x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

We talk to Jah Cure about filming his video in Dubai

Reggae superstar Jah Cure on pushing boundaries and possible collaborations with Arabic artists.

Jah Cure on location in Dubai to film the music video to his single Looking At Me. Courtesy Studio One Productions
Jah Cure on location in Dubai to film the music video to his single Looking At Me. Courtesy Studio One Productions

During a rare interview, the reggae superstar Jah Cure did not miss a beat as he opened up about possible collaborations with Arab artists and pushing boundaries through his love of music.

He also spoke truthfully about the real reason why the release of his album World Cry is delayed.

The Jamaica-born singer, songwriter and producer was in Dubai filming the video for his forthcoming song Looking At Me.

Since collaborating with one of the most successful reggae musicians, Sizzla, in 1997 with the hit song King in This Jungle, Jah Cure has teamed with artists such as the R&B sensation Kerri Hilson, the rapper Tupac, Flo Rida and the Jamaican singer Mavado.

Filming wrapped last Tuesday, after which the singer flew home to perform at shows across the Caribbean and South America.

"The song, which I co-wrote is called Looking At Me because people look at you for different reasons - because you're a star, or you dress nice. It might be the way you talk, what you drive or the way you are living," he said, with an unmistakable Jamaican accent. "So, I see you looking at me. It's a simple concept like everyday things."

When satisfied with the shots he had taken of the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, Jah Cure talked about falling in love with the city he called home for the past three weeks. He also stressed his keenness for supporting local talent.

Last year, he was nominated for a Soul Train award for best reggae artist - alongside Bob Marley's son Damien Marley.

"Every superstar knows about Dubai. The city is a highlighted place. I came to chill and have a good time. I also thought it would be good to lift some up-and-coming filmmakers and videographers," he said.

Shady Kasem, the Dubai-based director of the music video, said once it is released within the next two months across major music channels, more artists will be encouraged to film here because "Dubai offers great locations, it's already a set".

"It was an unforgettable experience because Jah Cure's music has the power to touch your heart," said Kasem. The media director of Studio One Productions joined forces with Fame TV for the Looking At Me shoot.

"We were recommended by UD DJs who said Jah Cure is looking to create something different, so we exchanged visions," said Kasem. "We want to leave the location details a surprise to fans."

Jah Cure is also looking at possible property investment and business ventures to show his passion for reaching out to a wider audience.

"I'm also looking to cross over to other regions such as India and Pakistan. Here, in Dubai, I want to cross over with some Arab artists and try to explore other cultures of music to share each other's fan base," he said.

Discussions with various music producers are already underway.

"Music has no boundaries. I want to explore every kind of music so I can get across into every culture and make myself be known and help other artists cross barriers because there's a lot more room for fame," he said. The only way to move forward, he says, is to separate from his current music label after completing his contract. "The album was finished last year in December and it was all over the internet but never released, so I'm going to start my own thing," he said. "We became like family, but they [the music label] bring their emotions into business and that, I guess, is why my album is not out yet."

His priority is setting the record straight with fans.

"I want to let my fans know that this is not my fault. The album is finished and the one to be blamed is not Jah Cure. Now I am the CEO of my own thing, so this is the first time in my life I'll take my career under full control."

Once that happens, he says a lot of songs are ready for release.

"I can drop an album any second," he said.

One reason, the artist explains, is that he has a stockpile of music - much of it from time spent in prison. In 1998, Jah Cure was arrested by police in Montego Bay on gun possession, robbery and rape charges. Found guilty, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison and released in 2007. He has always maintained his innocence.

While in prison, he released a number of albums that included number one hits such as Longing For and Jamaica.

"Music - this is my life, and people. This is what I do. I know nothing else," he said. "Thanks to the government of Jamaica, they see I am nothing but music. Without it I wouldn't be here. Music is my passion, you know?"

Another passion in his life is his wife, whom he married last August.

"It's a lovely life, it's the most beautiful thing to have someone that you love, settle down and have a life with. Family is the most important thing in a man's life," he said.

Jah Cure even wrote the song Only You to celebrate their union. "When you are a true musician and a writer, everything is easy to write because it is an art that comes out of the depth of your soul. I love what I do, so I do it with passion," he said.

For what he has achieved, he remains thankful.

"I'm just giving thanks to every opportunity and to the people who are giving me support - I am grateful, and here I am," he said.