Weh Dem Up To: Verlando Small keeping busy since 'Rising Stars' win

June 08, 2018
Verlando Small
Verlando Small

'Rising Stars' is one of the most watched reality competition programmes in Jamaica, primarily designed to discover the nation's favourite aspiring singers.

In 2013, the competition took a turn for the unusual, with the nation choosing a saxophonist to take the top prize.

It's been five years since Verlando Small altered the Rising Stars competition pool, wowing fans across Jamaica with a melodious, sultry saxophone, and he is busy as ever.

"Five years since, I've been putting in the work. It's paying off because the more work you put in, the more work that ends up being required," Small said.

He emerged from the competition a young musician who could 'outsing' his rivals without uttering a single word.

Since his win, the saxophonist has not seen a downturn in how much he works.

"It just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Music is seasonal, so when you have the downtime, you're still working," he explained.

For conversation with The WEEKEND STAR, Small took a few minutes out of a rehearsal with The Right Band from Trench Town.

"They're a new sound that's going to take the world by storm! I'm telling you! We're putting the final touches on songs," he said.

This summer, the woodwind master will again take on the international scene while on tour with fellow Rising Stars winner Romain Virgo.

"My first trip out of Jamaica for this year is at the end of this month. I'm going with Romain to Groovin' in the Park, and everything kick-starts from there," Verlando said.

Verlando boasts an impressive performance repertoire, including going on a UK tour and performing in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) with Marcia Griffiths, Bob Andy, Richie Spice, Judy Mowatt and Tanya Stephens.

He has also performed with the likes of gospel acts Jermaine Edwards and Carlene Davis.

Last year, the musician announced plans to release a diverse, solo saxophone-centred album. That plan is still ongoing but on slower wheels.

"I wanted to wait. Where I want to take it, where I want it to go, I don't want to rush to meet a timeline or a deadline and not get the best production that I could," Small said. "It's really just the quality of the product that I want to pick up, and if I rush, it might fall short."

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