearance on Reggae Sunsplash was in 1991. Playing to his largest audience to date, Richie's performance earned him a brand new set of fans and his connection to the roots massive was sealed.
As a singer and writer, he confesses to being partial to lovers rock - he feels a special affinity to the ladies - a feeling reciprocated a hundred fold. With his soft and seductive touch he mesmerises them on stage as he concentrates his charm in their direction. Richie Stephens has been busy producing, writing, singing and keyboard playing until in 1997, he decided to expand his repertoire of experience and skills by starting his own label, 'Pot Of Gold Productions'. He has produced top 5 hits such as "Slop Dem", "Pleasure Tour" by Degree, Red Rat's "Italee", and alongside Chrissy D, "Physical Attraction". "Maniac" was a massive successful single in the U.S. which he performs with Bounty Killer. This single is featured on Bounty Killer's hugely successful album "My Xperience". More recently he teamed up with Jamaican stars like Beres Hammond, Morgan Heritage, Bounty Killer, George Nooks and Junior Kelly to record the appealing reality tune, "Peace Cry".