Duane Stephenson working on new album
Like many of his colleagues in the entertainment industry, 2020 was a trying year for renowned reggae singer Duane Stephenson.
The COVID pandemic grounded tours for the singer, who had spent the past few years globe-trotting, spreading the music and sharing the Jamaican culture.
But, determined to find the silver lining in a less-than-ideal situation, Stephenson used his time in lockdown to put in overtime in writing and recording. In early February, he released his first single for 2021, a collaboration with Romain Virgo that pays homage to Caribbean Girls.
"It is basically a big up Caribbean women who have been holding down their families, especially when everyone is at home and quarantined because of the COVID situation. Women have become so much more these days, have taken on so much more of the stress than they would under normal circumstances, and we just want to let them know we see them, see their sacrifices, and we appreciate them," he told Weh Dem Up To. "I felt that Romain Virgo was the perfect person to help me bring across the message because not only is he a great singer, but he also has a deep appreciation for women and all the selfless work they do. We also felt the song couldn't have come at a more perfect time. With all the abuse being carried out against our women, this song serves as a reminder of how special our ladies are and why they deserved to be loved and cared for."
The track is almost at 100,000 views on YouTube. In addition to that collaboration, the August Town singer says he is currently working on a huge compilation with established producer Donovan Germain from Penthouse Records.
"Most of my albums before this were produced by me, and this is the first time I am not in complete control of things. But sometimes yuh affi let go of the reins of power and some of the decision-making and watch someone else work. Sometimes stepping away from your zone can be really good. It is a necessary part of the process of growth. Ultimately, you will do what you will do as an artiste because that is what comes naturally, but if it's even for the sake of experiment, we have to shake things up and show a different side," he explained.
Stephenson said that the album will be a different vibe of reggae.
"Everybody has their own flavour, and Penthouse has always been a little bit more uptempo and closer to the dancehall side of things. It's a little bit out of what I am used to doing, as I said, but I am really excited about this project and how it will turn out. This entire process has refreshed my drive and my love for music," he said.
An exact release date for the possible 12-track project has not been finalised, but Stephenson said the compilation should be available by September. The project is still untitled.