Jamaica is home to some of the world’s most beautiful people, beaches and most notably, music. Since its conception in the 1960’s, Reggae has been the voice for the voiceless, becoming a vehicle for political and social equality. The game has changed since then. Reggae has transformed from its traditional tropic sound into flavorful musical variations such as Dancehall and Reggaeton. Amongst those who produce such variance is the talented and beautiful Reggae/Pop artist Kris Kelli. Kris unveils her plan to place her footprints among those of female Reggae greats Dawn Penn and Lady Saw on her latest LP.
The lead single from Kris Kelli, “Kotch Around”, is a laid back rhythm that is pure bliss for avid Reggae fans. The smooth percussion coupled with an intermittent harmonica riff compliment Kris’s serene vocals as her mid ranged octave pampers the track. The tuneful baseline will draw listeners to wind their hips as the catchy hook resonates within their minds. This song is reminiscent of a calm, breezy, moonlit summer night at the beach with one’s significant other.
Kris chronicles her struggles with love on the Pop infused Reggae track “Find Another Love”. Kris opens up to her audience about the consequences of taking the ones we love for granted. She describes her dilemma as she sings: “I messed around and messed around and played you/Never knew the heartache and the pain I gave you/After my sweet intro that I gave you/I broke it all up, messed it all up/And now I’m all alone/Sitting right here by my phone/Wanting your touch/The one that makes me blush/I don’t know what I’m going to do now.” She expresses her remorse over a bed of staccato drums, which are accompanied by melodramatic strings. It’s not everyday that people apologize to each other and an apology never sounded so good.
The songstress decides to give guys who are trying to get at her some much-needed advice on “Bring Your A Game”. Kris goes all out over synthesized keys and strings on this Classical influenced Reggae track. Producer Robert Livingston uses dark tones on the instrumental while the songstress’s luminous voice shines as she reveals the correct way to approach and satisfy a woman of her stature. Guys, be sure to bring you’re A game when stepping to the lovely Kris Kelli.
Despite the potency of the aforementioned songs, Kris misses the mark with the saturated use of the Vocoder on the jaded track “Official”. Kris has a commanding voice, but the use of the Vocoder degrades the effectiveness of her music. The production is off the mark as she sings over a track that appears to be more suitable for an emcee. The same holds true for “Step Up”, which has Kelli singing over a track that simply doesn’t do her voice any justice. However, Kelli bounces back with “Hide Away” (the official Sly and Robbie remix) and “Back to Black”
The voice of Reggae continues to change and adds to the diversity of the musical spectrum. This international phenomenon persists to influence artists and audiences across the globe. As the Mecca of Reggae keeps producing cutting edge musical acts like Kris Kelli, the world will continue to be its stage.