I’m pretty sure I saw a glimpse of sun the other day, although I may well have been mistaken. It reminded me (well, sort of reminded me) that I once went (well, twice actually) to the Cayman Islands, and it was there that I really fell in love with Jamaican music. Basking in the hot sun, drinking red stripe, with this fantastic sunny music blasting out over the beach all day from the beachside bars.
Anyway, I digress. While reliving those halcyon days I like to listen to David Rodigan, the omnipresent god of all things Jamaican in Britain, and he started dropping a couple of tracks by a female dancehall singer. But it wasn’t just any old track, it was this angel voiced sound of summer, and that angel was Makeida Beckford, known as Keida. Turns out her debut single ‘Jamaican Boy’ came out on the Stalag Riddim label back in 2009. A string of singles followed, and in 2012 she released a mixtape “Wickedest Ting” which gave a overall feel of some 26 songs she has done over her time as an artist.
We got a chance to speak to Keida about all things Jamican, dancehall and releases.
Hi Keida, tell us a little about yourself?
Im a Jamaican Reggae/Dancehall recording artiste. I love art, nature and writing music.
You came from an artistic family, right?
Yes my parents are fine artists.
And was there always music around as you were growing up?
Yes I’ve always been exposed to a diverse selection of music growing up.
And what was your soundtrack when you were small?
I had so many, lol, but one that stands out is “Love is Stronger than Pride” by Sade Adu.
Was there a specific track or tracks that made you want to become a singer/artist?
No not really but if i hadn’t recorded my first song “Jamaican Boy” i would never imagine becoming a singer.
It’s a very male dominated profession over in Jamaica it seems to us (but hey, what do we know!) Did you have to fight to get where you are?
Yes the industry is male dominated here but i wouldn’t say i had to fight to get to where i am. I’ve been rather fortunate to kick of my career with a well received song, i also see it as a blessing that i was able to uphold a standard with my releases thereafter.
You released your first single while you were still at school, right? How did that come about? And what was it like hearing yourself on the radio for the first time?
I recorded my first single with Keepleft Records while I was in my final year at the Edna Manley School of Visual and Performing Arts, it was a case of being in the right place at the right time.
It was a bit strange hearing myself on radio for the first time and it’s still a bit strange now but over all it made me realize how great it feels to be able to affect a wide range of people positively with the vibes I bring.
And since then, more singles?
Definitely more singles and more works. Since the release of my mix tape “Wickedest Ting” in September of 2012 I’ve been working on various singles and tracks for my album.
And might there be an album on the horizon? What are your plans in that direction?
For sure the album is my next big step and a work in progress.
Tell us about some of the people you’ve collaborated with on songs and records?
I’ve recorded collaborations with Biggz General, Protoje and Erup amongst others. I enjoy working with other artists.
What’s the state of music over in Jamaica at the moment? Are you surprised by the way it’s (Jamaican music) loved all over the world, and get played everywhere (first time we heard you was on a david rodigan uk radio show) What other artists do you admire?
Well rite now the music industry has suffered a lot over the years but since recently the youths have taken a strong interest in rebuilding this, (live Reggae music in particular), it is definitely a move in the right direction and something to be proud of.
I’m not surprised that our music is loved worldwide, we have had many many greats go before us, they have set strong foundations that still stand today. It is because of these elders that we have a platform for our voices to be heard worldwide. In my eyes Jamaica is the music capital of the world, every other youte on the corner has a musical talent, we are blessed. There are so many artiste out there that i admire both locally and abroad and I’m always listening out for the not so popular but truly talented ones (the underground artistes). Some of the upcoming and mainstream artiste that rate are Tifa, Protoje, Biggz General, Kez Namdi, Kelissa, Cocaine 80’s, Chronixx, Ed Sheeran and so many more. I just love good music lol.
And plans for the rest of the year?
At the moment I’m in Orlando shooting a video for a new collaboration with New York based artiste Nashard. When i return home i will be shooting a video for my song Ganja Tea Produced by Rory Stonelove. I’m also working on an EP with Rory, so its back to work when I get home.
We must just ask finally, whats the weather like over there (you know us British people are obsessed by the weather, right?) its blowing a gale here, cold and rainy…..
Well I’m not in Jamaica at the moment but i hear it’s also raining on and off.
The best record I’ve heard this year is…….
Thats a very hard one so I’ve gone to my iTunes to see whats my most played song, it turns out to be Twenty Eight by The Weeknd.