Vernie Riley

Vernie Riley

Vernie Riley

Monday, 09 March 2015 13:52

Profile: EVER-G

EVER-G is a root’s rock reggae artist who recalls that the first song he ever heard is “One Love” - the Ska version and as he recalls, “it made me want to dance”. He is a vocalist, plays the rhythm guitar and has recorded five albums.  Of those, “World Peace” “Independence” “Mission” “Christmas Mood” and “Jah Love” he wrote all the lyrics but for the covers on Christmas Mood.

 
Recently, EVER-G spoke with me from his home in Virginia and what an delightful conversation it was.  Born in Jamaica, he has four sisters and two brothers.  He credits his mother for his longevity in the industry.  It’s not easy committing to the life of a reggae artist, she cautioned him. “Believe in yourself, stay true to it, and give it 100%” were her words to him, which he treasures.


Writing and performing his own works is very important to EVER-G, and I understood how important after he shared a story.  After performing three one hour sets of covers at a New Year’s Eve concert in 1993, he was left physically drained and upon reflection, realized that while compelling, none of the works represented his original sentiment. He promptly instructed his manager not to book any more such engagements and began writing and infusing his own works into his performances. “We understand that there is unequivocally nothing wrong with performing another artist’s music, (it is one of the greatest compliments)” he said indicating that it is however important to give of yourself in every performance. His own, “Son of the Most High” from his “Jah Love” album is his favorite work.


EVER-G has many favorites; Dennis Brown, Jacob Miller, Burning Spear, The Congo’s, Mutabaruka, Beres Hammond and Sister Carol; that’s the shortlist.  Less seasoned artists on his list includes Etana, and Chronixx.  His all-time favorite albums are Dennis Brown’s “Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors’ and Peter Tosh’s ‘Wanted Dread and Alive”.


It is widely believed that the more one reads, the better one is able to write. EVER-G is an avid reader of autobiographies and his library includes, Malcolm X, Dr. John Henrik Clark, and Walter E. Williams.  He notes that his method of writing a song is simply to catch a vibe and with scratch paper and pen, write down the idea and it grows from there. 


EVER-G is an ardent fan of Animal Planet; one of his favorite things is big cats and their cubs. He is fascinated with the way cats love their cubs unconditionally and says this was the inspiration for his third album “Mission”.


EVER-G is a self-taught musician and vocalist and loves the guitar. He admires Ernest Ranglin, Al Anderson, The Melodian’s, Rass Brass; Ronald “Nambo” Robinson, Dean Frasier and Chico Chin and loves to listen to old school soul music. A few of his favorites from that arena are Curtis Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and the older style O’Jays.


I asked EVER-G his opinion about dance hall as part of the reggae genre.  He opined that he did not believe dance hall belonged in the reggae category, adding that “it is my hope that a consciousness will arise and people will become tired of the lewdness and negativity in music”. Asked about free speech, he says “yes, each of us have a right to free speech, but what is most important is our conviction and principles.”


EVER-G performs with a four-piece band in venues around Virginia and Canada. For dates and venues for his upcoming performances, visit his website: www.evegmuzik.com.

Thursday, 05 February 2015 00:00

Milton Samms- Reaching for the Stars

It is October 29, 2014; the venue is the Apollo Theatre. The phenomenal Milton Samms performs before the usual packed Harlem crowd and walks away a winner. You and I know that in order to win Amateur Night at the Apollo, one has to “bring it” to the 125th Street iconic theatre; not an easy feat, just ask the countless others that have attempted.

Milton Samms was born on the Caribbean island of Jamaica on May 22nd 1984. While many of us grew up “in Church” Milton included, it was while attending Duhaney Park Primary School the singer discovered his vocal ability, singing in an operatic classical style. Born to musical parents (his father a roots reggae singer), for Milton the transition to the reggae genre was an easy one.

Milton’s voice is pure, with a vibrato that honestly, mesmerizes. I interviewed Milton at the Logwood Productions studios located in Bronx, NY and asked him to sing to me the song that won him the coveted title “Winner of Amateur Night et al”. He simply started to sing; there was no “ah hem”, no warm up, no clearing of the voice, he just sang. After hearing his rendition of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”, I was a fan; it really was a jaw dropping experience.

Milton is a chef by day and made it clear that he is an international chef. While he loves to cook food from his place of birth, Jamaica, he is a versatile chef and can cook pretty much any dish one requests.  

Milton has performed with several greats such as Shabba Ranks and Chris Martin. He had the opportunity to perform alongside Richie Stevens at the 2014 Linkage Awards “Sweet Jamaica” at Mingles in Bronx, NY and on hearing his set, Stevens asked him to join him on stage for a duet.

Music means a lot to this artist and he gives his all to his artistry. His personal listening list includes the late great Peter Tosh. When asked why this particular artist, Milton exclaims, “It’s the vocal tone, quality and the message in his music why he is on my music list, Tosh was a unique singer”.

Milton’s current track entitled “This Christmas” features Kameron and Grabba on the Calico Mix Machine label. On March 29th, 2015 he will grace the stage in a Thomas Empowered Radio Show production alongside personalities like Ragashanti, Dean Fraser and Hesron, at York College Performing Arts Center in Queens.

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