Trod to Rastafari
Reggae music has been adopted by nearly every country across the globe. The true roots music of Jamaica has continued to grow as a cultural lifestyle strongly linked to Rastafari as the preferred medium of consciousness. The history of international reggae is told through the story of many non-Jamaican artists. Irie Souljah has his own story to tell.
Irie Souljah, a rising Spanish reggae artist was born in 1991, as Josep Jordi Grau Saula, in Barcelona, Spain. At age two, his mother remembers him singing even before speaking. Irie Souljah received his first guitar at age four, leading to a well defined musical beginning. While growing up, he remembers listening to black music, performed in English, resulting in his introduction to Bob Marley and the Wailers. At 16, Irie Souljah began attending parties where friends played a mix of reggae and dance music, furthering his love for roots reggae music.
In 2008, Irie Souljah started the band, Reggae Soldiers performing covers by Burning Spear and Culture. A few years later, after changing the name to Mystic Soldiers, the band released an EP entitled ‘Showcase.’ Irie Souljah, still searching for reggae excellence, experienced a feeling of emptiness and frustration. Deeply inspired by Culture’s song “So Long Rastafari” Irie Souljah headed to Jamaica where he formed a serious business relationship with the film and music production company Nice Time Productions headed by Spanish Jamaican resident Nando Garcia Guereta. Living in Kingston, he met legendary artists, Sly & Robbie, Flabba Holt, Ken Boothe, Nambo Robinson and Chinna Smith. It is there that he developed a strong connection with young Reggae Revivalists, Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Jesse Royal, Pentateuch Movement and Jah9.
While in Jamaica, Irie Souljah’s first album “Immigrant” was recorded at Tuff Gong, Harry J, Grafton and Anchor studios. Tracks on this debut album were composed and produced by Irie Souljah in collaboration with Barcelona based producer, Genis “Genious” Trans, with Nice Time Productions as executive producers. Nice Time Productions also provides much needed management services and produced and directed a series of music videos including “Learn and Grow,” “Immigrant,” “Jah Jah Children Rise Up,” (featuring Jesse Royal), “Inna Di Mood” featuring Kabaka Pyramid and soon to be released “Dreader Than Dread”.
Irie Souljah performed “Promised Land” in a tribute concert dedicated to the life of Dennis Brown in Kingston, opened the morning program ‘Smile Jamaica’ on TVJ, and accompanied Jamaican legend Cocoa Tea on a European tour. He has also appeared on major European summer reggae festivals such as Reggae Jam. Irie Souljah is making a strong name for himself in both the European and Jamaican markets. His first single, “Learn and Grow,” from the album “Immigrant” recalls his young life and has received over 750,000 views on YouTube. “Learn and Grow” has received very strong support for Irie Souljah as a new uprising artist.
The recently released “Dreader Than Dread” single from his upcoming second album is grabbing the attention of reggae fans near and far. A video of the same name is scheduled for release by the end of 2017.